Saturday, September 18, 2010
Chalk it up to a "Teachable Moment"
“I said THE WORD.” She whispered into the phone. “ And he heard it.”
Apparently…It was a long drive home, everyone was tired and it just came out. Everyone heard THE WORD, everyone that is, but The Child. A hush fell over the car and, of course, the pre-teen boy wanted to know why everyone was so quiet. What word had mommy said?
Why one of the adults in the car, all with superior intelligence, could not make up another word to substitute for THE WORD is beyond me…helllllo…organism, octopus, octagon, organic…all possible and plausible substitutes because honestly…no one wants to have to explain to a little boy the concept of an orgasm since we all know it is too elusive an idea for the male mind to grasp…especially coming from a woman. But because it was a car full of egg-heads--the only thought was to elucidate, which is odd since my first reaction is often to lie to my child.
My friend was mortified and was not sure if she had warped the poor child. And I said…
“Pleasssse—Do what every other parent does—chalk it up to a “teachable moment.” “
It is important to remember that you and your child do not live in the 50’s TV sitcom of Leave it to Beaver. Things are just a little more complicated nowadays. Why someone’s father is lying happily on your lawn with an open magnum of wine tucked under one arm after another successful party… why there are so many Mermaids with hairy chests at the Coney Island Mermaid day parade…why there are those inflatable dolls in that store window when it is not even close to Halloween?
It is your choice—lie if you must, but my feeling is—if you have the time and you know this issue of inappropriate drunkenness, cross-dressing or deviant sexual behavior may come up again in your child’s life---this may be your ONE opportunity to express your opinion and help warp…I mean form your child’s mindset. Call it "early intervention." Because if they don’t have your voice in their head— that overly informed friend whom child likes to hang with will happily explain. (You know the friend, the one you WISH your child would stop playing with—the one with the older siblings or with a mother who treats her child like her BFF.)
So…here is your chance—“Drinking can be fun, but with so many opportunities to post photos on line—you should probably never have THAT much wine at someone else’s house because you might find photos of yourself looking silly on the web for all the world to see.” “Some boys like to dress-up like girls—they think it is fun and they do seem to be having a good time, look at how happy they are…Now mommy needs a beer, would you like a smoothie?" “Yes, yes…I am sure it is for Halloween—see how her mouth is opened in a scream?”
Okay, okay—I do lie. I will let that annoying know-it-all friend explain the use of blow-up dolls—I am not going there with my baby.