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The birds, the bees and uhm, ‘other stuff’

Show of hands- how many of you included a discussion about oral sex in the ‘sex talk’ with your pre-teens?

Hmm? Not too many of you I’m guessing. Now I’m no expert on child psychology or ‘the talk’. But let me share with you a little frank discussion I had recently with Emma. And she caught me off guard. We were driving in the car, so I needed to answer these completely sober. No cocktails were involved. No liquid courage to help. Deep breath. We’re going in.

Okay, the other night, Emma and I had some time just to ourselves. Lately we’ve been getting these afternoons or an evening together because the boys are entrenched in select soccer try-outs and spring tournaments. So they get to do their thing, and we do our thing.

Emma asks as we’re driving home from dinner, ‘Mom, was dad the only person you had sex with?’ Cue breaks screeching sound. Uhm, whoa there chica. I didn’t know we were having THIS conversation right now!

Me, “Uhm, yes.” There was a hint of doubt in my voice she detected. (Mom you can stop reading right here. Thanks- love you!)

Emma, “Mom, be honest now.”

Me, “Well, yes and no. Had I been intimate with some fellas before your dad? – yes. I was 23 when I met your father and I had some time to make out with other guys in college (not many, mind you) before I met daddy and so I had some experience with uhm, that stuff.” AWKWARD!

Emma, “Have you ever touched a pee pee with your mouth?” Her words, not mine!

Me, “Geeze kid! What are you doing with me here?!”

You could tell it was taking a lot of courage on her part. So I kept my cool. I could see she had some things going on in her mind, and I didn’t want to ruin this moment of her opening up to me. I also didn’t want to talk about blow jobs with my 13 year old!

I literally pulled the car over into a neighborhood and put it in park. I realized this conversation needed some attention and I wanted to make the most out of it.

So this is what I told her.  Feel free to take notes because afterwards, I felt like I totally nailed this. Really, parenting win moment coming up in 3, 2, 1…

“A lot of kids in middle school and high school are probably experimenting with oral sex. Guys might tell girls that blow jobs are harmless, don’t count as sex and also, you can’t get pregnant so it’s a win-win, right? No. Oral sex is just as intimate, it counts for sex and it means a whole lot more than you think it means. You can still get an STD from it and it is a big deal.”

Emma, “Isn’t it weird? Who wants a penis in their face?”

This is the right answer coming from a 13 year old!! Yes, who wants a penis in their face anyway? (silent prayer to myself, please help me Jesus that this child will not see a penis until she’s 30!)

I immediately thought of the scene in the movie Bridesmaids when Annie and Lillian are having brunch and Annie (Kristen Wiig) is confessing of her sleepover with her ex and reenacting a penis or a one-eyed snake using her facial expressions.

Me, “What you need to understand is that there will come a time when you’re kissing a boy and he’ll want to go further than just kissing. You will probably too.”

Emma, “That’s gross, I don’t want to do any of that!”

Me, “Now, right. If you think penises are gross, you have no business being near one. This clearly shows you are not mature to handle the situation.  However,  maybe when you’re 15 or 16 you will want to. Not that that’s an okay age either to have sex. You are going to think it feels good to be with a boy and you will be just as interested in having him touch you as he wants to touch you. Sex is a nice thing. It’s awesome. When you’re an adult and responsible and with someone you can trust. Whether those grown ups have intercourse like regular procreating mammals (cue laughter from Girl right here) or decide they want to enjoy each others’ bodies with their hands, OR mouths- is up to them. (Cue grossed out noises from Girl right here.) Let me stress- adults- not teenagers.  Feeling in love, loving someone and enjoying them is a perfectly wonderful thing. Just not when you’re 14.”

Emma didn’t believe me when I told her this. The part about her wanting to be with a boy. And that is understandable considering her age now. She’s convinced she’s not making out with a boy until she’s married to him. I explained that it’s unrealistic to think that. If she doesn’t want to kiss a boy or be with someone until her 20s or 30s, then great. But if she realizes that she’s kissing a boy and she’s 15 and she’d like to see how far it will go, then that’s when she needs to stop and think.

