nasty slang

Rachael is in Junior High now. This has brought a few challenges to our home. Last week in a fun-loving way she said "screw you" to a friend. I told her not to say it and she said it didn't mean anything bad. I told her it meant the same thing as "f---you." She said it didn't either.

I guess they went to school the next day and asked what it means. That evening they told me I was wrong. "F--- you" means what it says. "Screw you," means "hump you." This was supposed to comfort me and make me willing to let them say it.

I told them that all those expressions mean the same thing. They were amazed at my ignorance yelling, "Mom, no they don't. Everyone says 'screw you.'"

I countered, "I don't."

They let out wails of unbelief. I defended with "I know what humping is, I know what the 'f word' is, I know what screwing is; they are all nasty expressions for the same thing. Can we respect sex between a husband and wife enough to call is something besides any of those words?"

Hannah let out an exasperated sigh, "Mom, it's been eight years for you. Things have changed."

"Eight years?," I said.

She said, "YEEESSS! Eight years since Deborah was born. Things have changed."

pink parts

Frodo will be old enough to be neutered soon, and boy do we expect things to calm down around here. He keeps me emotionally-hopping answering questions provoked by his ungentlemanly ways.

With nose wrinkled in disgust, Hannah asked if something pink came out of Daddy's penis when he mated.

I was very very happy to say no. (It helped that she spoke in past tense. She thinks Daddy hasn't "mated" since Deborah was conceived).

sexual development

This morning Hannah came into the living room carrying Frodo. With her nose wrinkled and her lips turned down, she grimaced. "During the night, Frodo's penis got really hard and something pink came out. There were two balls on it too. It was gross!"

I smiled and said, "I guess our little Frodo is growing up."

Although we had lots of dogs growing up, I never paid any attention to the male dog parts. When Kent and I married, we went to Eureka Springs for our honeymoon. As we walked the streets enjoying the quaint shops, we passed an older gentleman walking his Bassett Hound. This Bassett was the Bassett that made me fall in love with Bassets. Although barely off the ground, he was massive. Kent and I laughed that his "thing" nearly dragged the ground.
(This is our Bassett Hound Granny. She was already named when we got her. 1999) 
Granny dogShortly afterward, Kent found some Bassets for sale and we took off to Little Rock to get one. We came home with Buford. Buford and I quickly developed a dysfunctional relationship. He was so sweet, but clearly he was the master and I his subordinate. I dressed him in his red bandanna and away he and I would go. He went berserk when we passed Sonic, so like the obedient servant I was, I'd whip in and buy two Pepsis; a medium for me and a large for Buford. He loved their cheese conies and would occasionally get one of those too. I loved Buford but didn't have a clue about training him. He was in control.

As he matured, I discovered two growths on his belly. I was terribly alarmed afraid they were tumors. They were sensitive to the touch. Kent came home to me crying one night; I was convinced Buford was dying. I sat on the sofa and Buford laid in my arms on his back. I told Kent about it and how sometimes they would get super big and how he would groan when I touched them.

Soon enough, the tumors got visible while Kent was home. I showed them to Kent and said, "Look, it hurts him when I touch them." I rubbed them and Buford groaned. "Do you think he'll die?" I touched them again, and again Buford groaned in pain.

Kent slapped my shoulder with the back of his hand and said firmly, "Would you stop that! You're turning him on."

I yelled defensively, "That's gross. I'm not either. Something's wrong with him. Look, can't you see the tumors?"

Disgusted, he replied impatiently, "Those aren't tumors, those are his lock-up knots. Dang Valerie, stop rubbing him. You've got him turned on."

I wasn't convinced Kent knew what he was talking about, but I stopped touching his "tumors." I made an appointment with the vet. Buford and I sat in Dr. Cress's office and I wondered how I would handle this. If he said Buford had cancer, would I have him put down that day, or would I take him home for "a little bit longer."

Finally it was our turn to go in. "Fine looking dog you got. What can I do for you?," Dr Cress asked. I said, "He's got two growths," I said as I put Buford on the table. At that moment, the growths weren't visible, so I said, "If you rub right here, they'll show." I demonstrated.

