Friday was a big day at our house. In the theme of springtime, that magical time of growth, my 5th grader (the one who is smarter than me) had "THE TALK" at school. He officially learned about the "birds and the bees". He had a sneaking suspicion about some things before, but now he knows the hard and ugly (seriously, no pun intended there, but what the hell) truth about growing up and where babies come from. Before he had this talk, we got a letter home summarizing what would be told to the children. I asked him if he wanted to ask any questions before the talk. I stated that I would rather he ask his dad or me than a buddy, and that he should feel comfortable coming to us at any time. That suggestion was met with about the same level of enthusiasm he has when I ask him to unload the dishwasher. I just wanted to make myself available...approachable. So Friday, he comes home after school. I have baked fresh cookies. I have milk waiting for the kids. I think this would be a perfect opportunity to discuss the day (maybe briefly touch on the subject of "the talk" to fill in any blanks or clarify any questions he might have). I am ready. They have asked before where babies come from, and I froze. I knew the question would eventually come, but I thought that I would be able to deliver a sensitive yet honest answer, and my heart, brain and central nervous system seized and I went blank and said "we'll talk about it as a family when dad gets home" which I thought in my state of panic was a pretty freaking brilliant response that made it sound like I wanted us to all embark on this together, when really, it just bought me time. But this time, I was ready.
So the troops come in. The 7 year old I am pretty sure smelled the cookies upon entering our neighborhood, so he throws his backpack, bounds over the carpeted area of the living room onto the hardwood of the kitchen to avoid taking off his shoes, grabs a handful of cookies, and races out the backdoor. As he passes me, I get a slap on the back and a "hey mom, I am going hunting." Ok pal, see ya. The talk can wait for that one anyway. He is only 7. I have my sights set on the 11 year old who is just making it through the front door.
me:"Hey buddy, how was your day?"
him "ah...it was ok. Today is Friday right?"
me "Yep. So anything exciting happen at school today?"...this is my opening. The part where I envision him saying "yes mom, we had the talk and I have a couple of questions" and I grab a couple of cookies and pat the barstool next to me and we share a Norman Rockwell moment that he will fondly remember throughout the rest of his adulthood. And this tender moment will shape the moral, respectable man that he becomes, and prevent him from ever entertaining the idea of having premarital relations. But instead, my well-thought out moments goes quickly awry.
him" Yeah, we had the talk. It was very disturbing"
me "Why? What was disturbing? Did you find out anything you didn't know before?"
him "Yes, and it was all gross."
me: "Do you have any questions about it?"
Him "Not for YOU."
me "Ok, that's understandable. You can talk to dad though"
him "Ah, we'll see. I can't believe people DO THAT. Gross. See ya."
And with that, the rest of the cookies were gone, and I was sitting there alone with my inner Dr. Ruth fading. Then I thought....wait a second. He said "I can't believe that people do that"....oh crap. Now he has lost all respect for his parents. WE DO THAT! HE KNOWS! Embarrassment and fear begin to take over, like I have to explain myself to my 11 year old! Thank God he will be outside with his buddies for awhile doing normal 11 year old things, and then the ADD will kick in and he will forget about it all. Hopefully.
So, then the curveball comes. The princess walks in. "Mom, can I have a freezy for me and Maddie?" Sure honey, since the cookies are gone...and so is my tender moment, which was replaced with shame. "Oh, and mommy, Maddie's aunt is having a baby. How did she get that baby?" WTF?? Heart pounding, palms sweating, temples throbbing. I was prepared a few seconds ago, but Dr. Ruth must have left with my self-confidence. Bitch. That's ok...I don't understand her accent anyway. I was on my own. "Well, honey God put it there." Princess has heard this before, so no wonder she looks unimpressed "HOW does God put it there? And how come he won't put one there for you?" Ummmmm......well......"God helps mommies and daddies who want babies. Daddy and I are done having babies. So it is time for God to help someone else." Again, unimpressed. "But God doesn't PUT IT put it in there. He is not magic. So how does that happen?" She was not taking my canned answers. She usually does. Where is her ADD when I need it? Where is my courage and honesty? Screw that. Those are overrated. I have already flashed forward to the scenario if I do tell her the truth, the real truth, without words like PeePee or VaJ-J....how mommies have a headache, but daddies persist. So mommies give in, and then 9 months later...POOF! Then she translates that version to her swing-set buddies, and then I get the call from the other parents who weren't quite ready for their angels to be thrust into that world quite so quickly. And I know, even if I prefaced it with the "Please don't share this with your friends" that the whole neighborhood would be calling me. She is 5. They are not wired to keep secrets at that age. So I punt "How about you and Maddie can each have TWO freezies!!" Pleased with that, she grabs them out of my hand and bounces out the door. Quick save. So, here is a question for all of our loyal readers: How do you plan on telling your kids when asked? What is the right age for the actual details? And maybe someone needs to tell me where babies come from...I have been pregnant lots of times......