Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Blind Leading The Blind, Part One: The Birds And The Bees.

Usually on Sunday I make a list in my head of all the things I need to get done during the following week. I find this works better than writing them down, since the less important tasks just naturally fall away into the recesses of my atrophying brain, while the most important one will stay in my consciousness, screaming its importance while it torments me and keeps me up at night. I've got a doozie for this week, and all those other lesser things on my list, like helping the homeless, learning Spanish and bathing will have to wait.

Because this week I'm going to have The Talk with Kira.

You know the one. The serious, long-winded speech that covers not only sex, but babies, menstruation, a brief anatomy lesson, body changes and appropriate and inappropriate behavior. (Oh, and if I have time - blogging, commenting, positioning of the sidebar and the social implications of a blogroll.)

And I'm dreading it. Because I absolutely suck when it comes to teaching of any kind. No matter what my knowledge is on a given subject, when it comes to imparting that knowledge to another human being I am completely useless:

Person Seeking Knowledge: Mom, how does the TV work?

Me: Oh, um, the TV station is sending a signal through the cable thingy.

PSK: And how does the sound get here?

Me: That's coming from the little people living inside the TV.

I don't remember my parents having The Talk with me. Since there were five kids, they probably figured they would just have to explain things to my oldest brother and everything would filter on down to the rest of us. Sort of like that 'telephone' game we all played in kindergarten where the first kid would whisper, "Twinkle twinkle little star" to the one next to him and by the time it had been whispered into the wax-filled ear of the twentieth kid in class it would come out as, "Tony Danza ate his car."

Being the youngest, this may explain why most information was tragically compromised by the time it reached me, and why I vaguely remember hushed conversations oddly revolving around the words peanuts and angina. It may also be the reason why, all these years later, any talk of sex will bring on suffocating chest pains and a craving for a bowl of salty Planters.

So I've been wondering about the best way to approach my little discussion with Kira. Since I'm a big fan of visual aids, I'm thinking that some life-size diagrams of the human body would be helpful, along with a slideshow accompanied by her favorite band, Green Day (...I hope you have the tiiime of your liiife...) And here's where it gets really fun - after that intro, I could get out some of those plastic models of reproductive organs from the medical supply store and use them to act out different scenarios. Oh, and I definitely need one of those laser pointers - they're useful for emphasizing things and also make awesome light shows if anyone starts to get bored.

Or, better yet, maybe I should just skip The Talk altogether and she can get her information from YouTube like every other normal kid.

Holy crap, what is wrong with me?

Why can't I be like the moms in those teary Afterschool Specials, the ones that authoritatively, but oh-so-lovingly, explain the facts of life to their fresh-faced daughters, while sipping tea and wearing homely sweater vests? Who would never dream of using words like woowoo or Mr. Peter or of using pantomime or sock puppets to give their children life lessons? Chances are when I'm done talking, Kira will pat my hand, look me straight in the eyes and say, "Mom, that was a lovely talk. Now please take off that hideous tampon costume and get dad in here."

So wish me luck. What I'm hoping is to have an open, honest conversation with her that will ensure that she's comfortable with who she is and the changes that will be happening to her body. I'm hoping that I'll be able to supply her with at least a quarter of the information she'll need to make good decisions. But most of all, I'm hoping that she doesn't go to school the next day, gather her girlfriends around and say, "So, my mom gave me The Talk. And the weirdest part? Tony Danza ate his car."

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  1. My parents gave me a book and sent me off on my own. The book gave me all kinds of wrong ideas about stuff... I was confused when it said that semen was a "vessel" for sperm.

    The Playboy magazines hidden in my dad's closet were far more enlightening.

  2. Well, sadly you're barking up the wrong tree over here because my Dad told me that sex was the number after five.

  3. My mother, a candid and clinical nurse, gave us all the details when we were five. She should give lessons.

    I hope it goes well for you.

  4. I don't remember my mother giving me the talk, perhaps I'm repressing it because she swears she did. Or she's making herself believe she did, but didn't...
    anyhoo, having a son means I get to hand him off to Daddy and say "there you go" but sometimes I wonder if that's a good idea...

  5. She's old enough for the TALK? I could have sword "they" said I didn't have to do that until mine turned 18. Dam it. Stupid lying "them".

    All I can say is good luck. My mom told me at six just cause I asked where babies come from and she wanted to get it over with. Of course she added on as time went on, but hell she's a shrink. Plus her mom had only handed her the leaflet that comes in a maxi pad box.

    Just try not to mention Peanuts and I'm sure youll be fine.

  6. I don't remember the elusive "talk" either. Maybe that is just a myth, an urban legend, a big bag of hooey. My dad did get me a cool "all about your body" book when I was about 10. I just remember my mother was mortified that I would use tampons in high school. God no wonder I was suppressed! Good luck. I really dread this "talk" some day.