I want her to know that she needs to value herself. No boy is worth compromising for. Don’t do something with a guy because you’re afraid if you don’t that he won’t like you anymore. If you do end up doing anything you don’t want to, you’ll end up not liking yourself. And that’s more dangerous than any boy’s acceptance or rejection. Love yourself more than any other boy out there could ever say he loves or likes you.

But, if she’s the girl who wants the boy to do stuff with her and that boy doesn’t want to, she needs to respect him too. Boundaries are important for both sides. If she feels the little sparks of desire start to flicker, she needs to come to me and we can talk about what’s an appropriate solution with handling that until she’s 18 or 19 and on her own. Well, she already knows all about condoms and birth control. But what I want her to understand is that when urges come on strong, she can figure out what to do to not give in. I’m thinking jogging, shopping, macrame? Just kidding.

So there. I hope this helps you. Because heavens knows I got a few extra gray hairs from it and probably lost a few beats of my heart when it skipped.

Am I glad she asked me this? Hell yes. I’m so grateful to be talking with my teenager. That she comes to me with questions. I’m full to the brim with gratitude that she trusts me. I will cultivate this as long as possible. Even if it’s uncomfortable for me, it’s worth it.

 

For some references on talking to your kids about sex, check out Amy Langs blog, The Birds + Bees + Kids Blog.

 

Dear friends, please come to my Period Party- or not.

I couldn’t believe when Emma told me that there are things called Period Parties. So I Googled it, and yes- there are Period Parties.

WTF?

I guess they’re called Menarche Parties. Menarche is the first period of a girl according to ancient Greece- or Wikipedia, whatever.

First there were potty parties for potty training, now there’s period parties. Oy vey. Why not? The Jewish throw parties for the foreskin and women throw parties for their boob jobs too. You can throw a party for anything really, and lately parents have been doing just this. (But let’s not okay?)

I’m not the only one to blog about this, I know. But my readers are a little bit like me, and if you’ve been living under a rock, you’re going to want to know what to do for your daughter that crosses that threshold to womanhood.

Here’s my advice- don’t waste your money on Tampon Basketball as a game if you’re going to throw one of these parties. This was a game suggested on one of the parenting websites for fun activities to do during a Period Party. Another item of advice they included, “probably don’t invite boys- this could be embarrassing.”  Well, no shit, Sherlock.

Back to Tampon Basketball- I’m sorry, but Tampax doesn’t come cheap and providing several boxes for half a dozen 12 and 13 year olds to toss in a can or bucket and see who gets the most in, isn’t my idea of how I want to spend my money.

I won’t be ordering a red velvet cake either with frosting inscribed to read, ‘Happy Menarche Emma” (Menarche- pronounced like Malarkey)

Hmm, what else? I won’t be sending out invitations to her intimate group of girl friends. Honestly, they are nice girls, but how am I going to be guaranteed that they won’t laugh in my daughter’s face when Emma hands them the red embossed envelope that reads, “From Girlhood, to Womanhood, Come to My Period Party.”

We won’t spend the afternoon making crafts with red paint and sequins, or drinking raspberry leaf tea with fancy tampon tea bags. Edward Cullen anyone?

If people want to throw these crimson tide parties for their daughter- yay. Good for you. If your daughter WANTS this.

Mine however, does not. She doesn’t want to macrame tampon strings. She won’t play pin the ovaries on the fallopian tubes.

What I will be doing for her instead-

  • Bringing her some ibuprofen
  • Heating up the rice pack in the microwave
  • Buying her favorite Ben & Jerry’s
  • Letting her watch countless episodes of Glee or Castle
  • Making sure she has plenty of black leggings and dark jeans to wear (this is probably the most important lesson of all!)
  • Having a proper supply of the appropriate hygiene items
  • A bottle of wine for myself

 

What you should be doing for your daughter with or without a Menarche party-

Letting  her feel comfortable to come to you with any question regarding her privates.

Help her to feel that menses, despite it being a bitch (I’m sorry, I refuse to celebrate what a fucking pain it is), it’s something all of us females have to go through and there’s no shame in it.

It’s a mother fucker, but it’s part of life and there’s no shame, no shame at all.

Happy period sweetie.

