Monday, January 30, 2012

Dinosaur S-E-X

We expected to have some follow-up questions regarding the whole Birds and Bees discussion, but I got a question I GUARANTEE none of you, dear readers, have had to face.

Medium is only six years old, but it just didn’t make any sense to explain, um, stuff to Large but not to Medium.  At least we know if WE explain to Medium, he’s getting all the correct information, as opposed to hearing it second hand from his big brother.  Given that his maturity level is at least two years behind his brother's, it’s not really surprising that he may have already forgotten some of what he’s been told.  Furthermore, his little six-year-old logic isn’t necessarily registering all the facts he has received.

Last weekend, he was busy making a mess craft out of paper, scissors, and yarn.  (This is the child who got his very own tape dispenser for his birthday last year, and was excited about it.)  He was making a dinosaur necklace.  Everyone should have one; it’s the fashion accessory of the season.  It was all perfectly innocuous, until . . .

Medium:  Mom, how did dinosaurs have babies?

Me:  Uhhhh . . . (insert nervous laughter here, a la Beavis and Butthead.)

Medium:  Did they go to the doctor to have their babies out?

Me:  Remember what Daddy told you?  They laid eggs from their vaginas.

At least I’m assuming that’s how it happened.  Last time I watched Dinosaur Train, there was no Tiny Visits the Gynecologistosaurus episode.

Medium:  How did the eggs get in their bellies?

Me:  The same way human babies get in their mommies’ bellies.

Medium:  (whispering, with a startled look on his face)  You mean they put their vaginas and wieners together?

Me:  Um.  I guess. I wasn’t there.

Seriously?  Now we’re fielding questions about Dinosaur S-E-X?  I just know he’s going to ask me how they put their naughty parts together, and I’m going to have to show him barnyard porn on the world wide internets.  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Birds and the Bees: An Update

Well, we did it. 

And this time, when I say “we,” I mean Hubby. 

Last weekend, I was in the basement hiding out organizing when I heard insatiable laughter coming from upstairs.  I listened carefully and discovered that Hubby was telling the boys, ages 8 and 6, about the Birds and the Bees.

So I thought, I’ll go upstairs and join the conversation like a mature adult and prove to our offspring that we are a true partnership, husband and wife, co-parents in every sense of the word. 


Whew, that was funny.  Let me pause and wipe this tear from my eye! 

Um, no.  I thought aw hayl no.  I’m staying down here.

A while later, the boys came downstairs to see what I was doing, and I was sure I was going to be barraged with laughter, snickers, and possibly pointing fingers and hushed whispers.  At the very least, I thought they would look at me in disgust at the inhumanities they had just discovered their mother partakes in.

But no.  Not a peep. 

When I got the lowdown from Hubby, he said he explained it all in an age-appropriate manner -  he discussed how girls and boys are different, things that might be happening with their bodies in a few years, how exactly a male and female do the S-E-X, and all that scientific technical stuff about sperm and eggs and whatnot. 

A few nights later, as I was getting the boys ready for their bath, Large got the giggles.  Reminiscent of that scene from Kindergarten Cop, he said to me “boys have penises and girls have vaginas.”

“I know,” was all I could think of to say. 

Medium chimed in.  “Mom!” he said.  “Lean down.  I need to whisper you something.”

I leaned down and he whispered, “Daddy told us where babies come from.”

“That’s good,” I said, because I’m all good with the words when I’m nervous and/or uncomfortable. 

“Why is that good?” he asked, confused.

“Well, now you know,” was my response.  “And you don’t have to wonder any more.” 

So that was it.  Hubby reminded them that where-babies-come-from is not an appropriate topic of discussion on the bus, at school, at Cub Scouts, at basketball practice, etc.  Just as a courtesy, however, I did send an email to my neighbor whose son plays with Large, just in case they get any questions of the bird and bee variety.  It’s funny though . . . he hasn’t been over to play in a while.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Birds and the Bees

It’s time.

Our curious boys are starting to ask significant questions about babies and how they get in a mommy’s belly.

I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the need to tell an eight-year-old, who still believes in Santa, the Elf on the Shelf, and the Tooth Fairy, about the Birds and the Bees.

It used to be that they were curious about the differences between boys and girls.  Large once (at a packed movie theatre line in Manhattan, of course) reached up, touched my boob, and asked “why do you have these?”  Hubby told him, “everybody has them.  You have them.”  Large’s response?  “Not as big as Mommy’s!”  We explained that girls have them so that they can feed their babies when the time is right. 

I nursed all our kids, so eventually this all made sense to him.  Naturally, he was a little inquisitive when we brought Small home, but both Large and Medium seemed to accept the idea that Mommy was feeding the baby.  No big deal.

