Thursday, July 5, 2012

Who Cares Where I Came From?

So, I did tell my friend that her daughter typed in "Barbie Sex." After I saw what I saw, and after I consulted with parents whose opinions I trust, I told her. Not surprisingly, she acted somewhat baffled that her child would do that, "She doesn't even like Barbies!" she said. I told her I didn't think the Barbies were the draw. She was very interested in finding the source of the idea because it couldn't possibly be her daughter that came up with this. Of course she responded this way. I would have, too. I would have been flummoxed and a little mortified, and wondered how on earth this could have possibly happened. Luckily for me, she ignored the part where all of this happened in my house, under my watchful eye, by which I am also a little mortified.

That afternoon, I went to Barnes and Noble and read 4 different books from the children's section about talking to kids about sex. They were books for children, with funny pictures and captions and stuff, and every one of them basically sent the following message: "The penis goes into the vagina, sperm comes out, fertilizes an egg." The second two thirds of the book is all about how a baby develops in a mother's tummy and how she nurses the baby after its born.

My parenting compass may be completely out of whack here, but I have little to no interest in including procreation in the sex talk I have with my daughter. What the books do not address is that sex is everywhere you look, women are dehumanized everywhere you look, every song ever written is about sex in some way (except for some U2 songs) and how on earth is a 9 year old girl supposed to grow up in a world like this??????!!!!!! And furthermore! How is her mother (me) supposed to guide her to into an adulthood where she respects herself and her body while her favorite singer is Rhianna and her first boyfriend will probably want to have anal sex because he saw Barbies do it ON THE INTERNET!!!???

I know I am going too far. I know I will find my way. I have to "get low" as Leila's preschool teacher used to say. When I asked Leila if she knew what "gay" meant she said , "oooh, is that when people get really old and start shrinking?" I have to remember that.

In spite of my anxiety over the issue of telling my friend, talking to my daughter, facing away from the kids in the Barnes and Noble while reading "Where did I come From?" I did have a little fun. I conned Rob into letting me read him the book I eventually chose under the guise of including him in this all-important milestone. And then I made jokes about how I wanted him to know what he was in for when he hit puberty. Then we pointed at the illustrations and laughed.

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