‘Birds and Bees? Ho Ho Ho.’
Did someone spike the eggnog? Last week it was Incest. (See ‘The Incest Mug’ for details, but not just yet.) This week it’s Sex Ed. Fingers crossed everyone’s out of the house bolstering the economy, especially The Child. Because this post is about how You-Know-Who learned about You-Know-What.
The story begins innocently enough, with me walking said Child home from school. Third Grade, I believe. Which would make her about eight at the time.
So this adorable innocent girl holding my hand looks up at me through impossibly-long eyelashes and says:
‘I know how babies come out of Mommies’ tummies.’ (Her teacher had recently given birth and used the occasion as a Teaching Tool.)
‘But I want to know how they get in there. (Here she looks up at me again, this time with a flinty little glint in her eye) ‘and don’t tell me it’s kissing!’
Well. Even if you are not a Fellow Parent, you can imagine how a request like this could make one experience a bit of (forgive me) performance anxiety. So what did I reply, oh Sage Mother that I am?
‘Look at that cute doggie over there! Do you think he’s waiting for his master?’
Saved! By the relatively-short attention span of an eight-year-old (and her love of furry beasts).
Later, after Suppertime and Bathtime and Storytime and Bedtime (whew, I forgot how much work it is to have a Young Child around), I finally get some time alone with The Dude. I tell him what happened, and ask his advice. (Me: ‘What do I do? She wants to know about how babies get in there!’ He: ‘So tell her.’) Oh, very helpful. Thank you very much. I’m the type who gets all blushy and squirmy discussing S-E-X with my OB Gyn. How am I going to explain it to an eight-year-old?
Well, I decide there’s only one thing to do. Make it funny. Really really funny. Because, when you think about it (I’ll pause here so you can picture your last sexual encounter) it really is funny (!)
I will spare you the details of my explanation, but I will tell you that I used lots of analogies (lamp plugs and electric sockets come to mind; so do corks and wine bottles)…and several hilarious hand gestures, which I will leave to your imagination.
When I’m (whew) done, and we’re both gasping with laughter (hers from amusement, mine from relief), she, pausing to let her giggling subside, goes on:
‘So. I think I get it. When you want to have a baby, you do that thing you just talked about.’
‘Well, yes,’ I reply. ‘But even people who don’t want a baby…why, even people who absolutely can’t stand babies…well, they do it every chance they get.’
‘Oh. So that means (and here she names some friends of ours, all childless, and all nameless, at least for these purposes)…they do that?’
Well, at this stage of the game (she’s eight, remember) I decided we’d both had enough. I did solicit a promise from her to reintroduce the topic with me when and if she changed her opinion from ‘Yuck‘.
But then I started thinking about The Child sharing this exciting new piece of knowledge with her fellow Third Graders, and how this would not make me the Most Popular Parent in Homeroom. So I end our little chat this way:
‘You can understand that this is a pretty sensitive topic, right?’
(Sage nod, this time from The Child)
‘Well, you know how bad a kid would feel — and the kid’s parents too — if you told the kid there is no Santa.’
(Another sage nod.)
‘Well. This stuff we just talked about? Parents want to tell their own kids, and in their own way. If you tell, it ruins it for everybody.’
‘Just remember: Sex is just like Santa.’
Well, she must have heeded my advice. Because, although I was a bit nervous around the answering machine for a few weeks, I received exactly zero calls from infuriated, outraged, sputtering parents.
Whew. Just like then, I’m sure glad that’s over. If you enjoyed this story, you might like another of my Mommy Musings, ‘Gone Baby Gone’, about the joys and perils of the Empty Nest (don’t worry, it’s not too sad). And, of course, feel free to explore the sidebar ‘Mom Musings’ tab for more, um Mom Musings, including such favorites as ‘Happy (Ho)Made Halloween’ and ‘That’s My Bob’.
Next week, in honor of her birthday, I’m sharing a tale about My Favorite Sister, to be titled ‘Larry and the Nose Holes’.
Enjoy yourselves this week. Here’s an idea: Instead of shopping till you drop, catch up on my posts! Kidding (sort of).
Be Merry and (of course) Bright. And thank you for reading.
New York City. December 2014