It’s coming. I know it’s going to happen sometime. One of these days my 7 year old is going to look up at me, and ask: Mama, what is “sex”? Or maybe it will be “where do babies come from”? Or, horribly, “I saw something on television or in a magazine at a friend’s house....” or something. At some time she will ask me for the details. And it will be time for The Talk.
I can’t do it.
I was scared this was going to happen last weekend. My daughter and I were painting and watching the Lindsey Lohan version of The Parent Trap on television. I loved the original Parent Trap with Haley Mills, and this was something I wanted to share with her. I think I’ve seen all of Haley Mills’ films. I’ve seen the remake with Lindsey Lohan, and thought it was not too shabby, too; but I forgot about the scene in which Lindsey has a chat with the woman dating her father. “I really think a relationship should be about more than sex,” said little Lindsey. I froze. I almost gasped, but I cut it off. I didn’t want to attract her attention. I waited. I cut my eyes to my daughter, careful to not move my head so she wouldn’t see me look at her. She was watching... but no expression crossed her face. It just blew right over her head. Or did it?
Since I know this is coming, I set to gathering information. I’m a librarian, I’m good at this. I searched the internet. I investigated books on the subject. I bought two books: It's So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families (for 7 and up) and It's Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends (for 4 and up), both by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley. I thought I’d read the latter, the one for the 4 year olds, to my 7 year old. When they came in, I opened the book, saw the word “clitoris” and closed it again. I haven’t even looked in the other one.
I can’t do it.
My husband, of course, refuses to even consider talking about it to her, and has no stress about this at all. “She’ll find out, stop worrying. We all find out. There’s not an adult out there who doesn’t know the facts of life.”
What I wish is that there was a class that I could enroll her in that would explain things to her in a gentle, empowering, and kind way. It is the coward’s way, but it sounds good to me. There is a program like this. It’s the OWL program (Our Whole Lives Lifespan Sexuality Education Curricula) offered by the Unitarian Universalists (read more at http://www.uua.org/re/owl/). It’s “non-credo” (i.e. not a religious program), but focuses on education and teaching self-respect. The Nantucket Unitarians Universalists occasionally offer this class for teens, it’s wonderful when it’s offered.
Somebody let me know if there’s something like that available in Nantucket... because, did I mention, I can’t do it!