We’ve dodged a bullet on the sex talk so far, and I had been lulled into a false sense of security.
Seriously, I don’t know how we’ve avoided The Talk. Except that I do, because our six-year-old hasn’t asked yet.
He was 3.5 when I told him we had to go to the doctor because either I had a germ making me very very sick or the chemicals from a growing baby were making me very very sick. He eventually asked how the baby would get out and I explained uterus, cervix, vagina. He asked if the baby had a key to open the cervix. I explained contractions. He was satisfied with the answer, though disappointed that the baby didn’t get a key and that, by extension, he didn’t either. Please. Like I’d give that kid the key to my cervix. He’s way too facile with a fire extinguisher and there’s no way I want my cervix opening when I’m least expecting it. Like at Target, when I’m lording my fabulous parenting skills over the people screaming in the dollar aisle. Terrible place to have your cervix flapping open.
He never asked, over the seven subsequent months, how the baby got there or why. We were prepared with a “when two grownups love each other…” but never got to use it.
He did ask that year why his cousin looked different from her family, and I told him about how some families really want children and how other people really want to give a special gift to those kinds of families. We talked about how families come in all sorts of varieties and how great that is. We talked about how some bodies can’t have babies and how some people don’t want to. But he didn’t ask why or how some people get to choose. I was ready. But never used that conversation, either.
At two different points, he asked why he’s a boy not a girl and I said the seed that grew to be him was a boy seed, and how it was full of all the information called DNA to tell his body what to be like, but that who he is—the thoughts and dreams and choices—is not in the seed and that though he can’t choose a lot about his body, he gets to decide who he is. Mostly because I really didn’t need “well, the seed that I grew from just doesn’t eat vegetables/say please/put away toys.”
I didn’t bother with the detail that it takes two half- seeds to make a seed, nor how those half- seeds find each other. Because I’m smart enough to answer the question asked, not insert my own interpretations.
[You know this one? Boy runs into the kitchen and asks, "Dad, where did I come from?" Dad replies with love and sperm and egg and intercourse and gestation and birth. Boy, mouth agape and increasingly horrified, manages to say, "Wow. Jimmy says he came from Los Angeles."]
So every day Peanut doesn’t ask, I’m happy. I could handle it, I guess, but I don’t want to.
But soon, the questions will pounce on me and I will die, right there, on the spot.
Except I won’t. Because Kate says this book, available through your local, independent bookseller, will fix everything. My indie bookseller says that the window for that book is almost closed and I might soon need this one. And this one for boys about puberty. [slight panic sets in.]
And Near Normalcy told me how to handle everything.
Except one part. I have boys. Part of my discussion about the fact that some day you’ll think your penis is more than something to grab *constantly* whether you’re awake or asleep, is that you may not do whatever you want with your penis. When you’re alone, you may do what you want with your body as long as it doesn’t hurt. But when you’re with other people, you cannot do anything you want. For one, a penis is a private thing and not for sharing. And even when you’re a grownup and you love someone and decide to share your penis, it is only okay if the other grownup you love says “yes.”
You have to listen to people’s words about their own bodies and they have to listen to your words about your body. Your body is just for you. Sex is not for kids, sex is private, sex is only when you’re a grownup and another grownup you love says yes to you. Until then, remember that your penis is private and only for you. Private, only for you, no means no.
[Holy guacamole. Panic now full blown and I am in serious need of self medication. Easter chocolate already gone. This is too big a job for jelly beans. I need something stronger. Is there such thing as Jack Daniels over jelly beans? An Amaretto Jelly Bean Daiquiri? I think that's a thing. I think I have a recipe here somewhere and I'm going to...oh, screw it. I'll just wing it.]
Oh, boy. I am so glad he hasn’t asked yet.
And I’m so glad I just jinxed myself right here on the Interwebs. Good job, Me. Way to freaking go.