Teaching your children about the birds and the bees can be a terrifying ordeal. Many parents avoid the subject like a venereal disease at a Kiss concert. Not us.
Not that we've sat any of our kids down with diagrams, or handed them a stack of dirty magazines, but we have kept ourselves abrest of our need to provide nuggets of information and guidance when and as necessary.
As our 13-year-old daughter advances farther along through her teen years, the opportunities to impart bits of wisdom arise with greater frequency. The movies she watches, the magazines she reads, the websites she browses -- all media at her disposal is rife with sexual content. It is our responsibility to ensure she and her brothers are prepared to process it in healthy ways.
Unfortunately, some of life's most important lessons do not present themselves in scripted Hallmark Moment splendour. More often than not, we stumble through, desperately hoping not to screw things up too badly. The very first discussion I had with Our Daughter on the subject of male anatomy is a perfect example.
Some years ago, when Our Daughter was a mere toddler, we stayed at a hotel at which my Lovely Wife attended a work-related educational training. My role during the event was to watch over Our Daughter during the day. We swam in the indoor pool, played fun little games, read a few board books, and watched an episode or two of SpongeBob and Blues Clues.
One afternoon, following our final round of swimming, we were back in the room getting cleaned up for dinner. I showered while Our Daughter watched a little television. When I came out, I found her jumping up and down on the king-size bed. The warning to stop had barely escaped my lips when I watched her fly backwards off the bed and land flat on her back, knocking her head on the thinly carpeted concrete floor with a sickening thud.
I picked her up and held her until her crying subsided. Determining no serious damage had been done, yet still with heart racing from the scare, I placed her in the bathtub and continued to distract her with silly jokes from my perch atop the closed toilet. Suddenly, staring at what I thought were my knees, her face went dead serious. She pointed and said, with some noticeable measure of disgust, "What is that?!"
In my panic, I had completely forgotten I was still only barely wrapped in the towel from my shower. Unbeknownst to me, while I sat there on the edge of the toilet entertaining her, my nether region was hanging loose and free for all to see. A quick shift of the towel and a summary dismissal of the subject were not going to be enough to undo the damage, so I decided to face the challenge fate had placed before me.
In language familiar to her, I explained, "It's my peepee." The shock of disbelief showed in her widening eyes. She looked down between her legs, back up at me, and said: "Well, wash it off!"
I laughed so hard, I ended up using the towel to dry my eyes. Not only had I traumatized Our Daughter by flashing her, my follow up only served to convince her I was horrendously unhygienic. Between that, and her having to endure years of watching her brothers streak through the house as only little boys can, it'll be a miracle if she ever gives us a grandchild.
© 2011 Mark Feggeler