Friday, April 8, 2016

Family living class

"I have never heard anyone say 'vagina' so many times in one hour!"

So begins my 5th-grade son's dinner-table recount of his first Family Living class. (By the way, since I was a 5th grader I have giggled at this colloquialism for sex ed lite. What the heck does it mean, really?)

"And we talked about arm pit hair and how boys get all...um, excited... easier," he continues. I don't even know what he means by that last bit nor where to take the conversation from there, so I just keep spooning rice pilaf  into my mouth and let him continue. "It was mostly vagina, vagina, vagina. She said BABIES come out of vaginas, Mom... but I know I didn't."

Such confidence! It's true that neither of my kids came out of a vagina -- they were C-section births -- but I'm not entirely sure if his statement is motivated by personal history or denial of the entire how-babies-come-out story. But mostly I'm giggling and fighting the urge to tell him we really found him hatching from a giant alien meteorite in the park. I sense Honey fighting this same urge. 

Quite suddenly I realize the wide-eyed, anxious, very smart kindergartener is staring right in my face, hanging on every word. So I probably should tread lightly through this minefield, keep the jokes to myself. (Can you imagine that call from the school guidance counselor? Babies come from meteorites! And now all the 5-year-olds are asking very difficult questions!) Uh oh. 

Here's where my head is at this very moment, as I struggle with my giggle urge: Be cool, Mom. Don't shut this down, Mom. This is the relationship you want to have with your boys, to be able to talk about anything and everything honestly and openly. Don't mess it up with dumb jokes!

But also I don't really want my 5-year-old to know all about the birds and the bees just now. It's bad enough he already knows most of the major swear words. Can't we keep some things mysterious for a little while longer?

So I'm reeling a bit in my clumsy, fumbling where's-the-mom-manual way. I don't know what to do. Then I hear a voice from the opposite side of the table, humming a slow, low tune. It sounds like an anthem, actually, but I can't place it...until I tune in my ears and realize it's Honey singing the word "vagina" repeatedly to the tune of the Flight of the Valkyries.

I laugh so hard I spit rice pilaf. 

Then a tiny 5-year-old voice to my left chirps up: "Oh man, Happy, I can't wait until you learn about penises!"

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