 

 

 

All of a sudden, I’m the mother of a teenager

How did this happen? Grammarians, is it ‘mother of a teenager’ or ‘mother to a teenager’? I’m stuck. But either way. There’s a teenager living in my house.

Do you ever day dream into the future? I get caught sometimes jumping ahead of myself and thinking forward to the years of when Emma will be in high school. I have to almost catch my breath. I realize that I will blink and she will be off to college. Am I jumping the gun a little? Maybe. I remember when she was born, I fast forwarded in my head to maybe around her being 2 years old. And I thought, will I still like her? Gladly, the answer was yes. And still is.

Once upon a time, what feels not so long ago, I was anxiously awaiting the birth of this precious girl. I mean very anxiously. I had been on strict bed rest (not able to be on my feet for any more than 20 minutes per day) for the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy. I was ready for her to come out!

When she finally did, I felt the universe shift, my earth mother instincts kick in (okay, not really, sort of) and I could SMELL her. I literally smelled her when they placed her on me and she was the sweetest, most amazing smell ever. It was HER. I would smell her daily many times a day those next few weeks and months.

I miss that smell. Now I smell passion fruit or vanilla body spray or Dove deodorant. Maybe some Pink Sugar perfume or L’Oreal Elnett hairspray. Sometimes I smell some stinky armpits that smell like a Mexican buffet or her stinky shoes that smell like sour vinegar and Gruyere cheese.

When she was just a few days old, she was laying in her bassinet, asleep. She was on her side and her little profile was cherubic. Seriously, she was the most adorable baby. She looked like a painting. I burst into tears. My boobs hurt, my gut and crotch hurt and I couldn’t get over how amazing it was to have this child. I was the happiest woman on the planet, with the best baby on earth. Ever. That’s how it felt anyway.

I won’t sugar coat it (okay, I already kind of have) but there were moments of that first week of post-partum, I wondered what I got myself into. My nipples were torn open and bleeding due to poor latching on Emma’s part. Of course, I didn’t know any better and endured this for a whole week before the Lactation experts told me to get on a breast pump STAT and give my boobses a rest.

I was so tired I couldn’t see straight. Sometimes I would just cry for no reason. Well, duh. Of course there was a reason- I was hormonal and exhausted. Who’s brilliant idea was this??

Somehow I managed to get a rhythm to this parenting thing. The breast feeding finally clicked, it only took 3 weeks (pshaw), she never did sleep through the night, but I adjusted to her waking up at 4 am as part of our routine. She didn’t start sleeping completely through the night regularly until she was almost 5, that little stinker! Now I can’t wake her up for school. Totally figures.

When she was six months old, she was nursing on me. She took a bite of my boob and when I yelped in pain and when I looked down at her to tell her ‘no’, she smiled up at me. Oh boy did that push some buttons! I felt like she knew she was hurting me. Like she knew she was testing me. Maybe I was overreacting. But at that moment, I knew I had my work cut out for me and she would be a challenge. A good challenge. But definitely a crafty little thing.

She challenges me all the time. She keeps me on my toes. Sometimes she brings me to tears because she hurts my feelings. I know she doesn’t mean to hurt me. I know that I probably annoy the hell out of her with my goofy jokes, loud laugh and chit chat with the other moms. But still, she pushes my buttons like a college kid and a microwave. Beep, beep, beep. Pick a setting-’highly annoyed’, ‘ready to yell’, ‘losing my shit’; that’s how she can be to me.

So here we are. On the brink of another turning point. 13 years old. A teenager. Am I afraid?  A little. Am I excited for all the possibilities she has in store? Yes. More than anything.

I look at her and see a better version of myself. Like a 2.0 of a prototype. She’s already mastered social interactions and fashion taste and make up application far better than I ever did at that age! And don’t even get me started on her perfect teeth. Yes, she’ll eventually need braces, but she sure dodged a bullet and skipped the awkward years. Of course, Owen has made up for that and will need orthodontia probably before Emma gets it!

So Emma, if you ever read this, know how much I love you. Know that even though your heart might break a few times in life, or you don’t find yourself exactly where you thought you would be, you are the best you I could ever ask for. You make the world better. You shine your light wherever you go. No matter what you do, or who you are with, because of you- the world is better with you in it.

