The Birds, the Bees and John MayerPosted: May 29, 2008
This winter, J (who is 7) was getting closer and closer to the REAL question about sex which is a problem for me because I truly believe honesty is the best policy. I have explained how babies come out and he knows what those pads are for because he asked. This winter though I balked when he asked how the babies get INTO your stomach. I said we’d get a book from the library on that which he was fine with. I was betting that he would forget and he did. However, I knew that it would be coming up again soon, and I had to figure out a way to handle it.
This made me think of my friend Don who has two daughters who are my age. Don looks like a hippie, but taught at Columbia and used to design educational software for IBM. (This is how I knew him is that we worked on the same IBM software projects for several years.) Don is brilliant and carefree which is sometimes an ironic juxtaposition.
At any rate, Don loves his daughters dearly and really got a kick out of spending time with J as his girls haven’t had any children of their own yet. Don has always believed that honesty is the best policy which sometimes landed him in hot water with IBM but that is not the point. (Come to think of it, this lands me in hot water too sometimes.) He shared with me that he was terrified the day one of his daughter’s asked him how the babies got into the mom’s stomach. Being Don, he gave a very clear, straightforward explanation and waited to see her reaction sure he just damaged her psyche or something. She essentially said “Oh, OK” and moved on. When she was an adult, Don asked her about this conversation and if he had done any damage by telling the truth. Her response was that it was barely a blimp on the screen, just an explanation of something she didn’t understand.
So, this is the context in which I tried very hard to think of an appropriate and suitable response that I would feel good about when J posed the question to me. This spring, I don’t remember what we were talking about, but J got around to asking me “How does that work?” I tried to play dumb and said “You already know how babies come out.” He said, “No, how do they get in there?”
Mom: <begin deep breathing> “You really want to know?”
Mom: <deep, deep breathe> “Well, a man and a woman have to have sex.”
J: <interrupting> “Do they start to kiss and stuff?”
J: “OK, that’s what I thought.” <cringing his nose and looking disgusted> “I don’t want to hear anymore.”
WHEW!!! I have a little more time to prepare myself for this conversation.
So, what does this all have to do with John Mayer, you may (or may not) ask? Normally I listen to NPR and rarely listen to anything else, but lately, I’ve moved the dial. One day, we heard John Mayer’s Your Body is a Wonderland and J sang along. Catchy tune, no problem, except that the next day on the swing set, J was singing the song. I imagined getting a call from Dr. Renze (J’s principal) because he was singing it to kids at school. (I have already received the F-word call which was not amusing.)
Mom: “That’s a good song.”
J: “Ya, I like it. What does he mean by your body is a wonderland?”
Mom: “It means he likes to have have sex with a girl.”
J: “Oh. It is still a good song though.”
Mom: “Yes, it is. I really like it too, but you probably shouldn’t sing it at school.”
I hope there is never a day that he isn’t afraid to ask me a question whether I like it or not!