When I left the hospital nine years ago with my little bundle of joy, he didn’t come with a manual. Parenting through trial and error is an ongoing work in progress, which I pretty much expected to be the case, but the insight I’ve gleaned into my own self was an unexpected twist. With each new milestone that my son hits, I think back to myself at that age, and of course, the beautiful thing is that I can choose to replicate the things I appreciated and change the things that I did not appreciate from my own childhood.
Today, I’m sharing an example of where I’ve chosen to do things differently: I never got the birds & the bees talk. I learned all about sex from my peers and sex education at school. At home, all I was told was “don’t do it.” Of course that didn’t work– especially when I went off to boarding school as a teenager! As time wore on, I never felt I could talk about boys or my relationships at home, and this disconnect became quite profound. Now, if there is one thing I know with absolute certainty, it is that I do not wish to have this happen with my child. I want him to be comfortable discussing anything and everything with me– whether he chooses to or not is a whole other story, but I don’t ever want him to feel that there are taboo topics with me. I am pretty sure that he already knows this, but last night we covered all new ground.
Last night, after reading “Where Did I Come From,” which is a very no nonsense explanation of the facts of life with cartoon illustrations, here is what my son had to say: (1) “That is disgusting,” to which I replied you may think so now, but you will change your mind in 10 years; and (2) “Is that what you do with someone you like?” We both laughed, and after honestly answering his question, I hugged him knowing full well that I’d accomplished my mission. So long as I’m around, I am here to keep it real and teach this child the facts of life– all aspects of life– and there is nothing off limits between us. So there you have it– my birds and the bees story with an explanation of my logic so it may give others some food for thought. Good luck to the rest of you that have yet to savor that moment!
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.