Friday, December 3, 2010

O shame, where is thy blush? …To flaming youth let virtue be as wax ~ Hamlet Act 3, sc. 4

I guess now would be as good a time as any to write about having “the talk” with my kids….

As I was raising my son and daughter, I tried very hard to be open and honest with them. It wasn’t always easy to do—your first instinct is to go to the “Because I’m the parent and I said so” option. The hardest things for me were to admit when I had handled something with them in the wrong way and to apologize when I’d lose my temper.

But answering their questions about sex and the like wasn’t that difficult. I was, after all, a child of the 60s—we were the free love generation, right? And, in spite of my Catholic school background (where sex-ed consisted of Sister saying “If God is willing, a man and a woman will conceive a child.”), I was relatively comfortable discussing things with them. Their dad was very hurt when he realized they were always coming to me with their questions—until I told him some of the things they were asking…. “Oh, … um, …. Yeah—you can handle that.”

First thing I did was tell them the proper names of their body parts when they were about 3 and 4—cause, ya know, all the child rearing books say that’s what you should do.

Clearly, the authors of these books don’t have any on-the-job experience. I am in the store one day, browsing, when I realize that my adorable offspring are not standing obediently at my feet. I immediately whip around scanning the store for them. Quickly I spot my son (the 3-yr-old) peeking up the skirt of a mannequin. Before I can make a move, he proclaims at the top of his lungs “M, I can see the lady’s ‘gina.”


Now, this was in 1979. Things were still pretty uptight. I am all of 26 years old and all of these little old ladies are looking at him appalled. I have to admit that I was tempted to just take his hand and say “Let’s go find your mother little boy.”

Alright, now we jump ahead about 2 or 3 years and the questions start…..

My tactic whenever they asked “What is such-and-such?” was to respond with “Well, what do you think it is?” That way I could suss out exactly where their little brains were on a given topic. It worked very well. I can still remember my 6-yr-old daughter’s response to “What do you think gay means?”
“Guys who like other guys.”
Yeah, that about sums it up, I replied.    (I didn’t know about any of this stuff til I was 16 or so!)

When my son was about 12, he was on a car ride with his dad and he was telling him about a girl he liked in school.     My husband later relayed the conversation to me:

 Dad:   Is she cute, bud?
          Son:   Yeah! Only problem is G likes her too—and he’s my best friend.
 Dad:   Yeah—that’s a tough one….. But girls come and go; your friends are important.                          Don’t mess up a great friendship over a girl….
        Son:   Yeah…. But I think she likes me more—I’ve gotten more off of her than G.

(Dad almost crashes car, cause he knows what he meant when he said that about a girl….)

 Dad: (gulping, but trying to sound calm) What do you mean, bud?
       Son:   She gave G a granola bar, but she gave me a granola bar AND a pack of gum.

(Dad’s heart starts beating again.)


  1. Hahahahaha!!!!! Oh that is such a funny conversation!!!

  2. By the way, this blog post gave me an idea for one of my own! It'll publish on Sunday morning. Thanks!!

  3. Ha! Yup!! Kids can make your heart stop for sure. They are even known to cause brain freezes!!! Ha!!

  4. I enjoyed what you shared. Thank you.

  5. Hi
    well its always very difficult to know that what a growing child actually know about different matters of life.Specially the ones we consider the part of taboos.