Books / Culture / Family / Kids

The Talk

I had gone about it all wrong until this point. Sex Ed Guru Vikki would have recommended that I not focus all efforts on a singular, stress-filled talk. She would have told me to look at the subject as an on-going conversation rather than a singular torturous lecture. She would have told me to be honest and open and not to tell Asher that the tampon I put in my bag was makeup that one time, for example. I will be eliciting her advice in the future, but first I had to get us to a better place.

There had been a few false starts, moments when I thought that Asher was hovering around the question, cracking open the door to the secrets of the body.  I’d sit on the conversational edge of my seat, waiting for my cue. But he never wanted more than a short answer. I kept waiting for that question that would indicate he was ready.

How does the baby get in there?

Why do you have different parts than I do?

What IS the purpose of this ball sack, anyway?

No, he never asked any of those questions.

Time passed, and I got twitchy. It was possible that he would never ask me anything. It was also possible that some sex-smart kid might ask him how he came to be without a mother and a father. I didn’t want him to be caught off guard, unprepared and unknowing. He may not have been ready, but I was.

It was a random weeknight having no significance whatsoever. There were no questions or triggers. There was only our mutual availability, a book and a fluffy beanbag where I planted us.

It’s So Amazing is comprehensive to a fault. I learned way more than I wanted. It took many pages of detailed anatomy, puberty and biology before we got to the Flap A / Slot B part. You’ll pardon the completely inappropriate pun when I tell you that by the time we got to the penis/vagina part, he didn’t see it coming. Not once before we got there did he consider how the sperm and egg found each other. He definitely was not ready.

His response?

THAT’S DISGUSTING DISGUSTING DISGUSTING, AND I AM NEVER DOING THAT IN MY WHOLE LIFE!

Well, ok then, I said.

AND I WILL GET MARRIED TO SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T WANT TO HAVE BABIES!

There was my cue to discuss all the ways you can make a family without having to do that. We could finally talk about how our family came to be.

AS LONG AS I DON’T HAVE TO DO THAT DISGUSTING THING!

When I relayed the conversation to Gabriella, her response was, “Good.  Let him feel that way.”

“Well that’s probably not very productive.  Maybe we should explain that he may feel differently one day.”

“No.  No we don’t. I think we can just leave it.”

Ah, my little old school, Sicilian peasant bride.

968full-the-miller's-beautiful-wife-photo

PHOTO CREDIT: LISTAL

As had been the case with sleep training and toilet training, Gabriella was not ready. I was on my own.

After that first conversation, I put a bookmark in it and let him sit with this new information. Eventually, I asked him if he had any questions. He was quick to say no. About a week later, we were walking out the door on the way to the bus stop.

“Are we going to finish that book soon?”

“You know, you can read it on your own if you like.”

“NO! IT’S DISGUSTING!”

“Well, why do you want to read it with me, if it’s so disgusting?”

Asher shrugged.

“Ok, Asher. We’ll read some more together.”

And we did. It may have taken a little push, but he was ready.

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5 Comments

  1. I have a book that is pretty informative without being TOO disgusting. I definitely wish more parents and schools would treat reproduction as just another body system. We talk about the digestion, respiratory, nervous, and all other systems but talk about how we continue our species and it’s all freaky deaky, hand-wringing and such.

    • Right? Parts are parts, and they all serve a function. That’s what I keep telling myself when I start hand-wringing. Lots of freaky-deaky that’s been passed down from generation to generation in my family.

      What’s the book??

  2. Laughing. My youngest, aged 10, has already informed us that he’s going to be gay like Daddy and Papi to avoid having to do that disgusting thing. Clearly, he hasn’t had the character-building experience of walking in on Papi and Daddy on a romantic evening.

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