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Sunday, September 23, 2007


"Shhhh! Don't say it in front of Mom!"

I knew it was only a matter of time before the X-Man said whatever it was he wasn't supposed to say, so I didn't even ask, I just started counting down from ten. Ten...nine...wait for it..."Let's do sex, babeeeeeee!"

We were in the car and I had run back inside to get something. Apparently, the boys had had a chat while I was gone. The car is an easy place to have difficult conversations, because you don't have to look your kids in the eye; I highly recommend it.

Seasoned parent that I am (and older sister of three, so I benefited from watching my own parents), I didn't panic. I fake chuckled, because I've found this is one way to get kids to talk; I would make a great "good cop." I asked them, calmly(!), where they had heard such a thing. O gave me a name immediately. Although I won't say who it was, for fear of embarrassing his parents, I was reassured; I know the kid and his parents and I know they're not creepy. I was also reassured by the fact that the phrase itself made very little sense. Have you ever said that? Or had someone say it to you? Me either, and I've been having sex for a while now.

I asked the kids what they thought sex was. The X-Man, five at the time, said, "I think it means,'re beautiful?" I told him that was part of it. I knew our older son would give a better answer. After all, I had explained the whole thing to him years earlier, when I was pregnant with his brother. I was so proud of myself and I figured the job was done. "I think it's like adultery," he said. And it dawned on me that one conversation with a two year old probably wasn't sufficient.

So, I bought a book, It's So Amazing! It came highly recommended by my sister in law, who is brilliant at handling these things. She doesn't get uptight or embarrassed, I was so excited. A book! I could just give it to O and leave the room. As the kids say, "Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezie!" My glee was short lived. V, in her wisdom, let me know I would need to read the book out loud with him, because kids don't always interpret things the way they should. After reading the whole book, which is very graphic in a psychologically healthy, age appropriate way, V's daughter said, "Mommy, aren't you glad Daddy never touched your vagina? That would be gross!" I would have been stumped and called in an expert. My sister in law, unfazed, rolled her eyes and said, "Weren't you listening? He did! How do you think we had the three of you?" After some initial queasiness, her daughter was just fine.

There are two characters in the book, a bee and a bird. The bee is content to remain in the dark about the great mysteries of life. The bird wants to know it all. I have two birds. Unlike his parents, O felt no embarrassment whatsoever. He looked forward to reading more of the book each night and asked plenty of questions. We discussed everything from masturbation to same-sex unions. The book covers everything a curious bird needs to know. The X-Man hovered like a Hummingbird, excitedly fluttering his tiny wings, just outside the door of the room where we were reading. At five, my husband and I thought he was too young for all of the answers. Plus, as oldest children ourselves, we think it's important to make younger siblings wait a little; they always get to do everything sooner! The book is labeled "7+" and we decided to trust that. All in all, it was a very positive experience, in spite of the lame joke my husband made out of nervousness in response to a question O had about masturbation. I'm glad to answer all questions about masturbation, in hopes that my children are happy with just that until they're 42 and old enough to have sex.

A few weeks passed. In the car again, I pointed out my old apartment, "That's where mommy and Lady M used to live before we were married."

"You and M were married?" We're pretty liberal around here, so this question wasn't all that strange.

"No, I meant before she married Sir P and I married Daddy."

"If you and Lady M were married, you couldn't have kids," from the oldest Bird.

"Yes, we could."

"But the man has the sperm and the lady has the egg and you need both," from the youngest Bird, from the side of his mouth, tapering off as he realized what he was admitting.

"Yes," I responded, suspicion in my voice, "And where did you learn that?"

"FromthebookIt'sSoAmazing," said the Hummingbird, beak pursed, laughing.

Did I really think cramming the book on top of some other books on a top shelf would keep the Hummingbird from it? Oh, well.

"And I'm only five, but I'm almost six and the book is for seven and up. And I can play games that are eight and up."

Well then. Oddly, he has better recall of the book than his big brother, even though he read it on his own. Must be that forbidden fruit thing...

The only thing to do at that point was remind both of them how same-sex couples can go about becoming parents. The book covered that, but I guess it didn't make much of an impression.

The book, by the way, is fab. I think every parent should go out and get a copy; save it until you need it. Everything is worded exactly the way I would say it, if I had time to think about it. I tend to ramble (did you notice?), especially when I'm nervous. The book does not ramble. The book is cool as a cucumber.

It's been several months, but my little birds are still fascinated. My husband and I teach O's fourth grade Sunday school class with two other parents. Talk about birth control. If everyone had to do this before having children, they might be more careful. Last Sunday, one of the other parents, mother to a single, hand raising, clean dress wearing little girl, taught the class. She covered the Ten Commandments. We were off the hook, or so we thought. At one point, she handed out tablet shaped construction paper and asked each of the children to choose a commandment, write it on one side of the page and paraphrase it on the other. Some people are so good at making up activities. Why don't my husband and I ever think of stuff like that? She seemed so mature; we just bring doughnuts. I bet if we bring doughnuts every time, the kids will like us best. Ha!

Anyhow, the kids were working hard. Most of the boys chose, "Thou shalt not murder." A lot of kids chose, "Honor thy Father and Mother." Our son, who was dishonoring us by making us look like freaks, chose the adultery one. I saw his paper as I walked by. To quote Dwight Schrute, of The Office, "Eff!" I ran over to my husband, trying to look calm. Strained whispering ensued.

"Did you see what he wrote?!"

"Yeah, and he asked me what it meant."

"What did you tell him? Oh no, what did you tell him?!"

"Don't worry. I told him to ask one of the other parents."


Luckily, he asked the one who has several kids, not the mother of the only, who might have been less understanding.

I scooted over to the mother of many, apologized and asked what she told him. "Just don't date other people when you're married." Whew. Why didn't I think of that?

The leader went through the commandments, allowing one or two children to read what they had written for each one. Of course, my bird was the only one to choose the one about adultery. Although I was nervous, he quoted the other teacher verbatim and the moment passed. Or so we thought. One girl raised her hand to tell the class, "My babysitter had two husbands and they both dated other people while they were married to her." Another child chimed in, "That happened to my aunt!" Little pitchers, big ears, I tell ya'. Ain't it the truth?

Namasté, y'all!

P.S. Did that title grab your attention? Perv.

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