Lisa: What’s Santa’s Little Helper doing to that dog?
Bart: It looks like he’s trying to jump over her but can’t quite make it.
Come on, boy! You can do it!
During a major purge of my hoarder daughter’s room yesterday, she suddenly pipes up with “Do people have to have sex to have children?”
I knew this day was
coming bound to arrive, however I admit to not being exactly prepped for it. So I responded, “Er, well, the short answer is that yes, yes they do. We should talk about it. However, I’d like us to finish up here, and then later today, we can discuss it further.” Patted myself on the back for buying myself some time.
But she was already starting to make the inevitable connections, and as we all know, once the connections start to be made, there’s just no stopping them.
“Soooooooo….” she went on, right on the cusp of The Great Truth that explained her and her brother’s existence, “Does that mean that you and Dad had to (
pregnant pause)…to have us?” She was unable to bring herself to say the actual words, and was looking at me with an expression that said, please, God, don’t let this be true.
I hated the idea of bursting her bubble, I did. I can’t imagine, given that it’s been over three decades since I myself learned The Great Truth, how horrifying it must be to imagine one’s parents doing the unimaginable.
I took a deep breath, and began, “Again, the short answer is yes…” at which point she feigned blacking out.
Cut to today. There was a quiet moment this morning when I thought it might be a good time to continue our conversation, and went to my girl to say so:
Me: Hey. We could finish that talk we started yesterday. I have the time now to tell you the full story and answer any questions you might have.
The Girl: (fiddling with the blinds) No, I don’t want to.
Me: (surprised) Really? Yesterday you seemed eager to know.
The Girl: I did. I decided I don’t want to know, now.
Me: (persisting) But it’s always good to know things, important things. Knowledge is power. (yes, I really did say that last bit)
The Girl (still fascinated with the blinds): Yeah, but I don’t want to hear about the s-word right now.
Me: Well, all right, but I’d like for us to talk about it soon. I’ll tell you everything you want to know.
The Girl: (cheerily) Okay! (scampers gratefully from the room)
I have resigned myself to the fact that my little girl is growing up, but I have to say that I allowed The Talk to sneak up on me. Funnily enough, when the kids were wee ones, I’d insisted on an early introduction to using the technical terms for one’s bits, because I couldn’t bear the thought of them using euphemisms into their teens; I wanted them to be comfortable with the words from day one. I recall clearly the day I berated my husband for teaching the boy to say “weenie”; it took a good two weeks to erase that from his two-year-old, comedy-centred consciousness. Henceforth, it was always vagina and breasts and penis (oh my!)
I know that in the future, this will be a mere blip on my daughter’s Life radar, but I’m determined to do the best damned job I’m able…I just hope I can avoid giggling like a school girl.
How did you convey The Great Truth? Throw me a note and tell me how The Talk went
down with your kids!
I will leave you with a clip from Woody Allen’s outstanding film Midnight In Paris, in which Owen Wilson’s character, Gil, finds himself at a party in 1920s Paris, listening to Cole Porter singing “Let’s Do It.”
I’ve heard that lizards and frogs do it
Layin’ on a rock
They say that roosters do it
With a doodle and cock
Some Argentines, without means do it
I hear even Boston beans do it
Let’s do it, let’s fall in love