Thursday, September 1, 2011

If You Talk to My Little Kid About Sex, I Will Find You and Hurt You.

My eldest daughter recently turned six. Here's a conversation we had in the car the other day:

ME: Look at that lady, five kids, oooh that's too many.

KID: Maybe I won't have any kids.

ME: That would be sad. No Halloween costumes, no dance recitals, no summer camps?

KID: Well, whatever, Mom, it's not as if you get to get to CHOOSE how many kids you get.

Hmmm. This might have been what they call a "teachable moment." But hell if I was going to make my first delicate foray into Birds & Bees Land when the kid's ballet class was scheduled to start in eight minutes.

I am not of the "tell little kids blatant lies about sex" camp. Nor am I of the "show your toddler a medical textbook about copulation" camp. I am more of the "little kids should be given as little information as possible on a need-t0-know basis" camp. Hence my daughter's slightly inaccurate belief that babies just "happen" to a person.

Other still-preserved misconceptions of my daughter's: Babies come out of mommies' bellies through "zippers." You can thank my VERY CONVENIENT three-time C-section scar for this one. And another: Babies are born only to people who are married. Very "red state" of me to let this one stand, no?

But what can I say-- I want this kid to have a CHILDHOOD. A LOOOONG childhood. And an INNOCENT one. Ideally, one that is free from YouTube videos and sexual knowhow and pink feathers in her hair (I recently lost the battle on that one thanks to a friend's birthday party) (I now refer to it openly as her "stripper feather") (she doesn't know what a "stripper" is but I hope she gets from my tone that it's not a word typically associated with the Ivy League) (yes she DOES know what the Ivy League is, damnit!).

I know that the time is going to come when I kick myself for not educating the kid sooner. Like, when she comes home from school in panicked tears because some classmate on the playground told her that babies come out of vaginas and she's all traumatized and shit. (Then again, maybe this will go over her head, too-- I am really breaking from the pack here and still allowing my kids to use the adorable word "cooch" instead of the ugliest-word-in-the-world "vagina." Query, then, as to whether a schoolyard education would even faze her at all. Ha! Foiled again, sexually-well-informed childhood-stealers!)

Look, my (irrational?) fear about little kids' sex education is just like my (irrational?) fear of technology-- that once you let it in, it's a bell that can't be unrung, and it has the potential to change everything. Once my precocious little girl understands that a penis enters a vagina.... UGH I can just imagine the stunned look on her face when she hears those words, and I imagine that all of the color (read: INNOCENCE) will instantly drain out of her flushed cheeks. Not that sex is bad, of COURSE not... but it's just so completely incompatible with the notion of childhood. And with my 6-year-old *already* foregoing trips to the toy store in favor of trips to the shoe store, can you blame me for throwing my entire body weight against the door that GROWN-UP-ED-NESS is so forcefully trying to blow down? Is it wrong to want to shelter her from the adult world for as long as I responsibly can?

I'm a GO BIG OR GO HOME kind of person. Once I give the sex talk, I'm probably gonna give it to all my girls at once... and I'm probably gonna distribute birth control pills at the end of it. And in light of the fact that my youngest daughter is only three, perhaps you can understand why I'm stalling a bit.

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