Friday, September 16, 2011

The Joys of Sex (October 2010)

Maybe it is all about sex as Mr. Freud would have it. Sex, as in gender, is the first thing we know about our babies and the first prompt for our presumptions about their personality and behavior. I can only assume this is why that couple in Canada has decided to bring up a gender neutral child. Good luck!
As a parent you are forced to talk about sex almost as soon as your kid pronounces his or her first word. First we name the body parts that pee and poo and reproduce. It was already hard enough for me to say wee instead of pee and poo instead of poop (Poor Winnie, what did he ever do?). So then I tell Mister Baby that he has a penis but he says he has a willy and insists that I have one too. “No, I really don’t. See?” I say in the bath. “I have a vagina.”
To a six-year-old boy there are no funnier words than poo, bum, willy, fart, etc. and they are great fodder for insults. “Poo-poo head ,wee-wee bum,” one clever little boy will say to which his cohort will respond, “you’re a wee-wee, poo-poo -willy-bum head.” The girls are by no means exempt. When little Renee was given anatomically correct information she put it to good use. Unfortunately she did so at a friend of her mother’s house, a friend who is particularly reserved. The girls were playing nicely upstairs while the mothers drank tea downstairs. The girls thought it would be funny (after a stage whispered conference) to call the moms names. Down the stairs came “Poo head,” followed by giggles and, “Mommy you’re a vulva head!”
Every parent has to decide what they tell their children and when - although why anyone would call anything a front bottom is beyond me. It is not my job to hand out reproductive information to five year olds, especially other people’s five year olds. However, like many other rules, this is one I have transgressed. In my defense I must point out that this lapse occurred in the midst Dante’s forgotten tenth ring of hell that is Disneyland Paris, located between the circles of greed and rage.
We were a party of five, Mister Baby and I, my friend, her daughter and her daughter’s friend, Francesca. After a nerve-fraying day of lines and whines, we gorged ourselves on monstrous towers of cotton candy (another line). Francesca and I needed the loo (another line) and, probably inappropriately, she and I used the same toilet, as I often do with Mister Baby. While I was weeing, Francesca asked me what the box on the wall was for. “Well, women’s bodies prepare to have a baby every month and if they don’t, our bodies get rid of the extra stuff they don’t need and blood comes out. We use a pad to soak it up and they go in there.” Somehow I knew that this was a no-no, which my friend confirmed, scolding, “It’s up to her mother to tell her about that.”
Yes, it is, so why hasn’t she told her yet? It’s not like she’s two! She’ll be a pregnant teenager in eight years, hurry up! Instead, she lets her go to the make believe world of Disneyland where the ‘Parade of Dreams’ is accompanied by the sound of children’s imaginations being sucked out of their heads and replaced with sexism, consumerism and diabetes!

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