And just like that, I was apparently about to have “The Talk,” yeah that one, with my seven-year-old.
In mom groups on the internet and over funny meme threads, with girlfriends at brunch and at birthday parties in whispered groups, I had heard other moms talk about that magical day when they told their little ones on the cusp of becoming not so little about sex…about babies. Most of them though were girl moms. As a mother of all boys, I assumed that this task would fall upon my boys’ dads. It just made sense to me; akin to when we paired like with like in elementary school math groups — all the green teddy bear figures here, all the red here. The men will tell the boys about sex and I will be held harmless. This was a great plan in my mind. (Like most things that go there to live, it was largely based on nothing and had little to no factual evidence.) So, any time my opinion was asked, I’d flippantly laugh and say, “Not this ole girl y’all! That’s what the daddies are for!” Oh sweet summer child.
For a few days, I told my son I was just thinking about how to best say it in a way he would understand. (I was actually hoping he’d forget/wondering if I could call Dr. Drew on Loveline/planning a solo move to the Caribbean.) After about three days, he asked again. This time in the car. I had no escape. I began to weigh my options:
1. Just be an adult and tell him — good God woman why are you the way you are?
2. Call his dad! Yes! Brilliant! Why didn’t I do this sooner, duh?
As I waited for his dad to pick up, a text came through. “Boss is here. Can’t talk, but I can text. You ok?” Crap. He was out for the foreseeable future.
With option one glaring at me square in the face, I did what any rational adult would do and tried to put the conversation off even further:
“Awww, bud. Your dad can’t talk right now! He’ll have to tell you later!”
“But…I’ve waited for three days mom. I want to know now. This isn’t fair.”
Suddenly, a third option came into my head. I could just jump out of my car on I-40 like Tom Cruise in a Mission Impossible movie. As I maneuvered into the left lane, eyeing the perfect tuck-and-roll spot in the grassy median, a far more rational thought popped into my head: “I’ll call my mom.”
What you need to know here is that my mom — aka Mimi — has been a nurse for about 35 years. As Walker asked over and over to be told where babies come from, I was taken back to a time when, as an eight-year-old, Mom and I were sitting in the driveway of our condo and she said to me, “I think you’re old enough to know about sex.” In the following fifteen or so minutes, my mom laid out the most factual, clinical, and sterile description of sex ever to be told to a child. I was horrified and thoroughly grossed out. If this was sex, I wasn’t sure why all the people on my Nana’s soap operas looked so happy to be topless in bed together. I remember telling her grown ups were gross, and that I couldn’t believe she and my dad did that once to have me. (Bless.)
I also vaguely remembered that she had actually already done this for me before. When I was in the hospital, having my now two-year-old a few years ago, my oldest (now nine) asked her how Finn got in and out. She told him, and then called me. Awash in epidural and fresh baby glow, I could have cared less what she told to whom.
This was it. Mimi was my get out of (sex) jail free card.
“Mom. Hey. Walker wants to know how Finn got in me. He’s asking where babies come from. You gotta tell him.” As I threw my phone to the third row of my SUV, I was filled with a lightness I hadn’t felt in some time. “Hey bud! Mimi wants to tell you!” When they hung up, he looked at his older brother and said, “Whoa.” To which my oldest said, “Yeah. Gross, huh?” And just like that all my fretting was over.
Life is hard. Parenting is hard. I’m not a prude by any means, but this conversation was a hard thing that I just really hadn’t made space for. I know some of you are judging me and, hey, I cannot blame you one bit. But I literally have a walking, talking WebMD at my disposal and I took advantage of it. Modern problems require modern solutions, after all. “The Talk” came up in a mom group I was in a few weeks ago. There was the usual mix of “Just be honest! They need to hear it from you!,” along with the, “Oh my God I can’t ever have this conversation with mine,” sprinkled into the mix. And then there was me: “My mom told my kids about sex. She’s a nurse. 10/10 recommend.”