Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Birds, Bees and TMI

A long, long time ago my kid watched the film that 5th grade educators called a "Growth Film”, but all the kids called the “Gross Film”.  Reading book after article after essay I nervously studied like an unwilling, unpaid intern for the Kinsey report, preparing for what I knew would surely be a marathon session of questions after school. Not hardly.  There would be no questions my child announced, as all the information the film had provided was perfectly fine.  Thank you, very much.  Elvis has left the building.

 

Not one to take this resistance to communication to heart, I pushed the matter over and over again, trying to pave the way for the critical back-and-forth interaction that all of my research had spoken about.  My cat and mouse approach to conversation continued for another three years until a junior high Teen Issues class pushed the envelope, when a well-meaning teacher handed out 33 blue lollipops and 3 red ones – then explained that the three kids had contracted a particular social disease and had infected all of the blue kids they’d had intimate contact with.  Whatever mortification had kept my child from speaking to me was now compounded in front of giggling peers, now whispering and making jokes about who’d been with whom.  This time, the after school questions (and tears) poured out into the evening.

It's a scary, high-wire act to balance on that fine line between adequate information and too much data to handle.  Recently, I heard a fabulous story that illustrated this more perfectly than I could have imagined.

A young mother drives around town one day, running errands with her tiny twins in the back seat.  One of their sweet little voices pipes up and says, “Mommy, what is the ‘F’ word?”  She’s mortified, but had always promised that when her kids asked the difficult questions, she wouldn’t lie to them.  She’d vowed to tell them the truth, no matter how difficult and with great discomfort, she slowly explained.

 

The second twin then immediately asks, “What’s the ‘S’ word?”  Now upset, wondering which older neighbor child, babysitter or (heaven forbid) kid in their preschool had said these words to her little angels, the mother calmly forged on, not wanting her kids to be ignorant victims of the ways of the world.  Taking great care to temper the information with what she felt was a firm enough lecture on why they could not use this sort of language, she sighed, hoping the worst was over.

 

She waited for the next question, but there was only silence in the back seat of the car.  It made her sad to think that her babies were taking time to absorb the harsh lesson, their tender hearts and minds already making heavy decisions about the difference between right and wrong.  Quietly digesting what she perceives as a monumental mommy moment, her thoughts are broken when both twins ask, “Then, what is the ‘I’ word?”

 

Now totally confused, the mother tips the rearview mirror down to see her rosy-cheeked children with a copy of the colorful Dr. Seuss ABC book between them, randomly pointing at the wacky, made-up Seussian words inside.

 

Yup, that’s clearly a classic case of too much information, right there.

 

Like everybody else, except maybe the Kinsey’s parents, I struggle with the whole birds, bees and kids thing, insofar as knowing exactly what to say and when to say it.  At this point in the game, I’m just trying to gauge it all by when their hearts soar too high or get unexpectedly stung.  Then, armed with what I now consider to be way too much information, off I go to try and administer what’s needed and, if I’ve learned anything … not a syllable, or consonant, more.

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