Monday, August 21, 2006

Babies change your life

In about a zillion ways. Lots of people I know, some that I love, are having first or second babies. There's just really no way to understand how it changes your daily life, from day to day, or how it changes the person you are. Its not easy but it *is* beautiful.

Something that I learned fairly early is to recognize that with little ones, the set of challenges before you today won't be challenges for long. In six months, you'll get a whole new set of them. And you'll rise to the challenge as best you can, craft the right solution for the moment's circumstances and go on. That's part of why some aspects of Haley's development are so fascinating to me---she's always pushing the envelope of my parental experience. After all, I was never a Mommy till she came along. This is some serious on-the-job-training. And so it was, that last night.....

Haley asked me about SEX
Holyf*ckingsh*t. Haley is 8. EIGHT. EIGHT.

So this is what I'd learned about addressing these inevitable questions: Answer only the questions they ask---give a little info, check their understanding of it and see whether more info is needed. Let them be specific. Most of all, create an environment of openness and willingness to engage. Let me repeat:

Holyf*ckingsh*t.

So in my best "i'm-your-mommy-you-can-ask-me-anything" voice, I told her that it had to do with boy parts and girl parts, named them, waited while she dissolved in giggles. When she clearly needed more than the naming of the parts, I told her that you know, the parts would kind of, you know, be one inside the other, she dissolved in giggles again but then quickly asked how *I* got pregnant. It wasn't particularly hard, compared to delivering your firstborn at 10 pounds after 16 hours of labor, to say, "Honey, there's only one way to get pregnant. Your father and I had (and I stressed HAD) sex." Here's the good part: then she said, "Ohmygod, what did Daddy think when he HAD to put his (name of boy part) into your (name of girl part)?". I was a little offended by the question, actually. I mean, really; where was she going with that?

That round of conversation ended and I made up an excuse to go tell Rob he needed to buy me a REALLY big gift for our anniversary. Before going I told Haley that she could ask me about anything at any time. I also invited her to look up some of the stuff in her encyclopedia. She was keen on that. When I returned, she had become more focussed. She asked me to tell her how the boy part could get in the girl part; how the boy part could cause the pregnancy ( she actually asked how long the boy part had to stay in the girl part---I declined the opportunity to make a rude joke...) which led to much more comfortable discussions about sperm and eggs---i could totally handle that. We wrapped up that exchange and once again I invited her to continue to ask me questions at any time.

And so..... she did. She wanted to know how being married fit in with all this, she wanted to know about how lesbians fit into it. Oh, I tell you; it was far too much for late on a Sunday evening.

And just as Haley had asked the last of her questions, Anna said, "Mommy, I think I know another word for sex." Oh----did I forget to mention that Anna was in the room the whole time? and not knowing how to create a sense of openness while shooing everyone away and speaking behind my hand in whispers, I just talked. So the "other word for sex" turns out is "promiscuous". Just as a reminder, little Anna is SIX and she can barely spell Mommy but she can say promiscuous???? So then I got to distinguish the act of sex from the people who are rather indiscriminate about who/how/when they engage in it for my six and eight year old daughters.

Monday
Its another partial week at work. Today was mostly not well spent and a bit frustrating, somewhat painful. I have a pile of assignments to wrap up this week, at least one of which is going to take a lot of time and concentration, two things that seem most difficult to come by when I'm in my office. A substantial amount of work remains to wrap up final edits for a textbook chapter due to the publisher September 1. That happens outside of work time so I think its going to be not the most fun week I've ever had. Hey---I just figured out, maybe i should do the chapter edits at work and the other stuff at home at night to get the balance of conditions I need. Smart girl. I'm glad I figured that out.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my. Kids are so much more aware of what's going on around them then we ever were at such an early age. It sounds like you handled it very well though. I'm proud of you.

LYFE Donna

Drew said...

These are NOT the stories that I new dad likes to hear! 8 and 6! I'm not prepared for that at all at this point. Of course, despite handling it well, it doesn't sound like you were ready for it either.

The things I get to look forward to in the future...

Melissa said...

ummm... oh my... who needs a book for work, you can write a book on your kids!!! They are great, and apparently, always ready to shock their Mommy! I wonder who was talking about what at the pool this week! Must have been something good!

Kathy said...

yep, Drew, I was thinking of you, Lyman and Jason and a whole posse of friends I have with little girls of their own.

I wish I could laugh and say "HAHA your turn is coming" but I'm still too off-balance.

Drew said...

Doesn't Nelly Furtado have a new song out called "Promiscuous Girl"? Maybe your kids are listening to those lyrics a little closer than you might think. A quick Google search turned up a Frank Zappa song with promiscuous in it as well. Are either of those in heavy rotation in the Mullen household?

Wayne said...

OMG...really...thats...OMG

Kathy said...

oh, poor Wayne. I hope you're not getting the whole birds and the bees story for the first time yourself....