And as far as differences go, we have explained that when they go to a friend’s house for a sleepover and the friend has a sister, we wear pajamas, not just our skivvies, and act appropriately.  Just because we all pee with the door open around here (some of us by choice, and some of us because there is no friggin’ privacy anywhere in this house) doesn’t mean we do so in mixed company. 

Lately, however, the questions have been coming more frequently.  We want to keep those lines of communication open and we have told the boys that they should always ask us if they need an answer instead of discussing it on the bus or on the playground, etc., because Mommy and Daddy are always going to tell them the truth.

I’m afraid the time has come.  To tell them The Truth.

I’m persweaty already.

We fielded a lot of questions when I was pregnant with Small. 

  • How did the baby get in your belly?  Well, when Mommy and Daddy love each other and decide they want to have a baby, the Mommy gets pregnant.

  •  How come the babysitter doesn’t have a baby in her belly?  She’s not married. 

  • Uncle Justin’s not married and he has a baby.  Dammit, Justin!

  • How is the baby going to get out of your belly?  When the time is right, Mommy will go to the hospital and the doctor will get the baby out.

But recently we’ve been getting more detailed questions as their little brains process the logic behind all our previous answers.

  • Where’s your penis?  Girls and boys are different.  Girls don’t have penises.

  • Why do you have hair there?  Because I haven’t had time to get a wax.

  • Do Mommy dogs have babies?  Yes

  • Then how do their puppies get out of the dog's belly?  Um, they go to the Vet.

  • Do you have a baby in your belly?  Nope.  Just fat.  Thanks.

  • How come you don’t have a baby in your belly right now?  Our family is complete already.

  • How do mommies get babies in their belly?  Remember I told you?  When mommies and daddies love each other . . .

  • But don’t you always love Daddy?


We also discovered the other day that Large thinks the doctor gives Mommy a shot and then she gets pregnant.  Learned that one on the bus.

So I think it’s time to offer some clarification. 

Personally, I learned the details from a friend in 4th grade.  Her parents had sat her down and explained it all and I remember thinking that her parents must have thought she was mature enough to handle it.  I went home and asked my mom, but . . . crickets.

I was in high school before my mom left Ann Landers Talks to Teenagers About Sex on my bed.  Because when you think Sex, you think middle-aged-advice-columnist Ann Landers.  She had checked it out from the library.  I read it from cover to cover in one afternoon and took it back downstairs to my mom, who returned it the next day.  We never spoke of it again.  That was my complete lesson in sex education.  

I don’t want my boys learning from some kid on the bus who doesn’t have all the facts.  And I don’t want them learning from a teacher who is required to use technical terminology deemed appropriate by the public school system.

It is OUR responsibility.  I want to treat the boys with respect and help them realize they can ask us anything.  I’ve got to put my own issues aside.  I’ve told Hubby we either need to do it together or he needs to Man up.  (Because I know if we do Rock, Paper, Scissors I’m SO gonna lose.)

Stay tuned . . . this could get interesting.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Funerals 101: A Public Service Announcement

My college roomie, Polly, recently lost her father.  I emailed her last week and told her I wanted to take her to lunch.  She has taken some time off of work, so she was home alone, and I just knew that she was sitting on her couch, in her sweats, unshowered, and wallowing in her grief. 

And that’s okay. 

I know because I’ve been there.

During our lunch, (which Polly attended under duress when I basically showed up on her doorstep uninvited . . . that’s how I roll,) we started discussing funerals, death, grief, sympathy, and all sorts of *happy* topics. 

“I’m surprised at how disappointed I am in some people,” she confessed.  I knew exactly what she meant.

“People I thought for sure would show up at the viewing didn’t even send a card,” I told her, referring to my own mother’s passing six years ago. 

“You know how on the TODAY show they do that eat-this-not-that segment?  They point out that you might think you’ve been eating the right thing, but all along you’ve been eating crap.  That’s how I feel about some of my friendships.  I guess they weren’t what I thought they were.  Now I feel . . . “

“Betrayed,” I answered.  

Hey, I know that feeling!  I had a girlfriend whom I had known for a long time, (but with whom I had lost touch,) who told me years after my mother’s passing that she had read the obituary in the paper, and yet she had never acknowledged my mom’s death.  I had assumed she simply didn’t know; but she had known all along and hadn’t reached out to me.  We had a shared history of slumber parties and carpooling and general adolescence, and she knew my mom, and yet she ignored this monumental event in my life.

Polly and I decided there needs to be an etiquette lesson for death – kind of like for a wedding or birthday or anniversary, except much, much sadder and with less festive clothing.  

