Thursday, March 02, 2006

Where do I come from?

Yesterday, ParentCenter e-mailed me my 35-month newsletter*, which contained the following, very unwelcome announcement:
In the coming months your child will start showing more interest in the differences between girls and boys. If you catch him in the midst of playing doctor with that little cutie from down the street, try not to react with shock or embarrassment. Just tell the children that penises and vaginas are kept private and steer them toward another activity. They'll probably be relieved, since some experts say preschoolers already have some sense that peeking under each other's clothes is taboo.
I am pretty sure I am not ready for this. My family was always pretty frank about sex, and my sister and I both went to a hippy dippy Head Start preschool back in the '70s, where they had board books about sex lying about. These little books contained cartoonish drawings of anatomically correct animals and explained how the penis goes inside the vagina** and plants a seed, which grows into a baby animal, which then comes out of the mommy animal. No mention of the hideous pain natural beauty of labor, as I recall -- the baby just pops out into a world of smiling cartoonish animals with no blood or poop or anything.

I guess I have to start thinking about how we are going to talk about this. Crap, isn't any of this parenting stuff even slightly easy?

I need to go lie down.

* I signed up for the newsletter when I was pregnant with Viva, in those heady days when every week meant something new. They would send me stuff that said: "Your baby is now the size of a lime. Your morning sickness is probably making you puke up everything you ever ate in your entire life, but don't worry, that's perfectly normal!"

** Viva does at least know the word vagina, and uses it in the correct manner. Sometimes she even uses it affectionately, and shortens it to a nickname: "Now I have to wipe my 'ginee. Front to back, front to back."

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