You know how people like to end their fortune cookies with “in bed”? That’s fun. Gus and I made up, “with a shovel in a mass grave,” to end our fortunes and that was funner. “You will overcome a great challenge (with a shovel in a mass grave.)” But we’ve got a better one now.
I’ve answered every single embarrassing question Ellie has ever asked, tailored to her age at the time. My own mother was born in the 1940s and refused to tell me what “gay” meant. (A phrase I learned from watching Police Academy, which she had no problem with me watching over and over, oddly.) A childhood friend, aged around eight, was shut in her room for an entire day for asking if her mother had ever given a blowjob. She didn’t know what it meant, but she knew then it was shameful. My mother once threw shoes at me, a very uncharacteristic act of anger, because she found a Playgirl I’d borrowed from my sister. My sexual curiousity hurt her. She thought it tainted me.
Sex makes people crazy.
So when my turn came to guide my daughter into a sex saturated world, I said, “Screw that. Sex is going to be no different than talking about the atom bombings or the Donner Party. An interesting but sensitive slice of life worthy of thought.”
Of course I had a lot of lofty parental ideals. Wooden toys only! No television! FRUIT IS NATURE’S CANDY!!! Yeah I fucked all those up. And continue to. Just…awful. My parenting in general, is a dumpster fire.
But I’m nothing-but-netting this sex stuff. I read long ago that when a child asks a question, just give them enough information. The question: Where do babies come from? at 3 years old. The answer is “Mama grows them in her belly.” Usually they’ll be satisfied with that because little brains have not yet learned to follow the rope backwards to the previous bolt in the rock, “How did it get there?” The answer, when asked at age 4, is “Daddy helped me make it.” And so forth.
Opportunities are everywhere. The question, “Why does a bull charge a red cape?” led, through an absolute roller coaster of questions and curves, to the production of sperm in the testicles. A dog in heat was the spring board for your period, and showing her the stuff used to control it. (Gus stood peeking around the bathroom door for this one.)
“Do you need a lesson on feminine hygiene, dear?” I asked, pushing and withdrawing the plastic applicator of a silky green tampon into my loosely closed fist as a demonstration.
Yes. “….I don’t know all that much,” Gus whispered. He’s a man of infinite curiosity and somethings you can’t learn from the internet. Or rather you could but you really ought not try. Or at least put the safe search on.
I thought sex was dark, shameful and forbidden until I met Gus, who has the healthiest sexual attitude I’ve ever seen. Just happy and natural to him. I contracted this condition from him, and the both of us infected our whole house. So my daughter has grown a wide, healthy base of truthful sexual knowledge appropriate for her age. Not the kind that needs to be whispered on the playground or buried under a mattress. Sex is sex. Big whoop.
My daughter, now eight, recently reacted with disgust to catching us in a deep kiss, “Oh gross! Why are you being sexy?? Don’t you know there are children here? You shouldn’t be sexy!” And my husband’s love for shocking humor outweighed his squeamishness.
“Hey. Hey LE. How exactly do you think YOU got here?” he asked.
“Yes. But first,” he motioned back and forth between he and I, “me and mommy had sex.”
Wow. She did not take that well. On some level she must have known but to hear it…she split the night with her screams.
“NOOOOO!!!! You FREEEAAAAAKS! You WEIRDOS!!! NOOOOO!!!”
I was laughing to the point of muscle spasms. Every time she calmed down Gus would say, “Hey, LE, you know why you’re able to ride your bike so well? Because we had sex!” SCREECH. Repeat.
So that will be the end of every fortune cookie our children ever have. We will say it so much they will be mentally filling it in long after we’re gone.
“You will meet an interesting stranger.” (Because we had sex!)
“You will go on an important journey.” (Because we had sex!)
“You are well liked by all who meet you.” ( BECAUSE YOUR MOTHER AND I HAD SEX!!!)