We’ve dodged a bullet on the sex talk so far, and I had been lulled into a false sense of security.
But Kate at And Then Kate has shaken me violently from my fantasy world into a world full of reality and questions and a ticking time bomb in the form of Judy Blume chapter books.
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.
As a kid, my parents handed us a book about All That, and my older siblings used it to terrify the babysitters (“Would you read _this_ to us? Over and over?”). Almost as bad as having your cervix flapping around at Target.
Heather, I don’t know why wordpress stuck you in spam, but maybe because they knew I’d be laughing so hard I shot kombucha out my nose at that one.
Poor babysitters! (Also, totally going to coach Peanut to do this…)
Oh my frickin yes! All of this flashed before my eyes when I realized the seed in my belly was actually making a baby, you know, around week 20.
Seriously, having to give the birds and the bees talk is birth control all by itself.
Also, I’m gonna just interpret ” When you’re alone, you may do what you want with your body as long as it doesn’t hurt.” To mean I can stop doing push ups at rep number 5. Thank you for that!
Have I mentioned I love how your brain works? Yeah, I do.
Oh, goody. You get the books and let me know how they are, as I remain terrified.
HELP US. SOMEONE.
When I was in fifth grade, I heard some boys talking about sticking the penis into the vagina, and I couldn’t imagine what the heck they were talking about. I went home and asked me father. He sat me down, had a quiet, reasoned discussion about the mechanics of it, drew me illustrations of how all the parts fit together and worked, etc. Later, I told my mother what my father had explained to me, but I said the one thing I couldn’t understand is, aside from making babies, why anyone would do it in the first place. She said, “You know how it feels good when you play with yourself? It’s like that, only better.” :-)
Yeah. That. OH CRAP. The extent of my mother-in-law’s “talk” with her two sons was telling them if they got a girl pregnant on accident, she would kill them. That seems . . . not entirely helpful to me. But I don’t have any better ideas at the moment.
Have a drink. And be glad you can. I frequently wish I could.
Mad woman, thanks for appreciating my sense of humor. It puts you in exclusive company with me and two other people.
It also gets you a pass on never doing pushups again.
Kate, he actually asked again today how babies get out. He was disappointed they don’t come out of belly buttons. Wtf am I going to do? How about you tell mine and I tell yours?
Matt, congratulations on having awesome parents. Seriously, it sounds as though they did the whole talk exactly right. Except the fifth grade part. ;-)
Kristin, drinking is small consolation unless I’m drunk until they graduate college. If it’s not penises and vaginas, it’s cars and voting and drugs and more penises. Sigh.
Oh,OH,OH,!!!!!! Priceless!! One thing to watch out for…they did sex-ed for my kids at school, when they were pretty young…we had had “some” talks, but they were too young for the whole meal deal…or so I thought…when my son got home from one of these “field trips”
I asked him what he learned…he said he learned that girls had a “Virginia”.
It’s all fine until someone in their class at school dares someone else to have sex with them (as happened before March break with my kid) and they don’t know what that means and they don’t come ask you because you haven’t opened the dialogue with them… just sayin’.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention that was my 6-y-o’s class.
What Kate said!!!
“Wow, Jimmy came from Los Angeles.” That just made me laugh so hard my catheter almost broke.”
zannyro, I think we’re safe because he already knows about Virginia. His aunt has one *and* lived there. See? Not confusing at all. ;-)
chickadee: nonononono! No! Dared them? And there was no, “Hey, so and so said this; what does it mean?” [hyperventilating] How did you handle that?
Exquisite: have you talked with your boys yet? Can they come talk to mine?
Kitch: I’m so sorry I made you pop a stitch. I heard that at the preschool’s annual “bring a sex ed counselor in to calm the parents in advance of the inevitable springtime doctor playing incident.” During that talk we found out that several parents didn’t know what a clitoris is. #facepalm At least I’m not having those parents talk to my children about sex.
“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.”
dude. how are you not a billionaire?
JulieG, is my unlocked cervix really worth a billion dollars? Dude! I thought I had to publish my novel or get our band rocking the free world to get that kind of money. Just giving my kids the key to the uterine door so they can embarrass me in public is enough?! Sweet!
At the risk of a commentastrophe on my own blog:
I don’t worry about teaching my boys, as they get older, about safe sex or about how to treat their partners or about why self love is better than just about anything else out there. It’s the initial mechanics of how males and females procreate and their realization that two people in their house did/do that which freaks me out.
I’m squeamish about pulling back the curtains that have sheltered my children’s first years.
I love you to infinity for saying commentastrophe.
And I love you to infinity for planting it in my psyche years ago.
At least you don’t have rules. We have to have rules. Do not touch your privates (because they started doing things with their butts too!) in public outside your bedroom. Do not touch any one else’s privates. You are not allowed to be naked outside the house or backyard. And then there’s all kinds of other smaller rules. Evan asked all sorts of questions with my last pregnancy, but he never asked about how it happened. They don’t ask until they’re ready. But usually not when we’re ready. And most boys are blissfully slow and ignorant and will wait longer than girls. So fingers crossed. And you’ll do awesome!
Thank you for cracking me up. Because, like you, I have boys. I can relate. I’m checking out the books you mentioned. And I’m terrified. They’ve asked a few questions. And the school recently had us sign a permission slip for a “Good Touch, Bad Touch” program – which at first, I balked at. They’re only 8 and almost 9. And then I realized. They’re 8 and almost 9. I haven’t even broached that subject yet. Pass me a Jelly Bean Daiquiri, too, please. Slurp.
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I have one truly inquisitive boy who knows a little about the baby business. And, he’s not a kid you can get one word answers past. We have the discussion with both boys often about what is allowed for a penis and what is not. Still, I imagine father’s with shotguns on my front door. I am freaking out with you. Jelly Bean Daiquiris for the house!
Mine hear all the time that we don’t put penises on books or in the bed of toy dump trucks. Is there more to it than that? ;-)