Balls (yes, exactly what you are thinking…)

I hug – won’t let go.
Convinced if I squeeze tightly
Kid time will stand still

————————–

I’m not ready for my oldest child (AP, aged 9) to know about sex or things that are sexual in nature. And yet, despite my desire otherwise, it is happening.

The good news is she still talks to me. She was telling me something that she and her girl friends talked about at her birthday-spend-the-night party and it was about sex. She was totally grossed out and upset about what was said, and needed to confess in order to unburden her soul. (no, we are not Catholic, but previous generations were, so I’m guessing it is genetic….) I started by clarifying her definition of sex, which was unfortunately pretty accurate.   A brief discussion ensued and then we moved on to another topic. I hung my soul, defeated, and wept inside.

Yet the revelations continued. At a recent girls group meeting, we were decorating gingerbread cookies. We had small, spherical candies the girls could use for buttons, etc.  A mom remarked to one girl, about her almost completed cookie:  “Are you done? But you don’t have any balls on the front.”

Let the snicker-fest begin. Wait, they didn’t snicker, they laughed out loud.  Raucously.  All of them.

The other mom looked at me in disbelief, barely holding back a laugh herself. I was shocked, stunned.  “You’re too young to find that funny” I said sternly, and I moved on.

Later, I asked my daughter what the laughter was all about (pretending I had no clue) and she once again accurately described the reason they laughed.  I told her I was dismayed that she got that joke… She said she knew what “they”  were for a while.

I spent the next 10 minutes in the car saying to myself, over and over: I can’t believe my little girl knows what balls are… it can’t be true, it just can’t be.

I am so out of touch. Was my childhood totally in a glass house?  Was my generation blissfully ignorant of the “sexual” elements of the world? When did I know what sex was and knew that balls were in a boy’s shorts and not just on the playing field?  Or is my memory simply crap and we snickered about such wicked things at her same age, but I just don’t remember it… Is it all an innocent part of growing up or a terrible consequence of a world steeped in sexual imagery among other too-grown-up things my kids see or hear no matter how much I try to shield them?

I already can’t believe how much more my daughter knows about her body – although that’s my doing. My mom (see previous reference to Catholic) told me nothing about my body, my period, sex… none of it. I am fully convinced that the reason she bought me and my older sister the World Book Encyclopedia was so that we could research sex in the comfort of our room and not ever, ever have to ask her.   I would have no idea about my body if not for that encyclopedia and, more importantly, the Tampax insert.  Oh, and thank God to whomever gave my sister the Our Bodies, Ourselves book (I’m sure it wasn’t my mother!) – I was not at all prepared to take in what I saw and read, but it was a welcome start and a secret reference book for years.

My kid will know more – at the right time – so she isn’t clueless and helpless.  But I am desperate for the information flow to be on my terms, not hers. To be on my timing, not society’s.  To be in a context I set, not someone else.

Net, I’m so screwed (eww, bad pun, sorry). I’m totally unprepared to handle the journey she is inescapably traveling.

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14 Comments

  1. I think the age to know and understand about these things gets younger and younger with each generation. My younger brother is nearly 10 years younger than me, and I know his friends and him knew about things (and started swearing) waaaay earlier than we had…

    Reply
  2. As the father of a 13-year-old girl I wrestle with the “sex issue” A LOT these days. I hope we both get through it relatively successfully.

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  3. To be honest, I believe that ‘shielding’ them from it is the wrong approach. Thankfully, she is still talking to you and I hope it will stay this way. In my experience, things start going the wrong way when kids have the feeling their parents don’t take them seriously. And as much as you wish for them to remain innocent just a little longer, it’s not happening. Just as much as you can’t make them believe in Santa again once they found out, they are not going to forget what they heard others talking about/saw in the media etc. This is where you have to pick them up and do what you did. Listen to them, reassure them, and then quietly bury your hopes. You are handling just fine!

