The Birds and the Bees Part 2

So the other day, we were having dinner when Tornado S popped up with some news.

Tornado S: I learned the sign language sign for penis!

Me: Oh? And what is it?

Tornado S made the gesture. It was not the sign for penis. In fact, it was a sign for a sexual act. One so taboo that most people don’t do it often.

Me: That’s not the sign for penis, sweetheart. Where did you learn that?

Right away Tornado S sensed something was wrong and clammed up.

Me: I would like to know where you learned that.

He shook his head.

Me: No dessert then.

Tornado S: Fine.

Me: No video games either.

Tornado S: NO!

Me: Then just tell me where you learned it. No one will get in trouble.

But it was no use.

After a day went by, I realized I had to try a different strategy. But I also needed to move up The Talk by a month because I couldn’t have Tornado S repeating the gesture.

Me: Tornado S, do you know what that sign means?

Tornado S: No. Tell me.

Me: Tell me who showed you.

Tornado S: No.

Me: (sigh) Fine. But I’ll have to contact your teacher, your den leader, and your sensei.

Tornado S: No! Why?!

Me: Because the gesture you used is a grown up gesture that is so taboo that most people don’t use it. Nana has never seen it. Papi has seen it a couple of times. (Though I thought that was weird from a cop.) The adults around you need to know that other children may be using the sign without knowing what it means, and their parents need to know to help teach their kids what it means.

Tornado S: (whispering) I learned it at school.

Me: When?

Tornado S: During the Valentine’s Party.

So it was a while ago.

Me: From who?

He was silent.

Me: Fine. Do you want to know what it means?

Tornado S: Yes.

Me: Well, first we have to talk about puberty and sexual intercourse.

So we had The Talk. When it was time to generically explain the sex act, Tornado E was walking by, so I pulled him to the room and explained what a sex act was and that the gesture was a sex act on a woman. I showed them a diagram of a woman’s sexual organs. Tornado E nodded and left the room.

Tornado S hid under my ultra soft through for twenty minutes refusing to get out or talk.

I took pictures.



The Birds and the Bees Part 1

I had my first Talk when I was in fourth grade. I brought home a letter for my parents, stating that in a couple of weeks we would be starting a unit on puberty and reproduction and parents could opt out.

My mother didn’t. Instead she marched me to the library and mortified me by asking me about where books on puberty and sex were kept. She checked out a few, read them, and then gave me The Talk, using the books for aids. God, how embarrassing.

Then it got worse because then we had the unit. In fourth grade. In fifth grade. In sixth grade. In seventh grade. And in eighth grade. Each year the lessons added more detail. Each year my mother would give me The Talk. In eighth grade, they pulled us out of our classes for two days to tell us, “sure, here are other birth controls, but do you know which one works the best? Abstinence!” The percentages of effectiveness were all wrong, but I don’t think another Catholic kid was armed as much as our class was.

Then Tornado E was in fourth grade, and I realized we needed to have The Talk. Over at his dad’s house, he was hanging out with slightly older boys who loved Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty. I knew I had to beat the bad influences to the punch.

So one spring Saturday morning, I gave Tornado E The Talk. Without books, because our library didn’t have any. I found it much harder than when I would talk about human sexuality to other people. Hell, I gave The Talk at 18 to another 18 year old, whose parents never gave him The Talk. I stood in front of a class of 35 college students discussing the mating rituals of humans. But this. God, this was hard.

After The Talk, I asked Tornado E if he had any questions. He shook his head. Then he sat there thinking.

Tornado E: That was the most boring and interesting 5 minutes of my life.

Pause. Thinking.

Tornado E: Now I know what all those jokes are about in The Big Bang Theory.


Marriage Talk and Divorce Talk

As we ate dinner, we were listening to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis song “Same Love.”  I really like the song, and I think the boys should be exposed to good music and good causes.

Tornado E: Mommy,why do you like this song?

Is this the time to talk about this?  Should he know?  But then he’s already exposed to Ron Paul beating up Obama and Obama is against the military.  Thank you socialization at school and ill-informed parents.

So yes.

Me: Because it’s beautiful.  It celebrates all love and equality for everyone.

Tornado E: Boys marry girls.  But boys marry boys?  Eww.

Me: Why?

Tornado E: It’s gross.

Me: Love is not gross.  If it is real, healthy love, it’s beautiful.  Love is God.  If two boys love each other, then they should be able to get married if they want.  Or have a family if they want.

Tornado E: I don’t know.  I don’t think I want to marry a boy.

Me: You don’t have to.  You can marry whoever you fall in love with as long as it’s real love.  Everyone should be able to.

Tornado E: I still don’t want to love a boy.

Me: (laughing) Then fall in love with a girl.

Tornado S: I love everyone in the whole world!

Me: Good job, Tornado S.  We should love everyone.  Right now, we’re talking about a love that makes people want to marry.  Like Nana and Papi.

Tornado E: Why didn’t you say you and Daddy?

And we have found a dangerous path.

Me: Because Daddy and I aren’t married any more.

Tornado S: You should get married then!

Me: We were.  But now we are not.

Tornado E: Why?

Why?  The question that worries me.  They deserve the Truth.  But when they are ready.  Because it is their story too.  But they are too young to understand the mistakes, the issues, the choices, the stupidity of it all.  The things that are a war on marriage, more damaging than two men or two women getting married.  No one’s marriage destroyed my own.  He and I did it.  While he dealt the fatal blow, I helped tear it down too.  But a 7 year-old, a 5 year-old, and a 2 year-old do not need to know all that.  They do not need a white lie either.  They don’t need to hear the bs excuse of “we fell out of love” or “we are too different of people.”  Honestly.

I took a deep breath.

Me: It’s complicated.  It’s very complex, so you’ll have to wait until you’re older for a full answer.  But basically, we made mistakes.  Some people didn’t want to change.  (Ok, I didn’t say I would give the perfect answer.  Damn.)  But no matter what, your daddy and I love you boys very much.  More than we can say.  You are more important than anything else in this world.  (I looked each of them in the eyes.)  I love you.  You are wonderful boys.

Tornado E nodded.

Tornado S: Can we have dessert now?  I ate all my food.

Thin mints!  Chocolate!  That’s what we need!

I needed lots of chocolate.  Because as far as complicated, complex, oh-man-being-a-parent-is-so-hard talks, this didn’t go so badly.

It’s the first one in a long run of them, isn’t it?