I’m pretty open with my kids about their bodies. Even though my oldest is 8, We use medical terms – vagina, penis, period – and I don’t hesitate when my kids ask questions about bodies, boys, babies.
Cleaning up this morning, I found some pages ripped out of my 8 yo’s notebook.
For the most part, it was pretty 3rd grade: be my friend/ I like you/ just call me your boyfriend…. and on like this. And I thought, “That’s cute. She’s got a little crush.”
Then on it went:
Boy: Just say boyfriend then you’re my girlfriend.
Girl: We’re going to kiss? EEWWW!
Boy: NO. We’re just boyfriend and girlfriend.
Girl: Oh, we are going to sex?
Boy: Whatever you want us to do. I simply don’t care.
Girl: Okay, we are going to sex, kiss, have kids, and have each other forever.
Fine. FINE?! WHAT THE BLOODY FUCK!??!?
You have got to be kidding me. ARE YOU FOR REAL??? After reading this note EIGHT HUNDRED TIMES I realized something: This wasn’t my little girl getting harassed by some kid… SHE WAS THE AGGRESSOR! SHE was the one who brought up sex, not homeboy. He seemed totally uninterested. I’m not going to lie: This made me question every sexual relationship I ever had to this point…. (my self-confidence is taking a beating lately).
So, I started the investigation. WHO IS THIS FUCKING KID?! The note itself only had his initials so I ask the after-school supervisor who has those initials. She said no one in the program does. That sucks because the program has like 20 boys and her school has like 1000. How am I going to get this sorted??
I picked up the kids from the program a little late – I was preoccupied with this damn note – and we were on our way to get their hair cut when I asked, “Who is FM?”
“FM. FM. Who is FM??”
“I don’t know. FM who?”
Now, my intention was to stay cool. I was going to be the coolest cat on the planet.
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN ‘FM WHO’??!?”
And that was it. I lost my shit. I was able to regain myself a couple minutes after the yelling had stopped. She was looking at me like I was a nut. My other 2 kids that were in the car with me were shocked to say the least. I didn’t mean to be nuts and I absolutely apologized to them all. But shit man! She’s only 8 years old! WHERE IS SHE PICKING THIS SHIT UP FROM?
You may consider me a little more liberal with my kids. I’m not a helicopter mom at the playground, I let my kids stay the night at their friends’ houses, and when they meet new people at the park, I encourage them to play together. My 8 yo is also smarter than a lot of kids. She reads at a 7th grade level, she’s doing prelim algebra, and she’s in the school’s gifted program. Because she understands faster, I give her more things that challenge her specifically like harder games, more complex movies and books, and I expose her to more grown-up things like how to balance your checkbook and planning to support her personal needs (like packing her own shit when we go camping, etc).
While I’m calming down, I think back every fucking little thing that I have ever exposed to her. EVERYTHING. Did I teach her that sex was nonchalant or that is was common a joke? WHAT?
Now, I’m totally freaking out. Is this my fault?
After a couple minutes, I calmed down and spoke with her the best way I can.
“Where did you hear that sex was the way?”
“Everyone says it is. When you have a boyfriend, you sex.”
“Everyone says that?”
Damn public schools.
“What do you think sex is?”
She looked at me. That’s when I figured it out. She had NO IDEA of what sex was or what it’s purpose was. “It’s when you kiss naked in a bed.”
“It’s something that is shared between two people – not just anybody.”
“Like your boyfriend?”
“Not always. You share it with someone who you truly love more than yourself; The love of your life. It’s not to share with just any ol’ person. It’s with someone who is truly and really exemplary. It’s the most special thing you can do with someone to show that you love them more than you love yourself.”
“But I love myself a lot. Does that mean I never have to sex?”
“You don’t have to sex ever.” I looked right at her. “EVER.”
She seemed a little relieved. Almost like she was thinking that she had to ‘sex’ everyone that she met. I was relieved too! She wasn’t trying to get into anyone’s pants; she was just imitating what she thought grown-ups did. I still have follow-up things to continue in this conversation, but I am so glad to have started it.
It’s not the easiest conversation; it’s embarrassing and awkward. But you have to talk to your kids. Don’t let them learn about sex from the kids at their school, no matter what the age. Those kids don’t know the real story either.