A few months ago, my nine year old came to and said in an exasperated voice, ‘Can you please do the talk with me?’
My response was a clueless, ‘What?’
‘The talk! Sahana says I can not watch her show with her because I need to have the talk first. Can we please get the talk done so she can let me watch the show with her? She won’t tell me what it is!’
I, somehow, deflected attention from ‘the talk’ to lion whisperer Kevin Richardson or life cycle of a toad or something of that esoteric nature. Deflecting the attention of a nine year old boy was not hard. I simply was not ready and I also wanted his father to talk to him about puberty, changing body first while slowly initiating ‘the talk’. And moreover, I wanted him to read books about it. I made a mental note to look up books. Then I forgot.
This summer Ryan has zeroed in on his career goal. At the ripe old age of 10, he has decided he wants to be an animal behavorial scientist and in preparation for that, he has been watching innumerable animal videos, reading informational books, researching and writing page long essays on them. All this was good till I heard another curious call of ‘Mom can you come here for a minute?’
I wiped my hands on the kitchen towel and followed his voice to discover my son enthralled in a video of kangaroos mating.
‘What is this? Why do they jump on each other like that? I have seen lions do this too on lion videos?’
There was no deflection then. I mentally gnashed my teeth at my ever traveling partner as I took a deep breath and launched into the ‘talk’! There were myriad emotions on the face – curiosity, bewilderment and finally disgust.
‘So do people do this once in hospitals and then babies are born?’
‘No!’ More explanation.
‘So did daddy…’
I cut him off right away saying I will be happy to entertain questions related to the whole process but I will not answer any personal questions.
He gave it a minute and said a disgusted ‘Ewww!’
There were follow up questions of course. And I answered them to the best of my ability. I also reminded him not to discuss this with friends because it is only fair that their parents get to give them books and right information. He agreed. I mentioned to Sean that I have had the conversation with our son. He laughed a ‘phew, thank goodness’ laugh and I hit him on the arms.
However, I emphasized to Ryan if he ever had any questions about this, he can always come to me or DAD! DAD CAN ANSWER HIS QUESTIONS TOO! ( please note the emphasis)
I must say it was not as hard as I thought it would be. I did have a little pang of regret that this somehow signified a loss of innocence for my last baby (which I admit, is silly). But now I have books for him to read and of course Google to research if I can not answer questions that, I am sure, are coming my way. Interestingly enough, when I offered him the book that I picked out from the library, he did not want to read it or look at it. He got lost in Gabriel Finley’s world of ravens and riddle (Gabriel Finley and the raven’s riddle by George Hagen). Oh well, puberty and knowledge can wait. They are going nowhere.