On a car trip a couple years ago, my six-year-old son, Eli, asked randomly, between bites of his granola bar, “How do babies get here?” I looked over at my husband, who was quickly turning from red to green in the driver’s seat.
“Well,” I began, “they come from mommies’ bellies. You know, after the seed gets planted?” My fingers were crossed in my lap. Hopefully the lame explanation would work, again. It didn’t.
“No, I mean how does the seed get planted?” he asked, forcing an impromptu hushed-tone conference in the front seat.
“Tell him you can’t tell him, that he’s too young!” my husband hissed, begging, as if for his life. Fear shone in his eyes.
I laughed. “We can’t tell him that we can’t tell him — that’s terrible. He wants to know.” I said, patting his arm.
First off, the only version of “The Conversation” I ever had was with my father. I was thirteen, he gave me a box of unlubricated Trojans (not kidding) and told me, yes, sexually transmitted diseases could happen to me. Prior to that, I learned everything I needed to know about sex by swiping my father’s copy of Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (but were afraid to ask). And Skinemax, after all authority figures were asleep.
I mean, really. Is there anyone out there who learned about sex from their mother? Is that possible? I doubt it.
Know what else I doubt? The dialogue in that section. Has the sweet tang of revisionist history to it. I love how the dad is shown as this freaked out prude, totally incapable of communicating with his child (“tell him that I said to tell you to tell him that he’s too young”), while mom (whose name, in case you’re keeping score at home, is “Steph”) just tut-tuts him on the arm, instructs Eli as if she were a 50s PSA (planting a seed?), and goes merrily about destroying her child’s innocence. I’m calling shenanigans on the whole thing.
Of course, because Babble is a “professional” blog (hah!), there has to be a call-to-science-type thing that justifies this ridiculous and unlikely claim (without such stuff, wouldn’t Babble just be a blog of unmerited complaints about parenting? Nah. That’s what we do). Example:
Elizabeth Berger, M.D., a child psychiatrist and author of Raising Kids with Character, says that “talking about things in general is not the strong point of our puritanical culture, but, for Dads especially, there is horrible embarrassment, shame and avoidance talking about any intimate feelings — feelings about sex, grief, hope, really any emotion — with anyone, but especially with their own children.” The result, she says, is that when the tough topics arise, “Mom is always left holding the bag.”
Ah, good old mom with her bag of sex tales. Frankly, I don’t care if Dr. Berger performed cold fusion with a pair of tweezers. Bottom line: most sons (at least) learn about sex from their fathers.
All right, lady readers of Dadwagon. Correct me if I’m wrong. Did Mom break it down for you? Or any of you? Did anyone in the world learn about sex from their mother? The mere idea of it freaks me out.