All I remember is that it started with sperm. There I was, frying up some egg sandwiches and before I knew what was happening, there were giggles and roars and it dawned on me that the boys were using the word sperm in their banter. Third and fifth grade. Terrific. The thing is, I probably should’ve seen it coming – just last week one came in to rat on the other that he’d just been accused of having a mangina (you know, instead of a manhood).
I took a breath. I can do this, I thought. I’ve done it before. A couple of years ago while driving around with my then-fifteen-year-old he referred to someone as a douche bag. (Flash-forward to today and this word has appallingly become part of the teenage vernacular, used in movies and television and sooooo not a big deal. But back then it was merely on the horizon and I was aiming to halt it.) In the best smart-ass-y voice I could muster, I asked,
“Hey, do you even know what a douche bag is?”
“No.” was his shrugged response.
“Well,” I started cheerfully, “it’s actually a bag of cleaning fluid a woman squishes up into her vagina to clean it out.” Cue in wide grin. “Cool, huh?”
He would’ve jumped out the car window had he not been temporarily struck by mortification paralysis. But I think it went well: I never heard the word come out of his mouth again.
So apparently here was my déjà vu. I had to dish out some more blunt, in-your-face reality but I was ready. I was the master. This was going to be cake. Plus, as an added bonus, I had BOTH of them right there – I wasn’t going to have to go through this twice. I looked at the two of them and began.
What I said was, “Do you even know what sperm is?”
What they heard was, “Unleash the titans.”
I spent the next twenty minutes fielding their questions…. and then extinguishing their subsequent fits of laughter at my responses. When they weren’t falling off the counter stools in hysterics they were squealing at situations and scenarios only little boy brains conjure up – mostly involving hot dogs.
Good God. All this and an explanation of porn before ten in the morning.
I did my best, answered truthfully and stressed the seriousness of taking all private matters well, seriously. It’s a tough paradigm shift: Kids are exposed to so much junk in such comedic ways it’s no wonder they think every sexual scenario is out of a “Superbad” movie.
Chivalry may be dead but now modesty is on a respirator. Good times for kids.
So it was a morning for the books. And — for Mom getting through it — an evening for Bud Light.
For the record, the discussion didn’t end at the kitchen counter. My husband found a reason to grab my 10-year-old for a Sunday car ride and got through a much needed follow-up-father-son discussion without the added distraction of a younger brother (or – cringe — food references).
And alas, before the weekend came to a close, that crazy karma came sniffing around again.
“Mom, I have a question…..” My son’s voice trailed off when he noticed his brother within hearing distance. I gently inquired if it was a question which might be best asked in private. “I don’t know… I just don’t understand a word.”
“It’s okay, just ask.”
“What does douche mean?”
I straightened my shoulders and flipped my hair.
I got this.
Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and has been featured in HuffPost. She appeared in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements. (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook & @Eyerollingmom on Instagram. Her collection of essays, A Momoir, can be found here