Sunday, November 27, 2005

Rhymes with

My dad and I had our first talk about sex in a Chinese restaurant. I was about 23, I think. I had been dating D for a while and the conversation amounted to my dad making sure that I knew about AIDS. "You know about AIDS, right?" That was pretty much the whole thing.

The other night, Aunt Jaq, E, K and I were sitting around getting ready to watch Episode III. (We've watched the whole series in about 10 days and it's been a blast to see my kids totally mesmerized by the epic story of good and evil, right and wrong...ok another post.) We were talking about something and K asks me, out of the blue, "Have you heard of d*** (the slang word for the male organ that rhymes with rick) ?" I felt like the wind had just gotten knocked out of me. I stammered, "Huh?" She said, "You know, d***" and said it again. I just about jumped up and tried to cover her mouth with my hand. Aunt Jaq left the room bursting in laughter.

I then proceeded to talk to K just a bit about how we don't use that word, its a bad word, like bathroom talk and like using God's name in vain, a dirty word. I asked her where she learned that word and she said two boys at school told her about it. (I always tell my girls to stay away from boys.) It was a good conversation though, I was very calm and collected, and therefore, it was just a conversation. K didn't feel like she was in trouble at all - and she wasn't. She simply didn't know any better. Aunt Jaq later said she didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

And that is the essence isn't it? An innocent eight year old girl learns the slang name of a male organ. It is kind of sad. But on the other hand, it's maybe not so surprising.

I think two things from this:
First, I think its time for the first of a series of sex talks with K. The first because I think she is old enough to learn about the basics of human anatomy. (Of course, D will have to weigh in on this too.) A series because I think we will need to revisit the subject a few different times at different ages.
Second, at some point, our kids are going to learn that bad word and a whole host of others. And maybe learn some bad habits and listen to some bad music and watch some bad movies. And maybe hang out with some kids that aren't so great. We can overprotect and when we do - and I mean OVERprotect - we will be doing our kids a disservice. Our challenge as parents is learning the fine balance of what is reasonable and what is not and protecting and teaching appropriately, critically and with engagement.

You parents of older kids, got any good advice?

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