Quit Talking to Your Kids. STOP NOW WHILE YOU STILL CAN.

“You can ask us anything,” we said.

“Nothing is off-limits,” we said.

“We will always be open with you,” we said, and, “It’s better to get accurate information from your parents than questionable information from your friends.”

This is the best policy. Talk to your kids! It’s what we do, and WE ARE THE BEST PARENTS EVER.

They asked us questions about penises. We answered them. Rigidity, wet dreams, vas deferens, sperm, ejaculation and where that penis can go. Oh, the places that penis will go! We answered them all.

Vaginas and uteri. Eggs and periods. Sexual pleasure and masturbation. We are an endless bastion of  information.

Drugs? We talk about them. Pot. Meth. Heroin. The whole gamut.

Jesus? Him, too. Even the HARD questions and the ones we can’t answer.

We explored the world together when we talked to our kids, and it was awesome all the time! Until…

… Oh geez…

Until I was upstairs minding my own business and one of the third graders hollered from below, “HEY, MOM! WHAT’S SEX TOYS?” And then, “Mom? MOM! I said WHAT IS SEX TOYS?”

You guys. You guys. You guys. I did what any wise, experienced mama who’s committed to talking openly with her children would do. I HID.

I hid in the bathroom, and I prayed a little prayer.

“Dear Jesus,” I said, “please let my child stop asking that question. Or, barring that, Jesus, don’t let him find me. See how I give you choices, Jesus? Alternatives? That’s because I’m humble and not demandy, which is why you should grant my wish, Genie Jesus.”

And then Jesus betrayed me, because that kid came upstairs, found me, and said, “Hey, Mom, did you not hear me? ‘Cause I asked you what is sex toys but you did not answer. I’m glad I found you, though, Mom, ’cause, Mom? I think sex toys are toys you play with for when you and dad do sex, and what I really want to know is do you have sex toys and what do they look like and how do you use them?”

Since hiding was a bust and Jesus was just giggling in the corner at my predicament, I told my kid I had to poop. “I would love to answer that question,” I lied, “but I have to go poop, like, really bad, so you should get out of the bathroom,” which is when he reminded me he hangs out in the bathroom when I poop, all the time, and didn’t see why he should start giving me privacy now. “I am fine with talking with you about sex toys while you poop, Mom. That is fine with me.”

Of course he is. Of course he’s fine with that. So I told him I had to go the kind of poop where I make my I’m Pooping REALLY Hard Poop Face, and that he could have four pieces of candy in the candy basket if he would let me do it alone.

I’ve managed to avoid him ever since.

In conclusion, I have a brand new Parenting Plan: Quit Talking to Your Kids. I mean it. STOP NOW WHILE YOU STILL CAN. It’s too late for me – he’s not going to forget that sex toys question forever – but you can still save yourselves. RUN, parents. RUN NOW.

Wishing you all the best, friends. All the best.

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P.S. The first time I wrote WE ARE THE BEST PARENTS EVER, it came out WE ATE THE BEST PARENTS EVER. So if you ever wonder where the hell those Best Parents went, now you know. We ate them.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
8 comments
  1. The other day we had to have a talk, my two 5yos and me, about what stripping is, and why sex work should be legally protected and valued because it is work, and how it’s ethically complicated because of the consent issues involved, and why it is important to remember that the people you meet are real people with real lives and are not just things for your consumption.

    And just this afternoon, we talked about child sacrifice. Like the kind where people kill their own children as part of a religious ceremony.

    It is already too late for us.

  2. I’m so sorry. I hear chronic laryngitis really sucks, and I’m sure learning sign language would be so difficult as to make even trying pretty much pointless. So sad.

  3. All I can say is that I’m grateful that my triplets are only 9 months old. I can’t imagine the barrage of questions we’ll get in the future. I’m terrified… 😉

  4. Thank you for brightening up my day. Still pretending those conversations will never happen (yes, I know they have to) because they certainly didn’t happen in my home. My mother was pretty disgusted they taught us the mechanics of it at school. Don’t think she even told me about periods.

  5. *DIES*

    I needed this so much this morning, Beth. You have NO idea.

    At our house, too, we talk about ALL the things. And we are learning Spanish. So I bought a bunch of books online in Spanish and one of them was called “What is this?” (Que es este?) And I assumed it was some sort of a child’s dictionary because it had little kids all over it, but the picture of the cover was really small and blurry.

    And it totally was a dictionary, kind of, only the WHOLE title of the book was “What is this …down there?” as in DOWN THERE and the pictures of little kids were of naked little kids holding magnifying glasses pointed at their penises and vaginas and it’s sex ed book for little kids because Uruguay is sensible about things like that. And my wife and older kids think that is HYSTERICAL.

    Except the kid I bought it for who is eight. He’s insulted because I already know all that stuff, mom, and why do I need to know how to say pene and testiculos, mom and STOP LAUGHING MOM JEEEEEZ YOU ARE SO IMMATURE.

    And I had to stifle my giggles and go out the book away and look for a less… topical… dictionary with sensible things like apple and banana and dog and cat instead of one with a detailed explanation of how a condom works and where the penis goes during S-E-X.

    So this laugh is not only what I needed this morning but it is eerily well timed. As usual. <3

    And in my house we call the large red sex toy Raymond "Red" Reddington and tease my 16 year old daughter mercilessly by hiding it not very well (Ok, basically just leaving it lying around wrapped in a clean handtowel in our room after washing it) as age appropriate punishment when she goes snooping in our room.

    Now all we have to do is say the word "red" and she starts yelling "LALALALAICANTHEARYOU!!! and looking for the eye bleach."

    Because as noted, we are verrrrry immature 😉

    On a serious note, though, I was raised in a "sex doesn't EXIST especially for females outside of holy matrimony" cult, and "ringing the devil's doorbell is a sin, sister", and you don't WANNA know what kids raised without appropriate sex ed use for sex toys, people, so seriously, talk to your kids about that stuff. My daughter got her first vibrator when she was 14 and yes that conversation and purchase was awkward and embarrassing but I sure as heck wanted her to be safe more than I wanted to not be embarrassed…

    Waving in the dark from South America as always. 🙂

  6. I am so glad my kid is only two. Even though I know that day is coming…

  7. When my six year old asked me “how do you sell sex?” I wish I had asked him “why do you ask?” instead of fumbling around for an age appropriate explanation of prostitution. Turns out, he’d just seen a commercial whose tag line was “we don’t sell perfume, we sell sex”. Thank you very much, Madison Avenue.

  8. I made the mistake of sending my kids (5,9,11)in my room to look for batteries… They came out a minute later asking “what is this vibrating thing?” And laughing that it’s tickling their hands…and then asking “what is this remote control is for… And look mom it controls this vibratey thing!” I did what any reasonable parent would do and told them “it’s daddy’s massage thing for his back and not a toy and it’s very expensive and put it back right away! And that’s the massage oil that goes with it so put that back too! No you can’t give me a massage with it!”

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