It started innocently enough, with one of them making a comment about a baby. Out of nowhere, my mind made my mouth say, “And how does the baby get in there?” The next thing I knew we were talking about periods and hormones and STDs and then daddy walked in and she said, “Excuse us, we’re talking about semen” and NO THAT’S NOT HOW I WANTED THIS TO BE! Also, your father is dead. He just died. You said semen and he croaked. Tragic.
I had elaborate thoughts about how we’d have “the talk.” The oldest has wanted a Mrs. Huxtable/Rudy special “Women’s Day” since she saw that episode of The Cosby Show (and since she started her period). I’ve wanted to give it to her, but there are three of them and sometimes, sadly, I want alone time with the boy more. She and I have spoken, sometimes at length, about bodies, but we hadn’t actually delved into the undoing of “baby seeds.” (Here I need to thank Super Fantastic for planting that nugget of semenless non-science. I do not begrudge her, however. They asked, she answered, it bought me time).
But, the nine-year-old uttering semen nonchalantly to daddy? Totally unprepared for. My husband is probably coming up with the ultimate get-back. He’s going to have one of them say blow jobs or I like humping or I ain’t scared o’ no herpes, just to get back at me for scarring him this way. Maybe she’ll be on a pole.
In all honesty, though? The conversation was so effortless, so fluid (even when the nine-year-old admitted that she thought babies were already in you, the daddy just requested one and the woman said sure, I can do that. Note to self: Stop making her think women can DO IT ALL. OK no, never mind. We can. Press this button).
Anyway, this is all to say that I had a basic “talk” with my 9- and 11-year-old girls. They know the man has to insert his Buzz into the woman’s vagina (they know it’s a penis, but earlier that evening, the boy needed to pee. He referred to the action as “Buzz” because he was wearing Buzz Lightyear underwear. Shut up, he’s two! Therefore, because it is funny, and limits our use of penis, penises shall now be referred to as “Buzz”. I’M CREATING FAMILY MEMORIES, NOT MISINFORMATION, SHUT UP!).
We talked about how protection is key, about knowing our bodies, about yeast infections, and accidental/unwanted pregnancy. Yes, my husband walked in as we were moving on to condoms, but we have health insurance. I can get him pills to deal with the fact that he walked in as I was holding squash and maybe/MAYBE NOT showing the 11-year-old what the health teacher was going to show her about using condoms. This is why I was unable to participate in The Suniverse and The Bearded Iris’ Craft Whore project. I had to throw that squash away. It was tinged with ungoodness (and a face. I’d given it a face. It was going to be inserted into the vaginal avocado I’d created. I threw that away too. Pity. Ohh, wait. I may be able to Instagram it).
Sure, I probably went waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay beyond what the nine-year-old knows or can comprehend right now, but toward the end of our discussion I was focusing on the 11-year-old anyway. Seventh grade is when I saw the herpes video at school. THAT SHIT SCARRED ME. I still remember it rather vividly. (I hope they show that or something similar. Scar her! Scare her! Make her want to hide her preshus away!). You never know how you’ll feel about sex ed until you have a child in sex ed.
I was proud of this night. I talked to them openly, like a simultaneous teacher and friend. I gave them facts and statistics, but I also was open to their questions (and their laughter because urination, in the right context, IS FUNNY!). I think I’d been avoiding having the one-on-one with my oldest because, well, she’s my oldest. The first. The one with more boob than me, and the Internet, and knowledge at her fingertips. GOOGLE! All I had was the determination to not tell her hickeys give neck cancer.
But this night? This night I saw that she has me, and I have her, and her sister has us both. Together, we will make it through puberty. Also? With two older sisters and me? The boy is so fucked.