Dr. Cress punched around on Buford's stomach, looked in his ears, and for the finale put his finger in Buford's butt. "Your dog is fine. There nothing wrong with him," he said as Buford let out a pained yelp.

"But the growths? What are they?," I asked feeling like he'd heard nothing I'd told him.

"They're normal," he said as he handed Buford to me. "He ain't nuttin' but a pantywaist."

I learned later that a pantywaste is a sissy. I never took Buford back to Dr Cress. I thought Buford needed a more nurturing doctor, not one that called him names.

Months passed and Stephanie was born. That day, Buford became a dog. He was a dog I was fond of, but he was just a dog.
Years later when Gordon and I were in Victoria on our honeymoon, we saw a billboard with a huge Bassett on it. I told my new husband about Buford, my love for Bassett Hounds, and that it all started on my honeymoon with Kent when we saw the Bassett whose "thing" nearly dragged the ground. Gordon spoke slowly and sympathetically, "Poor thing, I know how he feels."

sex in the country part 2

(Me, 11th grade, 1983)
040_40I was a naive teenager. I worked night shift in a nursing home as a aid. One particular night as I did my rounds, an elderly, very elderly, man named Kermit (an unfortunate name, eh?) called me over to his bed. In his raspy old man voice, he said, "Why don't you climb on top of me and take a little ride."

I reiterate, I was naive (stupid?). I kindly rubbed his shoulders and tried to talk him out of his hallucination of thinking he was a horse. Don't you figure that gave new meaning to the expression, "sexually frustrated?"

When Hannah was three, she went through a very pronounced "spiritual" phase and was quick to bring God into every conversation.

(Rachael and Hannah, 2000)

Scan20186 - Copy

During this phase, the girls gathered around and watched studiously as I changed a baby boy's diaper. Rachael asked matter-of-factly, "What's that?"

"It's a penis. All boys have one, just like Daddy," I informed.

Rachael responded with animation, "Yeah, but Daddy's is HUUUUGE."

Not to be out-done, Hannah chided, "But not as huge as God's."

sex in the country

(Michael, 1st grade)
Little boy I grew up in a home where we didn't talk about the birds and the bees. I remember the day I discovered boy parts. I had seen them before, but I remember the day it "registered." Michael and I were in the bathtub. We were adept at changing identities with the help of Palmolive dish soap. With our bubbles we could instantly transform into Santa Claus or white-haired Brother Bowen at church. When we were feeling particularly risque`, we would slap two mounds of bubbles on our chests for breasts.

We didn't have real bath toys, but made our fun with cans, shampoo bottles, and occasionally a bowl or cup. On the day boy parts registered, Michael and I were playing when I noticed he had something that would go up and down in the bathtub waves. I was mesmerized by his "floaty." Michael noticed I was staring and he gingerly placed the brown Hershey's cocoa can it over his floating part. That was the last bath we had together.
I suppose all little girls are taken aback the first time they see the male anatomy. When Rachael, Hannah and Deborah were much younger, I fostered two little boys. The first time they saw Markus in the bathtub, Hannah exclaimed happily and in awe, "He's got jingle bells." Many months later they were exposed to Shaun. Two-year-old Deborah tilted her head to the side and with affection said, "Awhh, isn't that sweet?"

I have a young cousin who recently saw her grandpa at the toilet. She ran telling, "Grandpa has a tail!" Now when she observes him walking to the bathroom, she follows him and wails dramatically on the other side of the closed door, "I want to see your tail."

We mothers have come a long way in how we tell our kids the facts of life. I for one am happy we've made this progress. When I was a youngster I was given two books. They really screwed me up. After reading those books, I was ashamed to be among the human race.

The pictures of sperm resembled watermelon seeds, so I swore off the melon family for a few years. I watched in horror as others ate watermelon wondering if they would become pregnant by the seeds. Far as I know, no one did, but I wasn't taking any chances.

