Wednesday, January 25, 2012

That S-word.

The Princess (my 5-year-old daughter) has been exhibiting some curiosity about some things. You might remember this post, where I employed classic distraction techniques to smoothly avoid the "how are babies made" question.

Folks? It's getting worse. I blame TV. And school. And billboards. And music.

Awhile back she heard and retained the word "sex" from somewhere. She asked what it was. I reached into my vast mental catalog of parenting wisdom and tried to be "honest but age-appropriate" and "literal" and "tell her the truth but no more than she's explicitly asking for." Ummm. So I told her that when a man and a woman love each other and get married (yeah, that's right), sex is a special way for them to show their love, kind of like hugging and kissing but different, and more private, and it's only for grownups.

Her reply: "Is that when grownups take off their clothes and kiss NAKED?"


"What? Where did you hear that?"

"Mom. I saw it on TV one time."

Look, we are not watching HBO with her or anything, and we're actually very careful about what she watches. But yeah, I guess, really, scenes like that, or scenes which are clearly leading up to that, appear almost everywhere these days, right? The word sex and images relating to it are rampant in our society. And my little girl? She's smart. She's very, very observant, and very, very verbal. She gets what words mean and uses context clues to fill in the holes. She associates words with images and actions and she puts it all together.

So, yes. I told her the truth. "Yes. It involves two grownups who are in love and married taking their clothes off."


And that was the end of that.

Until yesterday.

"Mom? Remember that s-word, the one that's private and not for kids to say?"

" mean sex?"


"What about it?"

"What IS that? I mean what do grownups DO when they do sex?"



"Why do you want to know this?"

"I don't know. I just want to know."

"Was somebody talking about it to you?"

"No. Well, Freddy in my class has been singing a song with that word in it."

"What song?"

"I'm not supposed to say that word! It's not for kids!"

"It's ok to say it to me. You can say it and I won't be mad. How does the song go?"

She eyed me suspiciously for a moment and then rolled her eyes and said, "I'm sexy and I know it. You MADE me say it!"

"Oh. Ok. I know that song. But why did that make you ask me these questions?"

"I just remembered that word and I remembered you told me it was private and something grownups do but I don't understand what they DO."

"Maybe you don't need to understand what they do just yet."

"Mom. Just tell me, ok?"

Sigh. Honestly? I felt we'd reached the point of no return. I don't want to give her the idea that sex is dirty or shameful. I also don't want to wait until the porn-saturated society she lives in fills her head with ideas about sex. I want her first impressions of sex to come from me, so she can remember it as a normal, natural, beautiful thing that is waiting for her to enjoy when she grows up. 

I think back to history and realize that 100, 200 years ago? Kids knew all about sex. They saw animals do it. They shared bedrooms with their parents. It was part of life. 

Today our kids are insulated from these "normal" aspects of sex, but overly exposed to commercialization and exploitative images of sex; raunchiness becomes their framework for what is normal. Sex isn't what I don't want her to be exposed to; it's the corruption and cheapening of it that happens in our culture. 

So I believe it's my job to normalize it and set a foundation that might help to combat the information she's going to come up against as she grows up.


I told her.

I told her exactly what happens, in the simplest and most basic terms. When she asked "why" anybody would EVER do something like that, I told her that it's how God designed us, and how we make babies (which then led to a brief explanation of "eggs" and "seeds"), and yes, I told her we do it because it feels nice.

She asked if I'd ever done that with her father. I said yes. "When?" she asked. I hesitated. "For sure before you and Monster were born, of course." 

"No, I mean when? At night when I'm asleep?"

"Oh. Well, yes." 

"In your BED?"

"Yes..." Now, I admit, I'm starting to feel weird about this line of questioning.


And then she was satisfied, and the conversation was over. 

And I felt a little sad that my baby has reached this moment in her life. And a little apprehensive that maybe she really is too young to know these things. But mostly I felt relieved, and a little proud. I felt like I'd handled it the way I always wanted to handle it. Calmly, rationally, with no shame or guilt or embarrassment. I stressed that it's for grownups, and it's private, and she doesn't need to talk to anybody else about it and if somebody tries to talk to HER about it, she should tell me.  But that she can always come to Mommy and ask questions, and I will always answer them.

What do you think? How old were your kids when you told them the facts of life? And did I do ok??

Linking up today with Yeah Write #41 (formerly LoveLinks)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I've been duped into making a new year's resolution.

In a post-Christmas daze, the O.G. and I made two rather ambitious purchases:

1. Xbox Kinect.

This was ostensibly for the Princess, who does love to play Fruit Ninja, wherein she can jump and flail and karate chop like a maniac, splattering digital fruit all over the television screen, and Kinectimals, wherein she can befriend, train, pet, and play with a digital tiger or bear cub.

His name is Nemo.

This is all well and good. But then I went and bought Dance Central 2, because I'd been told it was "fun."  This is a direct quote.

2. An elliptical.

Now. I should clarify that my husband bought the elliptical. For himself. Some kind of get-in-shape New Year's resolution or something. I made no such resolution. I never made any promises to work out on said elliptical, or to refrain from sitting on the couch eating ice cream and watching The Bachelor in my Snuggie while he works out on said elliptical. These terms were understood by all parties prior to the purchase of the elliptical.

But then I went and bought Dance Central 2. Because I'd been told. It was fun.

And somehow Dance Central 2 became some kind of weapon between us. He would get up off the couch and announce he was going to "work out," and look pointedly at my unopened Dance Central 2 box.

"What?" I'd say. "I don't feel like playing that right now. The Bachelor is on."

"You bought it, you'd better play it."

"I will! When I'm in the mood."

"You don't see me saying I'm not in the mood for the elliptical, do you?"

