That same school year when my daughter informed all the kids on the playground that I was a porn star, I came home from work and found her looking through the B volume of the encyclopedia. Yes, this was before Wikipedia.
She flipped the pages with a very intense look on her face.
“What are you looking up?” I asked, happy that she had resorted to actual research before asking for my help.
“Oh, nothing,” she said.
“It has to be something.” I tried to peak at the book, but she moved it from my line of vision. “Or you wouldn’t be reading that book.”
“I’m looking up something about Buster, okay?”
Buster was our love bird who sat in the corner of the living room. Most of the time he chirped up a storm. Today, he did look a bit off, and unusually quiet.
“What are finding out?” I asked.
She shrugged. And kept turning the pages. A few minutes later, totally exasperated, she tossed the book down and looked up at me.
There was a question sitting on her face. An important one.
The way she said my name confirmed my suspicions. Her question had nothing to do with actual birds. But more to do with the birds and bees.
“The kids at school were talking about something called a blow job,” she said. “The boys keep sticking things in their mouths and laughing. They said it’s something that wives do to keep their husband’s happy. Do you know what they meant?”
Did I ever! But we’d already had misunderstandings when it came to my place of employment, so I sat down next to her and began the first of many “talks.”
“Well, first off,” I said. “You won’t find it under B.”
Being one for calling body parts and sexual functions by their proper names, I told her the act the boys referred to was called fellatio. And as tactfully and simply as possible, I explained what that meant.
“Eeew.” She covered her mouth. I could tell it was a difficult image to swallow. (She didn’t know the half of it.)
She absorbed as much as she wanted. I quit explaining when I realized her attention had waned from the subject.
Which is how I feel parents should approach the topic of sex. Answer your child’s questions. Simply and honestly. Don’t give more information than they want or can handle. Believe me, there will be plenty of these discussions as the years go by.
Satisfied with her new knowledge, she walked over to Buster.
“But I do want to know why he’s so sad,” she said.
“Well, he’s a love bird,” I explained. “He really needs a mate.”
As I walked away I heard her tell Buster not to worry. He would be happy every day, because soon we would be getting him a wife.
Right then I knew we needed another talk.
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