I present to you, on behalf of BoyMommy and her trusty sidekick, Polly:
A Brief Guide: Do’s and Don’ts for That Funeral You Don’t Want to Attend But You’re Gonna Because It’s the Right Thing to Do.

1.  Don’t say "I don’t do funerals."  Nobody does funerals.  Funerals suck.  They’re sad and you make your ugly-cry face, and you realize you forgot your tissues and you have to borrow from the granny sitting next to you who has them stuffed up the cuff of her sweater.  Even if you only speak to the grieving family for a brief moment, or even not at all . . . they will look at the guest book later and know that you were there.  I was so out of it on the day of my mother’s funeral, I couldn’t tell you who was there; but I can sure as hell tell you who wasn’t.

2.  Acknowledge the death.  Send a card.  Send a plant.  Send an email.  Just act like you got the memo that your friend is grieving.  When you find out about a death, unless the person specifies otherwise, tell mutual friends and colleagues.  It’s not a secret, and it’s not gossip.  It’s information that needs to travel quickly.  This removes some of the “burden” from the family and it helps alleviate awkwardness when the grieving person returns to work after an extended absence and colleagues ask how her vacation was.

3.  Don’t worry about saying the right/wrong thing.  Grief is heavy, man.  Words can’t fix it.  So don’t try to come up with some phrase that will make it all better because NOTHING you say can make it better.  Say “I’m sorry you’re hurting.”  Say “I’m thinking about you.”  
I don't own this picture.
Probably shoulda asked first . . . 
On the other hand, please don’t say “she/he’s in a better place.”  F*ck that.  I don’t care right now – I want my loved one here with me because I’m feeling selfish and sad and I’m thinking about how much my whole life just changed.  

[A little personal anecdote: as I was headed to the restroom before my mother’s service, a woman I didn’t know offered her condolences and then added, “it’s too bad she didn’t quit smoking earlier.”  Yes, my mom was a smoker and yes, she died of lung cancer, and maybe it IS too bad she didn’t quit earlier, but she didn’t deserve to get sick.  No one does. ]

4.  Remember that grief doesn’t end after all the funeral festivities are complete.  You may be returning to work and school and your normal life, but your friend is still deep in grief.  Call to check in every once in a while, because she’s sitting there wondering how can people be filling their cars up with gas and buying milk at the grocery store?  Don’t they know my entire world has fallen apart?

5.  Show a little sensitivity.  When she does finally return to work, don’t send an email that begins “Sorry for your loss.  Now I need you to complete task XYZ.”   Separate emails dude.  Separate emails.

6.  Remember that funerals are for the living.  Just because you didn’t know the deceased doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go to the funeral.  Funerals are a time for the grieving family and friends to be embraced by their community, and this community is made up of MANY people: family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, former classmates, friends of friends, neighbors . . . MANY. 

7.  Share fun memories of the deceased.  People often shy away from telling stories because they worry that it will make the survivor upset.  Guess what?  She’s already upset.  Recalling a positive experience helps her remember the life that was led before sickness arrived. 

8.  Make some sacrifices and set some priorities.  Funerals are never convenient.  They are not generally scheduled around your personal timeline.   SOME things are more important; the rest of your life (with some exceptions, of course) can be rescheduled.  I know you think no one will miss you if you don’t go.  Perhaps not – but it will be significant to the grieving family if you DO go.

Trust me, my peeps.  I know of what I speak.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Boy, the Ladies Man.

Large has a crush on a girl. 

How do I know this?  She’s ALL he talked about yesterday afternoon. 

As soon as he got off the bus yesterday he told me there is a new girl in his class.  She’s from Texas.  Then when Daddy called from work, Large told him about the new girl.  Before bed, he wrote her a note welcoming her to class and he taped two trading cards from Texas sports teams.  He got advice from Daddy on how he should word his note.

I’m not ready.

Large’s first friend was a girl, Anna.  Anna was born 10 days after Large was and they played “together” as toddlers do . . . meaning in the same room and with the same toys, but not necessarily with each other.  In first grade, Large had a “girlfriend,” Lexi.  She was his girlfriend because he said so, and that was it.  Both Large and Lexi have since moved on.

But now it seems like he really has a crush.  He’s eight! 

All of a sudden, I see his life flashing before me.  He was my sweet baby who cried all the friggin’ time.  We did the Mommy and Me Swim Lessons / Baby Sign Language / Gymboree classes.  He went to preschool, then Kindergarten, and already he’s in third grade . . . halfway through elementary school.  He’s more independent every day, (although if he’d get off his duff and pour his own milk I’d be a happy girl.) 

