Yesterday, I was cruising down the carpool lane on my way back from Berkeley where Ave rehearses with the San Francisco Girls Chorus, when she asks from the backseat, "Mom, does a baby come out of the same place that you pee from?" Clearly she had to pee- which is not unusual since the drive home from rehearsal can sometimes take more than an hour in traffic. Usually, we get in the door and she throws down her music folder and backpack and makes a beeline for the bathroom.
Normally, I wouldn't have a problem fielding a question like that since Dean and I have agreed to take a very blunt, scientific approach to the topics of sex and reproduction with the girls from an early age. How can you not when you have horse you are trying to get pregnant and your day laborers abandon a pregnant dog in your backyard who subsequently pops out seven puppies? Those things happened a while back but the girls were present for those and then there have been hamster mating and babies since then and it just has been inescapable in our household.
But what do you do when you have someone else's kid in the car? I have no idea if this other girl's parents have explained anything at all to her about... whatever. So, I just said, "Pee comes out of your urethra and a baby comes out of your vagina and if you want me to show you a diagram whenh we get home, I'd be happy to. What song should we listen to next?"
I grew up with this weirdness all around the topics of sex and sexuality. My mom was way too embarrassed to talk about any of that stuff with me. Most of my sex education came from books and friends and was pieced together in a sort of bizarre crazy-quilt of half-truths and hyperbole. The funny thing is that they made this huge deal about seperating the girls from the boys- back when I was a kid in Catholic school, this happened in 7th grade during Health Class- and they explained the fertilization and implantation process but sort of completely glossed over the whole part of HOW the egg and sperm got into the same vicinity to get the whole ball rolling, so to speak.
Vi has recently come home with a paper for me to sign, giving the school the O.K. for sex ed. They are even still seperating the boys from the girls and giving the parents a preview of what is going to be taught. I guess I just don't know why people make such a big deal out of it. There is such an emphasis on the physical mechanics of it all, but I wonder if they are going to talk about things like love and respect? They can teach them the biology of sex, but are they allowewd to talk about... I don't know, marriage? I could just be imagining things but I think the note that came home said that they teach abstinence. Isn't that a duh? I mean, it's not like they're going to tell our fifth graders to get get it on in the bathrooms at recess? Right? So then... what do they tell them about the whole raging-hormones-social-pressure-oops-we're-alone-together-how-do-we-not-catch HIV/get pregnant/get our heart broken/have our innocence destroyed part? Abstinence seems like a cop-out to me. Then again, we actually talk to our kids about this sort of stuff. I don't know, I'm tempted to send Vi in there with a list of leading questions to see what happens. Ahhh, I know, could I be a worse mother if I TRIED?
At least we know that the kids didn't arrive via stork.