Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Where do Babies Come From?

Last year, I worked hard and earned the privilege of being featured in the Listen To Your Mother show. If you don't know what that is then clearly you don't read most of what I write; I've got an entire category for my LTYM-themed posts, and you can find it, right up there in the middle of the navigation bar. If you'd like to go ahead & check it out, I'll wait. You should also note that tickets are quickly selling out for the 2014 show, which will be held this weekend (Sunday, May 4). You can find out more about that here.

That's me, at the mic, doing my thing. You can see Misti and CW sending me all the positive vibes. What you can't see is how incredibly nervous I was, the hundreds of people in the audience, the rest of my LTYM cast mates behind me, sending all of their love and positive vibes, too.

Spoiler alert: my story was all about sex. How the first time is not always what you think it will be, how I don't want my kids to feel ashamed for their sexuality. Bad Company's "Feel Like Making Love" is prominently featured. I laughed, I cried... the audience laughed and cried when I read it. Now I look back on it and it's so quaint.

The sex talk with kids is an ongoing conversation, and it's part of a much larger communication in my house. We have very few house rules, but the ones I have are non-negotiable. The #1 rule is respect; for others, for your self, for your parents. Everything else falls under that. Have enough respect for me to do what I ask of you. Have enough respect for yourself to do your best in all situations. Have enough respect for your abilities to understand that if you mess up? There may be repercussions. My job as a parent is to raise responsible adults. I've added on to that and I'm trying to raise people I want to be around.

This morning, my son was feeling a bit anxious because state testing is starting. There is SO. MUCH. PRESSURE on these kids for testing. Remember back in the day when we got our test book, our bubble sheet, our #2 pencils and we did our test? (wait; remember Mimeographs? Remember how the paper always seemed wet and the ink was blue, and that smell... nothing like it in the world.) Now, part of the test involves how you read the booklet. How you cross out and highlight and underline to find the relevant words to get the answers right. I get nervous just thinking about it. In my day, there would be severe repercussions if you wrote in your test booklet and now they're asked to liberally deface them.

So my son says to me that one of the kids in his class is falling into the trap that got me. I have to hesitate here for a second... which trap is he speaking of? Because, let's be clear here, I spent my teenage years as though competing for the most bad choices a midwestern girl could make and I came pretty damn close to winning that crown. When I asked him for clarification, he said that one of the kids in his class is really smart but he doesn't try. He falls behind. "Nobody's there to push him to do better."

This is something my kids hear every day, my endless refrain  to remind them to respect themselves enough to do their best and try their hardest. Clearly some of what I'm telling them is sinking in. I'm just going to keep selling my message and hope it continues to.

These tweens have invaded my kids to the point that from one moment to the next I don't know which personality is going to come out--my sweet little baby or my surly little almost teenager? When they ask where babies come from, I want to ask them, where did my babies go?

I spent some time with Stephanie Clinton of Hugs, Kisses and Snot talking about talking about sex with your kids. Check it out:

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