A while back I was puttering around on Pinterest and daydreaming about my perfectly tidy, crafty, gourmet life, when I came across a list called, “How to Raise Independent Kids.” I smugly took the bait, figuring that there wouldn’t be a single thing on that list that my independent (and did I mention brilliant and adorable?) children had not already mastered, improved, and taught the vastly inferior neighborhood kids how to do. (Just joking neighbors. Just. Joking.)
That was supposed to be dripping with sarcasm, except that it’s partially true. The neighbor children are inferior. HA! I joke…I joke…No seriously though…my kids aren’t helpless. There is an expectation that they will be contributing members of our household. They have chores to do, homework to complete, manners they are expected to use on occasion…And I’m not a total pansy of a mom. Everyone is riding a bike without training wheels at this point. We hike and swim and…I dunno…but they can DO STUFF. It’s all good.
So I really was being pretty smug, and I was mostly entitled to my smugness. Ok, no…Will doesn’t make his bed every morning. I should make him do that. But again, they are helpful and can do tasks. Which is what I thought the whole thing was about. Until we get to the grouping of 8 year old independence measures and it says, “Have the sex talk.”
OHEMGEE. That is NOT EVEN CLOSE to being on par with “loads and unloads the dishwasher”, “folds laundry” and “can make own lunch.” That’s sex people…what the heck do 8 year olds need to know about that for?
So, of course, I run straight to 700 of my best and closest friends and ask Facebook their opinion on the whole matter…once again smugly anticipating a flurry of “kids don’t need to know about sex until graduate school” and “you’ve done the right thing by exposing her to the outside world through the filer of PBS kids and Christian Radio.” BECAUSE I AM AN AWESOME MOM.
But guess what, the interwebs doesn’t think I am an awesome mom. In fact, the interwebs told me that it’s likely some first grade tramp has already explained the whole birds and the bees thing to Sweet Pea, and if she’s teaching the neighbor kids anything it’s probably pole dancing. My friends were like, “GET ON THAT.”
Argh. But I’m still convinced that my darling daughter knows nothing of the mechanics of sex. She’s too horrid a bluffer to not have shown her cards on this one. There would have been embarrassed giggling, or at the very least some squirming during that episode of Friends that she conned me into letting her watch last week – “Grandma lets me watch Friends” – gee thanks Mom! I’m pretty sure I wasn’t allowed to watch friends until I was 27.
Doesn’t it seem likely (especially if you know how much that kid talks) that if she was ready to learn about sex, she would be asking questions? Or, making comments…or anything that showed some level of interest in how babies are made? Cause she’s not. And not because she’s not interested in babies. We’ve got an actual high chair sitting at the table right now for the army of plastic siblings who dine with us each evening. And we are expected to acknowledge our dinner guest and try to include her/him in mealtime conversation. She loooooves babies. She does not, however, seem to care one whip about how she might one day obtain one.
Either that, or she already has that figured out. Case in point, yesterday the kids were playing house, and Sweet Pea informed me that they were going to adopt some babies. She picked out “One white one, one brown one, and a kitten.” And then she gave me $100 of Monopoly money and went on her way. Which would be sort of alarming if not for a few things: 1) She witnessed an entire pregnancy that resulted in her brother, 2) that’s pretty much exactly how it went down with my brother and I, so you can’t really fault her . (We’re adopted. One white. One brown. Although we cost significantly more than $100.), and 3) she once pressed me for information about how the baby gets out of the mom's tummy, so I told her. Ironically, Will has never asked how the baby gets out. But like most things, he seems to have a very keen sense of how this all works. During the same baby-procurement-role-playing activity the other day, Will informed me that his sister was "totally not ready for what really happens when it's time for the baby to come out."
I didn't press him for further information. I think it's safe to say he gets it.
Alrighty then. So you can probably see my giant conundrum right now. Do you get the books and the videos and force "THE TALK" with a kid who doesn't seem particularly interested, or do you wait until she starts the conversation at the risk of someone beating you to the punch?
And what exactly does an eight year old need covered? She has boy girl anatomy down. She says vagina and penis with such confidence, the entire Michigan legislature is trying to have her censured. She knows that you need a boy + a girl to make a baby. She knows about menstruation and pregnancy, and she understands that the baby doesn't just magically fly out of your bellybutton at the hospital. I kinda felt like that was a pretty good arsenal of information for a second grader. No? Must we really go there?
Not exactly dreading this. Just hoping to hold on to some innocence I guess.