“I don’t know what to do about this.”
“Sorry, what?” He looked up from his computer.
“The situation with the kids? And that country song? Why can’t they just stick to lovesick crooning and runaway dogs and makin’ Momma proud?” I asked.
“Uh…what seems to be the problem?” His computer was shut tight now, giving me his full attention.
“You know that song, Save A Horse, Ride a Cowboy?”
He shook his head.
“Well, she wants to know what it means!”
“Why can’t you tell her it has to do with sex?”
“I…it’s…well…” I paused. Dammit, why had that never occurred to me? “They know how babies are made – obviously.” Thanks to my husband’s relaxed upbringing and several great body books. “It’s just that we’ve never gone from ‘That’s how babies are made’ to ‘And that’s what sex is.'”
“What’s wrong with telling them that?”
“It’s not..it’s just…nothing. I guess. It sounds so easy when you say it like that!” I moaned.
The sun was slanting in the horizon, right into my eyes. I tugged the visor down along with a breath of courage.
“You know something sweetie, you’re right. I have been uncomfortable talking to you about this song, but there’s no reason for that. I wanted to tell you what it meant.” Gulp. “It’s about sex.” Silence. “Do you know what that is?”
“Nope,” came a sweet nine year old voice from the back. “Nope” echoed her seven year old brother.
“Oh. Well. You know how babies are made, right?”
“Of course. The seed is in the man and the egg is in the woman.”
“And somehow,” piped my son, “the sperm gets to the egg. Right mom?”
“Right. Well, the sperm comes from the man’s penis and goes into the woman’s vagina. And that’s sex.” I held my breath until I heard from the back, “Oh. Ok!”
“…I was actually starting to sweat. I was really worked up about it. Then I asked if they knew how babies are made – obviously, duh, they do – and then once I explained the mechanics of it all they were like, oh, ok. Then I had the brilliant idea to tell them that I was like the bee that book. Remember the bee?”
“The bee?” he asked vaguely, looking a little vague himself.
“Yes, the bee is totally uncomfortable talking about sex, any part of it. I’m like that bee, and when I told them I had been uncomfortable as a kid, they were stunned. And curious, maybe just having trouble imagining me as a child, I don’t know. But then when I told them you were like the bird in the book –
“The bird. In the book?” he repeated.
“Yes, the bird in the book. You are interested in talking about sex and all of it. They were giggling, and she said she was like me and the bee, and he said he was like you and the bird. By then we were all smiling and I was convinced it was a brilliant idea to talk to the kids frankly about sex, in the car of course so that we didn’t have to look at each other, but brilliant nonetheless. Thanks, hon.”
I gave him a small kiss. “It’s why we make a great team.”
This post is part of #Writing101, a course with Blogging U. The assignment: contrast two things, using dialogue. This is a version of several conversations that I did have in the past few months. You can also read my previous post about talking to kids about sex. Please note that it’s much easier to talk about talking about sex than it is to talk about sex.