"What? Shut up and go work out. I'll play the stupid game. I promise."

What's his problem? How are the elliptical and Dance Central 2 even related? I mean, he bought that thing to get in shape. I bought mine because it's a game. Because I was told it was fun. What's with the pressure and the guilt?

After a few nights of this routine, I put Dance Central 2 in the Xbox and got myself ready for some fun. I did two songs. It was slow going. I'm not a Fly Girl, ok? I'm just a 30-year-old white mother of two with an Xbox Kinect. I own a Snuggie. And I use it. Often. I am not up for any hip hop awards. OK?

But I went through the step-by-step tutorial modes, learning the moves one at a time, then dancing the songs to the best of my ability. It felt...familiar. Kind I'd done this before. Oh, the top 40 soundtrack was new, the hip cartoon street dancers were new.

I'm looking at you, white girl. You call those moves? 

But the basic experience...

Holy. Crap.

I'm doing a freaking aerobics video. 

And I promised to keep doing it.  Regularly.

What just happened??

Now linking up with Lovelinks #40.

Now a prize-winning post, due to my fabulous comments and the (totally respectful) way I smacked down my own mother in said comments:

Friday, January 6, 2012

Why Chicks Dig Hockey

1. Hockey players are gentlemen. No, I'm serious. Non-fans have the impression that hockey is, as Ilana from Mommy Shorts put it to me recently, "known for ugliness and low blows." As a hockey fan, I don't see that at all!

The truth is fighting is a part of the game, and it's done according to an unwritten code. Nobody's a victim here. These are two grown men who know what sport they're playing, and hockey fights are fully mutual (and closely refereed). The normal gameplay of hockey is intensely physical and fights are a natural extension of that.

This is a rough, physical game, a game coursing with full-on testosterone, and fights generally serve a purpose. Guys fight to avenge a foul, defend a wronged teammate, intimidate or rattle the other team, or just get their own team's blood pumping and the guys riled up. It takes energy to play this game for 60 minutes, maybe more than any other sport. The fights keep that energy going.

2. Hockey is exciting. It's fast-paced, it's constant action, it never stops. Not like those stupid lumbering football players with their one. play. at. a. time. And don't even get me started on baseball. Basketball is ok in this regard but it's still no hockey.

3. Hockey is beautiful. It is! Come on, girls. First of all, it's done in a nicely chilled room, so while they definitely sweat, it's not that hot baked-on stinky sweat that other sports cause. Plus, we love ice skating, right? It's elegant, it's graceful. Look at these guys on the ice. They fly. They're like figure skaters if figure skaters were burly men with five o'clock shadows and black eyes.

4. Hockey players love the game. I'm not much of a football, basketball, or baseball fan, but it seems like every time I turn around some big athlete is getting blasted by the press for his ego, his greed, his generally bad behavior. Sportswriters lament the players' loss of the "love of the game" when they start making their millions and gathering their entourages. It becomes a business, and they become celebrities. 

You don't see that as much in hockey. I don't mean you don't see it at all, but it doesn't seem to be the focus as much as it is in other sports. There's a certain humility about these guys that seems to get lost in other athletes. When you watch a hockey game you have a real feeling that these guys are having fun. Yeah, they're doing a job, and yeah, most of them are being paid, well, a lot more than I am. But man do they enjoy every minute of it.

5. Hockey is sexy. Ahem. These are men out there, ladies. Big, strong, rough and tough men. They carry around big sticks and knock each other around. They're fast and muscular and they often look like they haven't shaved all week. They get in fights and punch each other in the well-defined, sturdy jaw without ever losing their rakish grins. They're boyish and they're manly and if it were up to you to repopulate the earth with strong, healthy babies and you had to choose the best breeding stock out there, let's face it, you'd choose a hockey player.

Brent Burns. *sigh*

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Do the Dew. Unless you don't want to dissolve from the inside out. I'm on the fence.

So. I'm innocently surfing Twitter and the lovely Alyssa Milano tweets this:

Look, I've read all the stories about putting a tooth in a cup of Coke and it disappears in 48 hours or whatever. I get it. Soda is battery acid. Whatevs. My problem with this story is the marketing.

In short: Guy claims to have found a mouse in his Mountain Dew, wants some cash from Pepsi to compensate him for the trauma. And we're not talking millions, here. He wants $50,000, you guys. That's all he's asking. Peanuts.

Still, Pepsi doesn't want to admit defeat and lose $50,000 if there really was no mouse, right? No. They want to prove there was no mouse. And don't worry! Pepsi and their multimillion dollar PR team have got this one, y'all. Oh man, this is so good. This guy thinks he can mess with Pepsi? Oh no he didn't. So they gather all their marketing gurus and Harvard lawyers and prepare the following water-tight defense:
"Nuh-UH! A mouse would dissolve instantly in Mountain Dew! Animal flesh and bone cannot even HANDLE the Dew; animal flesh and bone exposed to the Dew would turn into jelly in a matter of weeks. So we submit that there is no way you found a recognizable mouse in that can! Oh, SNAP." [high fives all around]

Come on, Pepsi. Help a girl out. I've stuck with you through the High-Fructose Corn Syrup scandal, the "Mountain Dew causes infertility" rumors. I'm addicted committed to your fine bubbly neon yellow hyper-caffeinated beverage and I'm really trying to stick with it. I want to keep Doing the Dew. I'm giving it all I've got here but you've gotta throw me a bone.

I'm thinking maybe...maybe...a better approach would've been, "Oh, dude. A mouse? Gross. We are so sorry. That was a freak factory accident; that never happens. Here's your 50K. And a lifetime supply of delicious, non-mouse-containing, nontoxic, noncorrosive Mountain Dew! Have a nice day."

This is why Pepsi should pay me a lot of money to do their marketing.