“Why don’t girls wear bras to bed? Boobs are just so… out there. What’s their purpose? Boys certainly don’t have anything comparable.”
It’s 10 pm and I’m brushing my teeth, 8 blissful seconds away from the latest episode of Scandal, and I’m going to have to talk about boob function? Please hold.
I had my kid at age 25. While my friends were doing internships at Ernst & Young and starting 401Ks, I was bartending and watching Jimmy Neutron cartoons every morning. It was safe to say I didn’t know another soul with a baby, so I panicked and millenial-ed it: I convinced a hot guy to pack up my apartment, and ran home to my mother. I spent the best half of my 20s (ask any 40 year old woman what year her hotness peaked, and she will say 27) crying, not sleeping, and daydreaming about my baby turning 12 and sleeping til noon.
Age 12 does bring you a lot more sleep, but it also means having The Talk. Now, my family has zero couth and we’ve been known to discuss bonestorming at Thanksgiving dinner. But what is the appropriate way to talk about sex with a tween? Do you need props? A book? When I was (way too) little, my mother cleared the house and sat me down with a book that resembled the Kama Sutra, but with cartoons. “This is because you asked me what ‘being a virgin’ means. Number one, you shouldn’t be listening to Madonna, and number two, you should be a virgin on your wedding day.” Well then. Slap a True Love Waits ring on me and send me to live with the Duggars.
My child is not getting educated via cartoon porn. And although I can think of many household items that could be used for a demonstration, I don’t want my kid to get excited every time he sees a turkey baster and a grapefruit in the same room. I have no Mom Friends to consult, since the 401K peeps took the more responsible route in life. Their current kid problems are more toddler tantrums and potty training, and less performing The Vagina Monologues. Enter: Siri.
“Be matter-of fact,” said my electronic bestie, “don’t overwhelm them.” While the phrase ‘matter-of-fact’ is engraved on a necklace I wear as a warning to anyone I encounter, I have found that such bluntness is not appreciated when it comes to sex talk. I once told my 14 year-old nephew that sex is “totally awesome and feels great and you will love it,” while my horrified sister leapt in slow motion across the room to try to cover his ears. And Siri? Everything about sex is overwhelming. I remember when my best friend first learned about the ol’ Netflix and Chill. She got on the school bus and said in a whisper: “Do you KNOW what my dad has done to my mom with his…THING?!” And we sat the rest of the way to school with our heads down and our hands folded, in silent mourning for our no-longer-virgin brains.
Maybe there is no perfect delivery method. Maybe it just depends on the child, and what he or she can handle. The most important thing is being honest and open. Don’t use ridiculous euphemisms like “watering the secret garden” or “adult sleepover.” Though make sure to explain a bit of the current slang when you have your Talk. Years after the Cartoon Sutra, I asked my mother, “What does ’69’ mean?” As this clearly was omitted from our Talk, she was so startled that she flipped the pan of potatoes she was frying off the stove, sent me out of the room, and asked my father for a cigarette (she never smoked a day in her life). You don’t want surprises, people.
So. Back to the bathroom and the boobs. I did exactly what Olivia Pope would do: I handled that sh*t. “Boobs are fun. So is sex. But I don’t want to be a grandmother until I’m old enough to wear a bathing suit with a skirt without irony. Now, grab a chair and let’s listen to some Madonna while we chat.”
© Calling All Cool Moms 2018