22 February 2008


There are events every parent dreads- yet expects- will happen. Like the kid who asks why that man is so fat- in front of that man. Or repeats something unsavory you said about the neighbor. Today I exited the shower to find the kids playing tug-o-war with my vibrating dildo. Moments before, when it became suspiciously quiet, I peeked around the curtain and saw Otto waving a naughty feather duster. Hastily rinsing only half of the conditioner, I told the kids to stay out of mommy's drawer and rehearsed all the answers to all the questions I would hear. The experts recommend preparing for such challenging times. Scripting your answers just in case. Like when the 4 year old walks in and sees naked Mommy on top of naked Daddy and asks, "What are you doing?"

I am very interested in raising sexually healthy future adults. I want to my children to have confidence and pride in their bodies. I want them to learn to love in their own ways. I read a great book on the subject before I was even pregnant. Every day at work, I hear and give advice on the intimate details of a wide variety of sexual issues. I love asking my 70 year old patients if they are sexually active. Stella knows what her vulva is and that touching it is a private affair. And yet, I was wholly unprepared to see the Blue Ripple in Stella's hands and the speed controller in Otto's.

"What's this, Mama?"


"Give it to me."

"What is it?!"

"It's a tool. Give it to me."

"What kind of a tool?

"It's a tool that Mama hasn't used in a long time. Let's put it back in the drawer now."

I walked out of the bathroom and saw the contents of one bedside drawer strewn on the floor. Things I honestly forgot were there, but instantly knew I should have put under lock and key long ago. Edible Undies. Liquid Latex. A colorful volume on intimate massage. The naughty feather duster.

"Is this a pompom?"

"Yes, it is!"

"Can I play with it?"

"Right now you can."

I replaced the toys with a mix of emotions. Here I was in one of those Moments I had waited for, albeit earlier and different, of course. I felt sure I would be the mother who could talk with her kids about sex. I would give them the information they needed to make safe and healthy choices. I would make sure they felt comfortable asking tough questions. Yet here I was putting away sex toys I received at my bachelorette party, mostly unopened and waiting six years in that drawer for what? Time? Inspiration? Boredom? Six years. And who finally plays with them? My children. And how did I answer the questions? It's a tool? Yes, it's a pompom? You can play with it. Geez.

So we haven't used the toys in years. Texans waited how long to be able to buy butt plugs without breaking a law? It's not that I think sex toys make sex better, or that sex without toys is boring. I'm bothered by the waste. The waste of drawer space. The fact that they sit there when someone else would love to play with them (and I don't mean my children). That they were well intentioned gifts gone stale. And know I know for sure the time to use them has passed. If we can't get some action in the 10 minutes before I pass out, then forget it. It's comical to think there's time for role playing or cleaning the "tools." But can I give them away on Freecycle? Sell them on Craigslist? Drop them off at the Salvation Army? If you, gentle reader, want a tub of paint-on latex clothing or a bright orange soft rubber whip, let me know. My girlfriends were generous.

But the other emotion is joy. Everyone always says that kids call us on our own shit. Help us to see ourselves. Help us laugh at ourselves. You can't hide a bad day from a teen or fake listening to a toddler. And you can leave it to a one year old who will open any drawer and his question asking sister to remind you that you don't need a drawer full of sexy toys to feel sexy. You don't need edible undies to feel consumed. But you do need some clever answers pretty darn quick if you don't want the whole preschool to hear about it in your 3 year old's version of events.

So I'm back to the drawing board. What will we say that time we forget to lock the door? Will it ever be wrong to dress or shower in front of the kids? And what if we differ on these answers, how will we be ourselves? How will our words and body language affect their sexual development? The drawer was a warning, a practice session for the foibles ahead.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Well, a blogging colleague! it's been fun to read some of those motherhood "moments"... my own 3-yr-old waves her own pretend "tampin" around in the air for some of the most recent fantasy play... so you can tell how successful I am at getting alone time in the bathroom.
How about (to buy a little time): "It's a back massager"? After all, the smiley woman on the front of the box would have us believe that's all that's inside.