When Grams was a child, one of my favorite things was to climb up on my Dad's lap every Sunday morning. Daddy would drink his coffee and read the Sunday funnies to me. Sometimes, if I woke up early, I would climb into bed between my parents and he would read them to me there. It's one of the gentlest memories I have of my Dad. We loved Dennis the Menace, Little Orphan Annie, Alley Oop, Brenda Starr, Beetle Bailey, Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, Dick Tracy, and Superman. I think sitting with my dad while he read these comic strips aloud to me is one of the reasons I still love to read today.
In honor of my Dad and our love of the Sunday Funny Papers, I'm starting a new feature today that, as you can see, I'm calling "The Sunday Funnies." This will be an occasional feature of something funny, cute or humorous. Fair warning, my sense of humor is sometimes a little off. Many of these stories will be about things that happened when we were raising kids. Such is the case today.
Grams is a child of the 50s and 60s. It was a more naive and innocent time. I grew up in a strict and staunch southern baptist household. Discussion of and/or questions about anything remotely sexual were forbidden. While I knew, anecdotally at least, that other parents had "the birds and the bees" talks with their kids, we never had that conversation at our house. These topics were just not discussed in polite company.
In our house, sex education consisted of our mother telling us repeatedly that boys only wanted one thing and we were not to give it to them. The only actual conversation about sex that ever took place occurred when I was 20-years-old. I asked my mom if it hurt the first time you have sex. I remember her response verbatim. She said, "It's a little uncomfortable." That's it! That was the entirety of sex education I received at home.
In the 1960s, schools also did very little sex education. When I was in sixth grade, all the girls were kept after school one day and required to watch a movie about menstruation and the female reproductive system. There was no mention of sex or male anatomy or arousal or reproduction. It could not have been construed in any way as sex education. At 20 years old, I had very little knowledge of anything sexual.
A few years later, as a young mother, I was determined that this would not be the case with my children. I was going to teach them well. They would not go out into the world without knowing everything they needed to know. I read books and did research to prepare myself. I knew the day would come. Now, to wait for the right time.
Our daughter was in about the third grade when the mother of one of her best friends became pregnant. As the time for her delivery approached, Katy naturally became more curious. One day she came into my bedroom and asked "Mommy, how did that baby get inside Debbie's tummy?"
Here it was! The moment had arrived! I was ready! I was informed! I was primed! It was time for me to share my knowledge with my little girl! I was terrified! But I was calm and well-prepared.
Breathlessly, I sat down next to her on the foot of my bed and had "the talk." I explained in simple language that she could understand what happens when a baby is made. Her eyes got bigger and bigger. I really thought she was getting it. I was so proud of myself.
Then it happened. She looked at me with those big brown eyes and said three words I will never forget. "Mom, that's disgusting!"
I looked back at her and said, "Katy, hold that thought for the next twenty years."
What Grams learned that day was very valuable in the remainder of my child-rearing years. I will share that lesson with you now. When your kids ask you a question, answer it and then shut the hell up. They're not looking for explanations, they just want an answer. So, just answer the question they ask. It will turn out better for everyone involved if you don't elaborate.