I think it might be time to tell a couple of my kids about the birds and the bees. Not literally, they have literally been aware of birds and bees for some time now. In fact, one of my children will only go outdoors to get in the car, because of bees. (solidarity, Toby) But in a metaphorical sense, I think it’s time to talk to my kids about sex. If your internet filters let that through, let’s continue.
We’re approaching puberty here, which fills me with terror. I still have tiny red cowboy boots in the closet, aren’t they still that size? WHAT HAPPENING
Maybe it was time a long time ago, I don’t know. We have talked about babies, and some body and puberty basics, and even pornography, because this generation is super tech savvy and the internet is a cesspool. With all this openness, however, I have kept the actual sexuality parts of the conversation… out of the conversation.
My own education was pretty limited. I remember a “uterus” talk when I was about 4 from my oldest sister (who was grown, with kids). Then I gathered some highly inaccurate information from a couple of “last chance” boys that got sent to our private school.When I was about 13, I think my mom might have taken a good solid shot at teaching me but all I remember is some cave drawings and crushing embarrassment, and then I went to public school and gathered a few more inaccurate details on the bus. The rest of it learned on the field, if you will.
When Toby was about 5, he put a couple of things together. “I think I know where babies come from,” he told me, “and I do NOT want to know.” I took that cue and did not tell him. But I’m thinking these days that I want to be the first voice on all this (or pretty close to the first) because 2016 is VASTLY different than 1988, when I was 10.
I’ve got a couple of quandaries. First: awkward.SO AWKWARD. “Not for me,” you say. “I talk openly with Henna and Barista all the time. They are very comfortable with their 4 year old sexuality.” Bully for you, great work. I am just having some trouble making the words come out of my mouth. I mean, they know their body parts and all, but geez.
Secondly: how do I say “This is good and great and wonderful and normal but DON’T PLAY DOCTOR or explore these topics with your friends and also GET MARRIED first. I am just giving you some info for you to hang on to for 10-15 years.” ? I hate anything that seems like sex and sexuality is illicit or unholy in and of itself, but I also want some great boundaries. There’s a spectrum here and I tend toward the fundamentalist side of it despite myself. I think I have a better grip on how I want to handle “modesty” and shame but this is tricky stuff.
Anybody want a soapbox topic? Why is all the burden for purity on the girl? Why is there something inherently shameful about being female, with feminine features and shape? Is it really right to make our daughters carry the burden of their male peers’ burgeoning sexuality? Isn’t that really on the boys? < / soapbox> </ for now>
Back to the ol’ B&B. So I asked the internet, and you guys have lots of book suggestions and I am going to read them. The kids in question are endlessly bookish so it will probably be relatively painless for them to work through this via mom-blushingly-reading-a-book and then doing a brief Q&A, which will open the lifelong Q&A.
Also maybe I need to round up some cave drawings.