Saturday, October 13, 2007

Yes Chaim, There Is No Tooth Fairy


As you all know, I have a beautiful, bright, little boy. DB asked me about the birds and the bees a year ago. Jack recently wrote about his experience with telling his son about sex. It seems that every child says, "EEEEEW." DB continued with "You did that with Daddy?!?!?!"

Let me be clear I did not bring up the subject. DB asked as I was putting him to bed one night. That's when I get most of the questions that take longer than five minutes to answer; be they existential, involving world peace, about divorce or sex. I thought (and hoped) that he would just accept a one sentence answer to his question, " How did Aunt_____ have a baby?" As the experts advise, you should only answer the exact question asked. Don't volunteer information because if the child wants to know more they will ask more.

So I responded with, "The baby was inside her the way you were inside of Mommy and then the baby came out." I didn't expect DB to continue with his questioning. "Did the baby come out like me?" "Nope, the doctors had to open Mommy up and take you out. You were stuck."

Then DB's wonderful reasoning processes took over. "So how did the baby get out of Aunt ____?" I believe in using correct names for the parts of the body with DB because I want him to be able to be comfortable talking to his doctors and wife when he grows up. I know a lot of married friends have major issues with talking to their husbands and vice versa.

When I gave DB the answer, his eyes grew wide. "Really?!?!" "Yes, that's how Hashem makes it happen," is what I responded. He kept going, "How did the baby get there?"

I knew we were getting closer and closer to the real stuff. I talked to myself and said, "Just answer him without hesitating or being embarrassed. The way you answer now will set the precedence for all future sex talks. It's obvious that he feels comfortable asking you instead of his father. He trusts you to tell him the truth. Don't betray that. You don't want him going to his friends to find out that 'you can't get a girl pregnant the first time, etc...' ."

I took a deep breath and only answered his specific question, "There's an egg and a sperm. They meet inside the mommy, join, and a baby starts to grow." He was quiet for a moment and I thought I was out of the woods. BUT THEN, "How does the sperm and egg get there?" "The egg is in the mommy and the sperm comes from the daddy." I was trying my best to hold him off, but it was futile.

Then DB asked the all important, "How does the sperm get inside the mommy?" I answered with exact terms. And after he asked a couple more questions I got the "eeeew" response.

"Do animals do that when they mate?" DB's an animal freak and if he has a choice would watch Animal Planet or The Discovery Channel all day. It would follow that he would ask that question.

He then proceeded to ask me the same questions several more times. I think it was for the sake of trying to trip me up because he didn't quite believe me. Then he said "I can't wait to tell cousin #1 and cousin #2 how they got their baby." OMG!!!!

Hashem was definitely with me on this one. My brain was in shock and most definitely couldn't think fast enough for this answer, "Sex involves private parts that you don't show anyone so you don't talk about them with other people because it's private. Not to your cousins, and most certainly not to your friends at school. Their parents will explain it to them the way I did for you."

No, I'm not that naive to think that DB will never talk about sex with "the guys." It's just not appropriate for him to do so now. Plus, I don't feel like receiving irate phone calls from twenty parents.

I repeated myself a bunch of times until I was sure that he understood completely. I explained that he wasn't supposed to tell children about sex the same way he wasn't supposed to tell them that there really wasn't a tooth fairy.

When DB got his first loose tooth at the early age of five. I excitedly informed him that when it fell out of his mouth he would put it under his pillow and in the morning he would find some money from the Tooth Fairy.

"Nuh uh, Mommy. There is no such thing as the Tooth Fairy." I couldn't believe he said that. I tried to feel him out in case he was testing me and I asked him if someone told him that or if he heard some big kids saying it. He told me no and I said to him that of course there is a tooth fairy. He adamantly responded, "NO! There isn't."

The time came for me to ask how he knew there wasn't one if that was really the case. "Becuz fairies only exist in 'chanted (enchanted) gardens and there's no such thing as 'chanted gardens."

I started coughing to hide my laughter. This kid was unbelievable! "OK DB, then who puts the money under the pillow?" He rolled his eyes at me (first time that took place) and answered "parents do," in a tone that said "just how dumb do you thing I am?"

This took place while we were driving to school. We had this conversation through the rearview mirror. We were nearly there, and I had to make sure that he didn't ruin this for any other children. I emphatically said that just because he figured it out did not mean that he was allowed to tell any of his friends. They would figure it out for themselves when they started losing their teeth. "I know, Mom," once again with that same tone and rolling eyes.

Back to the reason for this post, What do you men or women plan on telling your sons or have told your sons about masturbation? The day after DB and I had the sex talk I went out and got two good books.

How You Were Born by Joanna Cole (a reading rainbow book) no mentioning of how the sperm and egg get together, and What's The Big Secret? Talking About Sex With Girls And Boys by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown of Arthur fame. This book is more explicit, but also deals with good and bad touches. The thing is it brought up masturbation. I kinda skipped over that part 'cause I wasn't sure how to deal with it.

Personally, I don't think that it's wrong in anyway, and I don't want DB to grow up feeling guilty for doing it. I believe that would just lead to him thinking that his body and sexuality is not beautiful. I want him to feel comfortable in his skin and not to feel ashamed for thoughts or actions that cannot be prevented. I also want him to have a happy and fulfilling marriage and sex life.

There are so many posts out there that deal with being shomer negiah, sex, the singles crisis (XGH, PL, Curlygirl), but I haven't really found that many about masturbation I want to know how you other OJ's whether MO's, RWOJ's or even Chassidish people plan on telling your sons when they ask and are of age? Do you also believe that it is wrong for girls to masturbate and why?


MizEllie said...

Good for you for dealing with his questions in a straightforward manner! And I'm guessing future generations of women will thank you too for training him to be able to discuss sex openly and without embarrassment.

come running said...

Thanks, I try. I do know that the woman who marries him will be very happy. He holds open doors, helps clean, takes out the garbage, and is learning to thank the cook for the yummy food he eats.

Rafi G said...

what? there is no tooth fairy??? my kids better not read this post.