One of those insightful books said to make a baby, a husband and wife lay close to each other (a little understated, don't you think?) and gaze into each others' eyes. The sperm enters the female and joins her egg and a baby begins. After learning that, I developed darting eyes. I didn't want to inadvertently gaze into someone's eyes and get his sperm in me.
(Lawana (Tata) with Annabelle and Ezra, 2005)
Grandma Lawana, Annabelle, JulienYears passed and the grossness wore off some and was replaced by curiosity. Lawana, my trusted sister-in-law, became my personal supplier of information. Once she and I were at our local country corner store where we saw they had recently added Playgirl to their magazine selection. I was curious and I think Lawana was too, but she was more curious about my reaction than the contents of the magazine.

We stood around waiting casually for the few customers to leave and for Mrs. Weatherbe to busy herself with something out of sight of the magazines. When the coast was clear, I picked up a Playgirl thinking I knew what to expect. (Was I expecting to see men and women gazing into each others' eyes?)
The magazine fell open to a very large naked man. Freaked right out, I screamed and threw the magazine. Lawana laughed so hard she shook and Mrs. Weatherbe came running. I don't remember what I said to Mrs. Weatherbe, but to Lawana I formed a shape with my hands and said, "WHAT WAS THAT?" Lawana still shook with laughter.

"It was huge! Did you see it? It wasn't normal," I declared indignantly, as if I knew what normal was.

(Stephanie and Christopher 1989)
054_54Stephanie came along years later and surprisingly, gazing into someone's eyes had precious little to do with it. I was determined that I would not hand a book to my offspring to teach them about procreation and sex. I would save them from the dysfunction of darting eyes and watermelon-phobia.

She was an early bloomer in the awareness department. She started asking questions at three and I gave enough information to satisfy her questions. When I was pregnant with Christopher, her curiosity grew right along with my belly. I put on a brave front, using words that still make me blush. I was proud of my maturity and wisdom

The day arrived when she marched up and asked, "What do you do with your legs?" I don't know where my motherly wisdom and maturity were in those moments, but they clearly weren't giving me any inspiration. I toyed with telling her "a husband and wife lay close and gaze into each others' eyes....," but decided it wasn't good to lie.

I've given the same little sex education speeches to four other children since then, and never have I been asked, "What do you do with your legs?"

"Well," I began to answer slowly, still quite unsure what was to follow. "When you are old enough to have sex," I stammered, "you can take your legs off." She was satisfied, although awed, and I was relieved when she walked away.

Stephanie continued to be totally fascinated with the subject. (I'm sure that fascination is serving her well these days as a newlywed.) She told me a couple years ago (prior to getting married) as we laughed about the above conversation, "I'm still trying to figure it out what you do with your legs."

When she was 8, Gordon bought me a series called Wildlife Fact Files. I was intrigued and fascinated learning about the different creatures God created. I was thrilled when Stephanie appeared to be following in my interest and began spending hours reading it too. Later I figured out she was only reading the mating and breeding habits of all the animals.
(Deborah, Hannah, Rachael 2004, on hoodoos)
My girls on the hoodoo, Calgary ZooWhen Rachael, Hannah, and Deborah were a few years younger, we got their first hamsters. Chimpy a girl; Reepacheep, a boy. Chimpy was Hannah's and lived in her room and Reepacheep belonged to Rachael and lived in her room. When we were ready for baby hamsters, we put them in the same cage. For a few minutes we watched wide-eyed to see how babies are made. There were squeals of laughter (from the girls, not the hamsters) and expressions of "oh gross."

Since that little exercise -- that yielded eight more hamsters that the girls also watched be born -- the girls have been satisfied with their knowledge and haven't asked many questions.

The other night though, Hannah asked if so many sperm are released at the same time, "What happens if two sperm reach the egg at exactly the same time?" I pondered for a second or two and then said, "I really don't know, but it's a really good question."

She bounced off the sofa and did a gig like a football player after scoring a touchdown. With her arms raised, she yelled energetically for the sperm, "Tie game, tie game!"