 

Do you see this perfection?? She’s ADORABLE! Okay, I’m biased, but COME ON.

Let’s hop on the puberty roller coaster and go for a ride!

Grab your helmets and strap in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Emma is almost 13. I will be blogging about this frequently. So just get used to it.

When your child is a toddler you deal with emotional outbursts, jags of fatigue and desperation. Fits of borderline psychotic attempts at expressing one’s individuality through yelling and door slamming.

Well, ten years later- you get to go through it. All. Over. Again.

The sulking. The pouting. The ‘don’t talk to me!’. The “why don’t you understand?”. The “you’re the worst mom ever!”.

Isn’t parenting fun?

I realize my child did not ask to be brought into this world. My husband and I had this fabulous notion of making people and looking forward to how much it would fulfill and enrich our lives. And it has. I wouldn’t trade it for the WORLD. The sun rises and sets on my sweet children. However, it does not change the fact that there are times when I want to drop-kick my daughter into next week when she gets all up in my craw.

The other night I had to practice tremendous restraint. It was her brother’s Cub Scout banquet and we arrived early to help set up. Apparently, this is one of the worst things you can ask your almost 13 year old to help out with. They will give you that look like you’ve grown a horn from the center of your forehead and have asked them to drink the blood of a baby llama.

She forgot her iPod and Kindle. So this meant, she was without Instagram or SnapChat and had to – get this- interact with people actually in the room with her. Oh the horror.

I didn’t realize that she was extremely hungry when we got there. So this contributed to her grumpyness. I know I’m no fun when my blood sugar is plummeting. But folks- it was a banquet. We were 10 minutes from a spaghetti buffet with all the fixins’. She wasn’t going to starve.

Thank GOD the food helped. For about two hours she was pleasant to folks, helped take pictures and only made her brother cry once.

She almost made me cry twice, but hey. I’m tough. When it was over and we were helping clean up, again, we were – THE WORST parents ever. Making her stand around like that, helping to fold and stack chairs… ugh. It’s like coal mining. Such hard work.

I pretty much steered clear from her as best as I could. I think even bed time was tense and there seemed to be a lot of heavy exasperated sighs and drawer slamming. I gave her a short lecture on her stinky behavior and how she was a royal pain in the ass and not at all gracious to us.

While tucking in Owen he asked me why she was being such a butt. Well, he didn’t say that, but let’s just cut to the chase. I told him it’s part of girls growing up. They get moody and emotional and it’s best we stay out of her way.

The next morning, which was Sunday, I had an epiphany. I decided instead of pestering Emma to clean her room and continue to fight with her, I caught her off guard first thing when she woke up. “Hey, guess what?” I announced, “you and I are going to do a little shopping and go see a movie.”

Talk about 180 degree mood switch. Her face lit up. Her mood improved. She was mine again and it felt nice.

Yes, there was one or two instances during our day of where my annoying ‘momness’ seeped through and she needed to make me aware. But on the whole, we had a great time. We laughed, shopped, sang, and at times, almost peed our pants (from the laughing).

As much as I want to force her to comply and make her feel miserable for the way she treats us sometimes, I realize that I probably make the people miserable around me once a month. And I know that one of my favorite things to do is shop for makeup and go see a movie.

For some, maybe it’s go for a bike ride. Maybe it’s get out on the field and run or kick a ball. That’s great. I know that with my girl, usually some sushi and lip gloss helps set her straight.

Am I rewarding her rotten behavior? Not necessarily. I’m keeping her from putting her walls up around herself so high that I might never scale them again. Usually her mood swings come and go. But if I beat a dead horse and only nag her of all the things she’s doing wrong, or all the things she’s NOT doing (i.e. clean her room), I worry that she will shut me out and only want to keep company with her peers.

I also have to remember not to take her behavior personally. She’s not acting against me. She’s struggling within her own feelings.

I’ve always made it clear that I’m her mom first and foremost. But life’s too short to dwell in the low valleys of hormones. I think I kind of found a break-through. If I keep from harping on her, call her on her shit but don’t beat a dead horse with it, but find the stuff we have in common; I think we’ll all survive.

I’ll let you know.

 

 
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