Monday, August 1, 2011

The birds and the bees and the f-word

Talking about sex isn’t really my thing. I didn’t talk to my mom about it, I don’t talk to my friends about it (well, okay, sometimes I talk to my friends about it. What else are we going to talk about it as we drown ourselves in wine on a summer night?). ( friends know a lot.) (But anyway.)

Caroline is nine and a half. Totally innocent until last year -- third grade. In third grade, two things happened:

1. She finally figured out that there was television beyond Charlie and Lola, and shamed me into letting her watch shows I didn't like. Really, the kid had never seen Hannah probably was some obscure form of child abuse. In my defense, though, I was just trying to avoid all the boy/girl stuff for as long as I could. It worked, until...

2. She went to a new pool with a friend. Adorable, sweet friend. But, despite my best efforts, I cannot control the entire world, and there were other kids at the pool. She came home and said, “What is sex?”

Aw, shit.

Me: “Well, sex is what a man and a woman do to have a baby.”

(Encouraging smile on my face, but in a “there you go, no more questions” kind of way.)

Caroline: “Mom? That’s just not going to cut it.”

Okaayyy...I got slightly more technical, but not really technical. This is a kid who, when hugged by a naked Jack when she was five, said: “Jack! Don’t you know it’s not polite to hug someone when you’ve got your penis on?” Same child who later said, in an exasperated, big-sister way, “Jack, how many times do I have to tell you this? You have a penis and I have an agenda.” She couldn’t handle technical.

A week went by.


Oh no.

“Am I going to catch that puberty thing?”

Oh no.

Pulled out the bible for most moms, the American Girl book. Flipped through it, summarized each page.

“I can’t believe you would show me a book with such inappropriate pictures.”

Oh. My. God.

Another week went by. Another trip to the neighborhood pool.

“What’s the f-word?”

(Note to self: keep her away from that f***ing pool.)

Okay. At this point I’ve exhausted my knowledge, exhausted my sex library, exhausted Google typing in, “How to teach your kids about sex/puberty/bad language/skanky friends.” I’ve told her EVERYTHING. In as many ways as I could, despite not really wanting to say a word. The kid has knowledge.

Watching television with her last night and an Always commercial comes on (thanks, Disney, love ‘ya for that): “Mom? Will feminine protection just protect me from girls?”

Yes, Caroline. After you "catch" puberty you will be mauled by hoardes of girls unless you buy feminine protection. Isn't that perfectly clear from all I've told you?

I totally give up. Forget Catholic school; I’ll leave her in coed public school...methinks she’s gonna need the education.


  1. Absolutely hilarious. She is so right..."Boys have a penis and girls have an 'agenda'!!" That is one I will NEVER forget. The nest part is she doesn't yet know how much she KNOWS!!

  2. Of course, I meant the"best" part is... not nest ;)