Now that Spawn is 10, we are approaching the day when we have The Talk. You know, The Talk. Birds and bees.
I’ve never really understood the whole “birds-and-bees” euphemism, mostly because it seems that it should explain that birds and bees somehow Do It with one another, and would that not be a sci-fi horror movie? Birds with stingers?
You might chastise me for not addressing the birds/bees issue well before now, and other than a few very gender-specific discussions aimed at thwarting predation, the issue hasn’t been so much me as it’s been Spawn’s readiness. The maturity level is just not there. Spawn understands the whole sperm-and-egg process, and has a vague notion that the act of bringing another living creature into the world most likely involves some discomfort. To which I say, thanks, Discovery Channel. What we have not discussed with Spawn is the very act, the mechanics of how that sperm and egg meet. Because, trust me on this, right now the opposite sex is rife with cooties and that would quite possibly break the kid’s brain.
Spawn’s a lot like I was at that age. When my mother had The Talk with me, my singular response was, “that’s gross!” I was determined not to participate in any of it. And I didn’t, not for a very, very long time, long past when my peers were working out the logistics on their own. As luck would have it, my hormones finally kicked in and here I am, married and a mom. And now it is my turn to pass along the benefit of my knowledge.
Still, there are the questions, which tend to pop up when we’re in the car. Kids seem to know that confinement in a car creates a captive audience, and usually that’s when we have discussions. It helps not to have to make eye contact.
“Mom? Some kids at school are calling C a name and I don’t want to say what it is.”
“Okay, what does this word start with?”
“Yeah, what does that even mean? I mean, doesn’t it mean ‘happy’?”
(My first encounter with “what does ‘gay’ mean” happened in first grade. I’m surprised it took until fourth grade to surface in Spawn’s conversations.)
“Well, Spawn, it used to mean that a long time ago, and that’s still one of the definitions. But people don’t use it that way any more.”
“Oh. Well, I don’t get why it’s a bad thing to say to someone.”
(I should also point out that one of Spawn’s cousins is gay. We haven’t covered that topic, yet, either. Boys and girls kissing is gross enough.)
“Hm. Well, that’s one of those things that’s really personal stuff and it’s nobody’s business. And it’s also not nice to tease someone by calling them a name.”
I don’t think I really solved anything. And I’m pretty sure the Catholic Church won’t think I’m doing my soul any favors by not condemning the lifestyle, flat-out. What can I say? It’s hard to undo 40+ years of liberal Protestantism.