For the past couple of months, the bigger kids have been coming up to me one by one with serious fear and concern. They expressed themselves something like this….
“Mom! You can’t!!!”
“NO! MOM! He’s not ready!”
“He’s too young! Don’t do this!”
The day has finally come. It was time for Benjamin to experience…….wait for it…….THE SEX TALK! If you have read my previous blogs, you may have read Theresa’s 8 year old birthday blog. I’m not going to reread it. I want Ben’s blog to be uniquely his even if I am repeating myself which I’m sure I will since nothing about sex has changed in the last 3 years. Right? I didn’t get grief about giving any of my other 8 year olds this talk but Benjamin is different. He is just a different breed of a boy. I know this but he will still be a different breed of a boy when he is 9, 10, 14, 18, 30 something, etc.
This talk is scheduled for all of our kids when they turn 8 years old. I understand that it seems too young but if I went by the age that most parents gave the talk to their kids, they would never get it. Seriously. Did you ever get a real talk about the inner and outer workings of sex (no pun intended) from your parents? Congratulations if you said yes but all I ever got was gross looks from my mom’s face and “I’ll tell you when you’re older” (I was 18) from my dad.
So, at the ripe old age of 22, I got my hands on How to Talk to Your child about Sex by Linda & Richard Eyre. I was reading it in the delivery room right after I gave birth to Mary Kate. I know, I may have been a bit ahead of the game but I am making up for it now as I sit on my bed at 10:00 at night as the kids run wild around the house.
I am supposed to spend several weeks building his excitement prior to the talk. I am supposed to say things like…..
“Your dad and I are SO excited to tell you the most WONderful thing God gave us!”
“We are going to let you in on a very exciting secret.”
“This is really something fantastic, and it’s going to be such fun to tell you about it.”
But instead, all he heard was….
“He’s EIGHT! He’s getting the talk whether he’s ready or not.”
“We have to give him this talk before we lose the book again.”
“There is never a good time to tell Ben so get over it.”
I’m pretty sure Ben got more pumped up with what he heard then what the book said I was supposed to say. He is just that kind of kid.
The day has come! The restaurant he picked was the T-Rex restaurant WAY out at The Legends in Kansas City, KS. I told him to dress up really nice and he ran in my room screaming, “I’M READY!” in his race car shirt and camouflage pants. I sent him away to change into real church clothes. He comes in my room all dressed up and muttered, “I’m ready”. After Samantha takes our picture, the three of us, plus baby, are on our way.
Benjamin is SO excited all the way there. He can’t WAIT to find out this secret. I just love this age. The reason we chose eight years old is because, “it is a window between the disinterest of very young childhood and the moodiness and unpredictability of prepuberty.” (-Linda & Richard Eyre) I am reminded of this when the book that we use to read, teach and show the kids about sex was brought out of hiding. Theresa finds it, opens it and starts to giggle. She passes it along to Max and then Samantha. Pretty soon, I have a house full of immature giggling basketcases. Thank goodness Nick wasn’t home. He would have been the worst. Eight year olds are trusting, open, innocent and anxious to please. None of my 8 year olds acted as infantile as they do now at 11, 13 and 14. Oh, and 20.
After we order our food, Ben is bobbing up and down, back and forth. “Tell me the secret now! Tell me now. Tell me now. Tell me now. Tell me now.” I was getting dizzy. This boy won’t sit still.
We went through the preliminary questions…..
“Name some wonderful things God made.”
“Why is a person awesome?”
“Where do you think babies come from?”
“How do you physically show someone that you love them?”
Now it’s time for Where Did I Come From by Peter Mayle. This is the climax of the afternoon! (Sorry. I couldn’t help it!)
Goodness. Ben’s reaction was nothing like the other kids. He laughed and giggled and couldn’t believe that his parents would do such a thing. If nothing else, I know for sure he totally understood what sex is. I was not too sure if the other kids understood but this boy did. He totally did.
During our excursion with fighting and wrestling to turn back to the pages with naked people (cartoon), we accidently ripped out a page. All of us start to laugh. He was SO into this talk and so fascinated with this new information he just learned.
But now we are scared. It was not too early to tell the other kids but was it too early to tell Ben? I don’t know. He seemed more engrossed with this information then we wanted him to be. He was laughing and smiling more than we have ever seen. I am not sure what to think. All I know is that he is part of the older group of kids now. He can share and talk about sex with his older brothers and sisters but has been sworn to secrecy with everyone else.
From this day forward, Roy and I will be sharing with Ben what we learned from Blessed John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and he will understand. Our body is the visible reality of the invisible God. When a man and wife make love, they are renewing their vows. Their one flesh union is a sign of the one flesh union that we have with Jesus in the Eucharist.
Yes, he got this talk too but all he wanted to do is look at the naked pictures. Sigh….There is still time. Pray for him.