Sunday, January 10, 2010

What Goes Where?

Two things that you will never read about on this blog are: 1. The dating nightmares of teenage boys, because the process sucks enough without having to worry about your mom writing about it, and 2: Me bitching about my husband. One thing that I will write about, though, is sex. More specifically, talking to your kids about sex.

At some point, every responsible parent has to have the sex conversation with their kid. I made the decision when Zach was young that bits of information would be given upon request, and the answers would come in a straightforward, here-are-the-facts manner. After all, a penis is a penis is a penis. Since the boy is the owner of one, I figured he definitely has the right to know the proper terminology, and also know that it is there for reasons besides peeing all over the toilet.

I have found that the best place to have these conversations is in the car. With the inquisitive child in the passenger seat and me looking straight ahead (most of the time), any question is fair game and no eye contact is needed. If the kid blushes, I can't tell. If he reacts to an answer with wide eyes and his jaw hanging open, I usually don't notice, because after all, my eyes are on the road.

Charlie and I had the birds and bees conversation while he, I and Zoe were in Los Angeles for one of his tennis clinics. We were driving back to the hotel after having dinner in Redondo Beach, Zoe was asleep in the backseat, and since Zach wasn't with us, Charlie was enjoying a rare opportunity to sit in the front seat, and could ask me questions without being laughed at.

"So, this sex thing. I know that it takes a boy and a girl to make a baby, but how does his sperm get to her egg, without, just, how can that happen?" It was a good thing that I only had one beer with dinner, because this question coming out of nowhere would have been serious buzz kill.

After calmly explaining the process, and also being very clear about the "when you're old enough" part of the answer, he started filling me in on how weird it was at school that a couple of the girls were already getting boobs. It's amazing how much a boy laughs when he says, or hears, the word "boobs."

More recently, our car chats have covered the birds and birds, bees and bees, the risk of AIDS, bullying, sexual assault, and other light/pop some popcorn/sit around the campfire kind of topics. If they ask, and are serious about wanting to know (do the bees and the bees have sex?), then I answer. I will continue to answer in a non-gross way until they say: "Okay. Got it. I don't need any more information right now. Thanks, and now I'm kind of grossed out."

This is when I pat myself on the back (not literally, since I am still driving the car) and am glad that I was able to simultaneously answer their questions, and manage to gross them out, because at this point in their lives, educated but grossed out is exactly where I want them to be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Keep them grossed out until they are out of college, have a decent job, and a girlfriend that Dad, Doug and I approve of. GOOD JOB - MOM