  7. Heehee...

    I'm coming up on that time too. Can I borrow your slideshow and laser pointer in around six months?

  8. When I first "met flo" I vividly remember my mom handing me a bunch of pink booklets with flowers all over them (probably made in the 50's) and leaving. That was the extent of any "conversation" we ever had about the subject. Luckily, I like to read. Unluckily, those crappy booklets were composed of more innuendo and cutesy language than actual fact. I wish I still had them. They'd be a hoot to read, I bet....
    (Oh, and cheers from blogexplosion!)

  9. Melissa: There's a LEAFLET in the maxi pad box? Well thanks for the tip - why have a discussion when there's free literature to be had?

  10. I got the birds and bees talk because of Luke and Laura. My mother was a faithful General Hospital watcher, and I learned a lot about life thanks to that. But a neighbor girl had clued me into menstruation, and my mother felt so cheated that she wasn't about to let another opportunity pass to little Jennifer down the street. So when Luke raped Laura and I asked Mom what rape was, I had no idea the extent of the can of worms I was opening. The woman talked for days, and I hardly believed a word of it. I was SO not ready.

    Oh, and, good luck!

  11. The fact that you're thinking and worrying about it means you'll do fine.

    Mine is only 2-ish so I won't be having "the talk" for a while longer (I hopeIhopeIhopeIhope.) I never got one.

    I would think that the best way to start is to ask if they have any questions. Or to make the wife do it. I haven't decided.

  12. Ha! My mom gave me a pamphlet about sex and menstruation! It was creepy and old fashioned even then. It just left me feeling grossed out.

    Talking to Kira is great. Much better than, for example, my dad who gave me that classic cartoon sex ed book (forget the name), and walked out the door as fast as he could!

    Good luck!

  13. I just about spewed ice cream all over when I read about the little people living in the TV. So that's where the sound comes from!!

    I hope I will be more successful with my own girls at giving them "the talk" then my mom was with me -- she waited until I'd already heard it all in school, then asked me if I had any questions (and I was too embarrased to talk to her anyway, since we'd never discussed anything sex-related before.)

    Good luck to you and to Kira!

  14. All I remember is a book called "Where Do Babies Come From" in the book was a picture of a dancing penis and a flowery vagina. Hmmmm...

    I love the bowl of Planters and chest pains.

    Good luck.

  15. Can you record it? And maybe link the audio to
    your next post? I would gladly pay a small fee, like
    pay per view. I guess it wouldn't be fair to let Kiyomi
    sit in on "the talk", but she could prove useful, when
    you are tongue tied or Kira is a little squeamish to repeat
    the word penis or point to it on your visual aids.
    Cuz, you know my girl, Kiyomi probably has all the answers to your worries and concerns.

    Good Luck, Pookie!

  16. I almost wet my pants reading this. I too thought it was peanuts. I also never remember my parents giving me the talk. I got the talk from an older girl in the neighborhood. Needless to say my information was a bit, er, flawed.

    I am so dreading the talk. My six year old has already asked how babies get out of your tummy. I said 'head first'. that wasn't enough she wanted to know from where- so I told her. At first she laughed and then when she realized I wasn't joking her eyes grew really big and she said incrediously "HOW?" Thankfully she didn't ask how they got in there.

  17. "vaguely remember hushed conversations oddly revolving around the words peanuts and angina. It may also be the reason why, all these years later, any talk of sex will bring on suffocating chest pains and a craving for a bowl of salty Planters."

    Lawd woman ,you crack me up. i am choking on my gin & tonic here. Thanks a LOT! :)

    Let us know how it goes...

  18. You should get your own show. You are hysterical.

    My husband gave the talk to my oldest last year in Publix. He had asked several times, but always in front of our younger two (i.e. he didn't really want to know). I think boys should hear the talk from men if possible and girls from women. I am seriously not qualified to talk about "how to hide your porn from mom".

    Good luck.

  19. I can't wait until we get to read your post on how it all went!

    Don't worry - you are going to do a great job! Chances are she already knows everything and you just have to clarify a few misconceptions.

    I got a book as The Talk, but fortunately I've always been a reader so I knew it already. I actually remember getting into trouble at school for educating the other kids LOL

  20. Peanuts and angina, good gawd that is funny. I explained it years ago to my now 9 year old, and I tried to be very matter of fact about it. She said, "oh, Mum, that is just GROSS!" Whew...but my little one, well I am going to have a hard time just keeping her clothes on..

    Oh, and one week later, big girl was telling her best friend the 'facts', much to the mothers dismay, and to top it off, before we could stop the converstaion from continuing she said "and just imagine, like if he put it anywhere else like, like your ear or your mouth or something......."

