I was part of a movement of "dinosaur moms" when I lived in Maryland (Astrodon Johnstoni is the Maryland state dinosaur.) Which is nothing more than this -- dinosaur moms delight in the half-feral nature of the beasties they parent, even as they whisper Shakespeare and Kierkegaard in their ears at night.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Facts of Life Are All About You

Reading my dear friend Mrs. Y’s facts o’ life blog has put me in mind of my own first forays into the birds and bees talk. My father was in public health, so I grew up as sort of the local authority on the subject. I was even a little political about it. I had a responsible fatherhood poster on my wall with pregnant men, which I thought was deliciously subversive.

At an impressionable age, I read in Cosmo that every woman should carry a passport and a diaphragm in her purse at all times. I could proudly report that I’d been carrying the “three for free” in my purse since I was old enough to drive to the free clinic. “Three for free” were the tropical colored (and reportedly snug) condoms that were discretely placed three to a paper lunch sack and kept in a bowl on the counter. I considered it a feminist rite of passage to dare myself to walk up and lay claim.

It was my pride, but it was also my cover. If I was the tween and teen set’s answer to Margaret Sanger, then I could talk about these things in the abstract, keeping the spotlight off of my own personal choices. I was assumed to be too worldly-wise to be the dreaded “V.” On the other hand I was accepted as so above-it-all that it would have been as childish as snickering in sex ed class to speculate about the specifics.

Thus, the only peer pressure I ever felt about the matter was to read up on the latest perversions, lest someone get hold of a copy of Forum and scoop me. I envisioned Girl taking after me in this respect, though with a touch more class (as I did have rather a potty mouth).

So it was with this in mind that I busted out the graphs and charts on my little homegirl at the tender age of 8. She had always been fascinated by guts and gore, so it was only a matter of time before the expurgated children’s anatomy books were to prove insufficient. She asked. I said ask me tomorrow. She asked me. We went to the library. Thus armed with sensitively rendered pen and ink drawings, I launched in.

And it was really really hard (as it were). There was so much I wanted to shove into my little presentation -- my baggage, my ambitions for her, and just the sheer volume of data -- that it all came out in one earnest sweaty monologue. It wasn’t so much discussed as it was sort of soldiered through. Beats me if she came away from it with anything useful at all; beyond this is neat stuff; it’s not anything you need to be bothered about for a long time; it’s to do with these parts; love and babies are part of the story…

I’ll have other chances, but considering how comfortable I thought I was about this stuff, I was really all over the durn place.


Dinosaur Mom said...

I tried to talk to the oldest about wet dreams a couple of days ago. "Mommy, can you stop talking about this now?" he pleaded.

Astrodon Johnstoni said...

Yeah, but I got the same response when I was trying to explain the Jefferson Bible to Girl this morning. Our children are going to grow up thinking sex is just one of those boring things their parents are always on about.