Soon he’ll really be into girls.  He’ll get all greasy and pimply and disgusting.  His clothes will start to stink.  He’ll start driving and taking algebra.  He’ll have hormones and he’ll develop urges.  He’ll graduate from high school atthetopofhisclassandgetabaseballscholarship and he’ll go to college.  He’s going to leave me.

Oh my God, I think I just passed out there for a second.

On the one hand, I realize that with every independent step they take, I’m getting a little bit of my own life back, but on the other, I know they’ll never need me as much as they do right now.  Every day they need me a little less.  I love that when Medium had a crappy day yesterday, he crawled into my lap for a snuggle and some comfort, because no one loves you like your mother does.  No one.  I want to be their lap forever. 

Remind me of this the next time they’re crawling all over me and I growl "for-the-love-o’-pete-git-off-me."  Remind me that I need to slow down every once in a while and let them need me, because it won't last forever.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Recent Experience with First World Problems

I live in the great Commonwealth of Virginia.  What’s the difference between a State and a Commonwealth?  I always thought it meant that if you live in a trailer with your significant other for eight years or more, you can enjoy all the rights and benefits of a legal marriage.  (If you’re straight, of course.  Cough, cough.  Wouldn’t want those Gays trampling on the sanctity of marriage set forth by the likes of Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian, and Sinead O’Connor.)

Anyway, what I’ve always loved about Virginia is that we have a little bit of everything.  We have beaches, mountains, farmland, college towns, suburbs, rivers, and Nascar.  Seriously, it’s the perfect place to live.  I’ve always prided myself on keepin’ it real; I like to joke that I bring a little bit o’ trailer park to the country club. . . . as evidenced by the stray toys on our lawn and my propensity for front-stoop drinking.

A few weeks ago I headed to the Northern Neck of Virginia for a funeral.  My college roomie, Polly, had lost her dad.  After much schedule-juggling and logistical planning, Hubby and I decided I would attend by myself and he would stay home with the kids.  Since he would need the Swagga Wagon with the car seats, I was forced to drive Hubby’s car, which I lovingly refer to as the Divorce Maker.

The Divorce Maker has many bells and whistles, which I find to be annoying.  First, a key should look like a key.  It should not be square and it should not be gently pushed into a square receptacle.  It should be . . . um  . .  . key-shaped and it should fit into a key hole.  Second, I need a lever or something in order to switch the vehicle from Park to Drive, etc.  Every time I try to put the Divorce Maker in Park, I end up washing the windows at a high rate of speed.  I gotta say though, I DO love that @ss-warmer.

The Divorce Maker has so much smarts, it signals the driver when gas is running low.  This is a useful feature if you pay attention to it.  I was in an area of the Northern Neck which prides itself on its ONE stoplight, so as you can imagine, the nearest gas station was, well, NOT near.  It was Northern Neck Near (10 miles,) not Northern Virginia Near (1/4 mile.)

Polly’s brother-in-law is known as Mark the Baptist.  Polly’s aunt, upon first meeting Mark the Baptist, told the following joke:  Do you know why Baptists don’t have sex standing up?

Wait for it . . .

Wait for it . . .

It might lead to dancing.

I was a little concerned that the Divorce Maker might be running low on gas.  It had said “28 miles to go,” and then “8 miles to go,” and then “5 miles to go.”

And then “--- miles to go.”


Wonder what that means?

Mark the Baptist decided it would be a good idea to follow me to the closest gas station, so he and Polly jumped in the car and we began our journey.

I pulled up in my Divorce Maker, and I was still dressed from the funeral.  Instead of my normal uniform of sweatpants and a ponytail, I was actually wearing stockings and boots, makeup, and I had hot-rolled my hair.  I thought Mr. Polly’s-Dad would appreciate a little grooming effort on my part.  I pumped my gas and ran in to the “Bird Dog Convenience Store” to buy a soda for my trip home.  Seriously, it was called The Bird Dog.

I sh*t you not, I was the ONLY person in that store who was not wearing camouflage.  I am not saying this to be funny or hyperbolic (look it up.)  I was literally the only person not dressed in camouflage from hat to boots. 

Naturally, when I got in line, I leaned over to the gentleman next to me and said, “I must not have gotten the memo about the dress code.”

Thank you!  Thank you!  I’ll be here all week!  Don’t forget to tip your waitresses!

But . . . . crickets.

“Oh honey, there ain’t no dress code,” he replied sincerely.

“Oh, I know.  I just meant because I’m the only one not dressed in camouflage.” 

More crickets.  Quieter crickets. 

Tough crowd.

And I leave you with Dawson crying over his First World Problems, also known as White Whine.  (Totally "borrowed" this from a site called