"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Birds and The Bees

You haven't quite lived as a mom until you get to go to your yearly GYN visit and have your exam with a screaming baby/toddler sprawled across your chest and you haven't quite lived as a parent until your child comes home from middle school and asks you what teabagging is. Before you ask, yes, I have experienced both.

Thanks to life conspiring against me and (I sometimes think) careful planning by my husband, I've gotten stuck with giving the talk to both our oldest sons. In both cases, little things the kids had said lead me to believe it was necessary to give them the facts pronto. In one case, we were on the puberty roller coaster and it was hell. In the other case, my son made a comment about a girl bumping into him being like her trying to have sex with him. Kid A needed to know why his mood was all over the place and why he was being such a royal pain in the ass and Kid B needed to know what sex was and why we don't compare bumping to sex.

It's kind of funny. Even though we knew there was a *deadline for giving our kids the talk, both our older boys got the talk at a different time. M has always seemed so much older, sort of an old soul and he had such a rough go of it with puberty that he got the talk in 4th grade when he was almost 10. J has always seemed more or a free spirit, not immature but younger than M seemed at the same age, which is why he didn't get the talk until recently...just shy of his 11th birthday. With each kid, the talk was personalized. I gave them both the basic details of puberty and how it happens. I also gave them the bare bones detail of how sex happens and babies are made. M got more details because he always wants and needs more details no matter what we are talking about. I think I was talking to M for over an hour. J got the bare bones details and the whole conversation in about 10 minutes. The one thing I made absolutely sure to tell each of them is that if they ever had any questions, no matter what they wanted to know about, they could ask me. I told them I would answer anything and, if I didn't know the answer, we would find it together. I also told them if they asked something I didn't think they really wanted to know that I would ask them if they were sure they wanted that answer...but, that if they pushed the issue, I would tell them.

So far, this approach seems to have worked pretty well. I've answered all kinds of questions and they both seem to be comfortable asking me things. I just never quite anticipated my open, any question will be answered approach would lead to me looking up tea-bagging on urbandictionary.com. Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that life will conspire against me and I'll have to give Gabe the talk too? And, why am I more scared about what Gabe will ask me than anything either of the other two have ever come up with?

*Sex ed is taught in the second half of 5th grade and we never want our children to first hear the details about puberty and sex in school. We both feel that's something they need to learn at home.