    Reply
  4. My children are way too young to be experiencing this yet, but I would say nine is around the time my friends and I started talking about sex. Perhaps not with the accuracy you suggest your daughter’s knowledge is, but we were definitely talking about it. Granted, I’m a boy and not Catholic so maybe that’s the difference.

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  5. I am terrified of this time period in my children’s lives. They hear so much at school, on the TV, the radio – it’s just everywhere. And like you, I want it to be on my terms when/what they find out, but I feel like it’s a bit naive for me to expect that to happen. The best I can hope for is that they will continue to talk to me like they do now (and like your daughter does) and that I can be prepared with an answer that will satisfy them and hopefully lead them to make the right choices about things of a sexual nature later on. Even though I suspect I may have a mild heart attack when they ask, I’d rather they get their information from me rather than getting mis-guided or misrepresented fragments here and there.

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  6. You know, I really enjoy your writing style! Thanks! My daughter is almost 3 and she says stuff like, so your egg mixed with daddy’s sperm and made me? Tee hee. I’m going for it, telling her everything. Of course I haven’t mentioned how the sperm and egg get together, but I figure she’ll ask at some point!

    Reply
    • I did it in steps too… and then when she realized that he had to put the sperm in me (I wasn’t real specific here…), she went “eww, I hope you do that in the bathroom!”

      Reply
  7. I think we all sniggered about those things at the same age. I remember doing the same thing at primary school. It’s a hilarious part of growing up. The not so fun part is becoming a parent and having to endure your children giggling about it! 😀

    Reply
  8. I hate to tell you, but your memory might be crap. 😉

    Reply
  9. I’m new to your blog – and I normally “lurk” a bit before commenting, just to get the feel of things; however, I can’t resist here…

    I have a 9 year old boy and he has been asking me questions for some time. I have heard and read several things that encourage (along with honesty from the beginning) having the “big” talk at age 7. I used to think that was too early. But then I found out that he and his friends had been looking up “sex” in the dictionary at school. Ugh.

    He was almost 9 when we had the “talk”. He had been asking things off and on for about 2 years at that point and growing increasingly frustrated when I put him off. I have always answered things truthfully, just not completely. So, one day when he asked and the time seemed suitable, I started answering. More fully.

    I was astonished at the things he knew and the things about which he had questions. He had apparently been saving them for some time! I think that first conversation was just over 2 hours long. We have had several subsequent conversations instigated by his questions – about something he had seen, or read, or felt. Many of these conversations I would STILL feel uncomfortable having with my parents…and, for her time, my mom was pretty open with my sister and me.

    I am grateful and humbled that he can talk to me about these things. I hope to be able to continue to answer him in a manner which will encourage him to keep asking questions…and keep asking them of ME.

    You are right in that it is best for you to control the flow of information. Today, we can’t do that. I think our best hope is to make sure that we GIVE them the information and help them apply our morals and standards to the information. We need to tell them the way things really are – and what WE think before they have a chance to believe the torrent of incorrect and dangerous information available and start applying value judgments formed in that great chaos of pop culture.

    Yes, they’re too young and know far too much. We can’t change that. We would like to be able to control the flow of information. We can’t do that. We CAN and we MUST have a say in what impact that information leaves on the lives of our children.

    Okay – that was more long-winded than I intended…it just feels important. Thanks for writing about it.

    Reply
    • Thanks for this. I had hoped to get to double digits with my daughter before i did this but as you say that might be too late… Have to think about that.

      Reply
  10. My dad gave me a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves the summer before I went to college. I was one of the most popular girls on my dorm floor. 🙂 I don’t think many parents tell their kids enough about sex and everything else in that book.

    My son will be 6 in a few weeks, and we’ve gone in steps with information, too. I would rather arm him with knowledge than have him be misinformed. I would rather he be the one of this friends who knows the truth than have him be easily swayed with playground rumors.

    He’s a very *very* pretty boy so I worry when the hormones will kick in! LOL

    Reply
  1. Balls (yes, exactly what you are thinking…) « FamilyHaikus « throughhermind

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