The S-Love Word
When my son was in first grade, he came home one afternoon from school with a burning question. After we were safely ensconced in the car on our way home, he said to me, “Mom? What’s sex?” Luckily I was prepared. Without missing a beat I replied “It’s your gender — if you are a male or female.” I gave myself an internal high-five .. I was winning at parenting… but then… “No, I don’t think that’s what it means…”
My platform with parenting is honesty to the point of maturation. I will not lie to my kids, but I don’t always tell them the full story. When a few years later my son came back from a sleepover and said “Hey Mom — What’s tea bagging?” I politely acknowledged his question and explained that it’s something he’s too young to understand and we will table it for a later date, then I snuck into the kitchen to catch my breath and have a shot of tequila. You are never ready to answer the harder questions. When my ex and I separated, and through the months that have followed, my kids have often asked me questions; confiding in me their fears and worries. I treasure this aspect of our relationship and would never abuse it by putting false or mean thoughts in their heads. Everything I state is factual, clean and precise with no emotion behind it.
When Lucas came home in first grade knowing about sex I was horrified.. he’s just a baby! How do I explain this to him? On the opposite side of the spectrum, I know have my 1st grade daughter… who knows WAY TOO MUCH about “the S love word” as she’s taken to calling it. With a tween brother who is very verbal about his excitement for impending arm pit hair and unwavering love of Charlotte McKinney, my daughter’s knowledge of the birds and the bees far outweighs appropriate for the point of maturation.
I’ve tried to get the kids to take me aside to ask questions, not make a big deal of it, but also not bring it up in front of everyone who comes over for dinner. Last night Zoe was concerned. She had a question about where baby animals come from. After I explained the process of reproduction as it applies to all mammals (clinical as all get out), I changed the subject to teeth brushing and bed time. When I was getting Lucas settled, he said he overhead my conversation with Zoe and had a question of his own.
“Mom, how do lesbians have babies?”
Being that Lucas has two “Godmommies” who have 2 babies of their own, I was actually more surprised that this was the first time he asked that particular question. Once again, very sterile and medical, I replied, “Well, they found a nice man who donated his sperm, they took it to the doctor and the doctor did a procedure called artificial insemination.”
A look of thought crossed his face.. and suddenly I panicked. “Please don’t ask me about how men donate sperm.. please, I can’t have that talk right now..” But, when Lucas spoke again though, it was something else. “I sure hope the Doctor was a girl.” I let out a deep sigh of relief, and I launched into the talk that both men and women doctors treat men and women… blah blah blah… good night now for the love of god, please go to sleep.
But it wasn't over yet.
This morning Lucas said to me “I was thinking about our conversation last night…I think I want to be a Doctor that delivers babies..” and my 1st grader followed up with: “He just wants to look at vaginas all day.”
And that, my friends, is what we call winning at parenting.
Or? It could also be called “Why I drink.”