My mother taught me the finer points of human anatomy from a nursing book with black and white illustrations that used to be her mother’s. The front cover was ripped off, the pages dog-eared and frayed. She consulted that book for every childhood ailment we ever had.
And she used it as a visual aide when she gave my sister and me The Talk.
I remember the day she took us into her bedroom and pulled the dusty volume off the shelf. I just don’t remember what she said. We learned the facts of life with all the proper terms and anatomically correct illustrations.
And the entire time I was thinking; I have no idea what you are talking about.
But I nodded my head and pretended.
I don’t know how old I was, but it wasn’t old enough. My sister is two years older than I, so that talk was probably more for her benefit than mine. Two for one? I don’t know. But there never was a repeat. Not even a review. I had my chance to learn about the birds and the bees and I missed it for lack of understanding.
I’m not sure what kind of deep-seeded personality flaws this lack created in my psyche, but I’ve always been a little sensitive about it. So much so, that two years ago I was blindsided by my neglect.
We were on the fifth grade field trip. After a couple hours of walking and herding, we settled in to the Imax theatre for our viewing pleasure. Unbeknownst to me, the movie? The Human Body. My poor little fifth grader sat next to his mother in the dark as the narrator discussed how a baby is made.
It was the first time he ever heard it.
I thought I would faint.
The kids were mostly freaked out by the information. I think I was more so.
And it got worse.
I learned on the bus trip home that most of my son’s friends had already had The Talk.
I was mortified.
Fifth grade? Really?
Apparently, kids these days develop earlier than we did. That’s what they told me. I looked at my red-headed, freckle-faced boy and thought No way.
A few days later I broached the subject with my baby.
And was surprised by his open curiosity. He was ready to hear. The Talk.
I ordered a couple books and a movie that one of the mom’s had recommended. All in all, it went very well. My eyes were opened.
But I adjusted.
Guess where I’m going tomorrow? With my youngest? With my baby?
On that very same fifth grade field trip that I was so traumatized by two years ago. Same city. Same stops.
Different movie. (whew!)
But as the date of the trip quickly approached, I began to feel a tightness in my chest. Could my baby of babies really be ready for The Talk?
I sucked it up and broached the subject two nights ago.
We watched the movie.
All in all it went very well.
But I’m still glad that our movie tomorrow is Under the Sea.
Will you share your stories about The Talk with me? I’m ever so curious…
Where Did I Come From? Narrated by Howie Mandel
The Book (for me):
Everything you Never wanted your kids to know about SEX (but were afraid they’d ask) by Justin Richardson, M.D., and Mark A. Schuster, M.D., Ph.D.
The Book (for him):
The American Medical Association’s Boys Guide to Becoming a Teen by Kate Gruenwald Pfeifer