    Oh, the things you have to look forward to.
    Good luck, that was a hilarious post.

  21. This is the first time I have seen your site and I really enjoyed this site. Your humor and honesty is very gripping. It really made me think about talking to my Okapis (3.5 yr old twins) about sex and how I'm not ready for that but thankfully my wife is a sexuality educator. Phew.

    Good luck and please let us know how it goes. I will certainly be back to find out.

  22. This makes me feel so guilty for the eye-rolling and emphatic sighing I engaged in every time my mom had The Talk with me. And yes, I mean EVERY TIME. As in, multipe times. Many, many times. One Talk was not enough. I got about fifty billion, and I rolled my eyes during every one.

    But... I didn't have sex with my boyfriend in high school, even though I refused to even discuss the topic with my mom, and she totally thought I did, and was very worried that babies were going to come popping out of me any day.

    So, I think you get points just for trying. The message gets through, even if it doesn't seem like it did.

    For the record, I think a giant tampon costume would have done wonders for The Talk. Maybe then I wouldn't have used up a whole box the first time I tried to use the damn things.

  23. I never did get "the talk". I went to a private Christian school which told us something like "sex was created by the devil and if you even thought about it (even while watching a Debbie Gibson video) you were going to Hell."

    Maybe not exactly, but close.

    I learned from my uncle close in age, Three's Company, movies, schoolyard "theories", and practice...

  24. Without my parents knowledge, my then 11 year old sister decided to give me The Talk when I was eight. Among the nuggets of wisdom i remember: "There is NO WAY you can get pregnant until you are 18."

    Uh, okay!


  25. Holy crap.

    THE talk?

    I remember when mom gave me the talk. I wanted to run screaming from the room. She ended up doing it in the car so I couldn't run away.

    I think I would have prefered Youtube.

    But your way is better. Harder...but better.

  26. I'm sure you'll do a better job that my mother did...what with her inability to say the actual terms for specific "genitalia". (embarrassmen? ignorance? both?) She just made very general references to body areas such as "up there" and "down there". It would have been very confusing if I hadn't already done a bit of reading on my own...so I knew damn well what she was leaving out.

  27. Tampon Costume? Oh, jeez, I think you may be hanging out with my daughter. She likes to dress my tampons in Barbie clothes....very disturbing.
    Anyway, good luck with "the talk"...I am sweating for you.

  28. I am wishing you the best of luck with The Talk. My kid's only 17 months and I'm already practicing my speech. I'm all for practice makes perfect.

    Oh, and if your talk doesn't go well you can always call Tony Danza for help. I think he gave The Talk to his tv daughter Samantha. And I hear he's available since that talk show gig didn't go so well.

  29. Oh man! Doesn't the school teach them that stuff? I assumed they did since my 11 year-old, while listening in on a conversation between me and few other moms asked one of the ladies (after she said she was done having kids) if she was taking pills?
    How else would he know that? I don't remember dressing up like a pack of birth control pills and discussing it with him.
    Damn that YouTube!

  30. I hope that it goes much better than you think it will. I was lectured that sex was all about responsibility to use protection or else you are not ready emotionally.

    My mother didn't believe in tampons so I only knew that they would give me toxic shock syndrome. When my friend gave me one, I couldn't understand why it was so uncomfortable. It seems you're supposed to remove the applicator!

  31. LMAO your tooo funny. I have no advice, really. Except I remember that my grandmother bought me a series of books that explained the whole thing to me, and then my mother followed it up with the talk so that she didn't have to try and explain all that technical stuff from memory. *shrug*

    Let us know how it went. I got a couple of years before I have to do it, but any info will be stored in my brain till then. (unless it falls into that void you were talking about)

  32. I learned about the birds and the bees from an older cousin, back when I was all of seven years old. Ugh, the nightmares that ensued!!

    I, too, feel like a terrible teacher and DREAD the day I have to sit down my nine-year-old down and commence with THE TALK. So for those of us who are quickly approaching it, please, let us know how it goes!

  33. OMG. I hope your talk goes better than the one I had with my mom went. For YEARS I thought condoms were hard, plastic helmets with a rather pointy tip and I was TERRIFIED to have sex because I was convinced the condom would pierce a major organ and I'd bleed to death internally.

    Come to think of it, that wasn't a bad story my mom told me. Maybe you should go with that one after all...

  34. Peanuts are always associated with sex or with the naughty bits for kids. Must be the pea/pee thing.

    Good luck. (And tell us stories if there's anything good that won't compromise Kira's privacy...)

  35. We had THE TALK the other day. Only, it needs to be revisited since I gave very general information. Not looking forward to the specifics. Good luck to you!

  36. if you do the big talk in the car, while driving at high speed, at least she can't hurl herself out of the door in embarrassment.


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