Monday, January 6, 2014

The Polar Vortex

Tim went away for the weekend to be alone, to read, to catch up on his sleep.  He does this every year and I think it's great.  I support his need for solitude, I get it.  And sure, maybe I look forward to a weekend to rule over Netflix and pick movies that he would hate and not to feel that I am required to defiantly explain every mood swing I have and get to be in total control over the family schedule.  Yeah, breaks can be good.  

Besides what could go wrong while he's gone for a couple days?

Um, just a Polar Vortex/Blizzard that freaked out half the country.  
And a sex talk that I was completely unprepared to have.  

I don't want to write too much about the specifics of the talk because I don't want to embarrass anyone (mostly me).  But Friday night just as I settled in to catch up on the Real Housewives of Atlanta and Beverly Hills, one of my older kids came down to talk.  There were questions.  Questions about naked people.  Thank god I had just taken a Tylenol PM so I was a little calmer than normal.  

I had to talk about things like "natural urges" and use anatomically correct names for body parts.  It was surreal and horrifying.  I told the story of the first time I saw a naked man.  My friend Susie* had a much older sister.  That sister had a Play Girl magazine hidden in her room (really? why did she have that? I mean really!).  Susie, a few other girls and I snuck up to her room and took a good look at the magazine.  We screamed in horror and threw the magazine on the floor and ran back downstairs.  I was 10.  I was traumatized.

(*Susie is a fake name used to protect my friend who I am still friends with on Facebook's sister because come on, who wants to be outed for having Play Girl in their room.  I mean really!)

But I also didn't ever talk to anyone about it, ever.  I never asked my parents questions about naked people, sex, bodies and stuff like that.

I did tell my mother when I got my period for the first time.  Reluctantly.  She made a BIG deal about it, told me I was a woman now and that I needed to pick out a special dessert that she would make me in honor of womanhood.  I flipped through the cookbook she gave me and picked a fancy torte.  I picked it because I had never heard of or tried a torte and because it sounded like something a real woman would have.  My mother made the torte and we celebrated my period and my new womanhood as a family.  I was 12.  I was traumatized. (And I have never had a torte since that day.)

I don't want to traumatize my kids. But I can't even say "penis" or "vagina" without smirking.  I mean come on, how am I in charge of this kind of discussion?  I'm the lady whose phone goes off in church and Britney Spears' Toxic starts playing.  I'm the lady that posts silly pictures of herself dancing on YouTube.  Oh shit, I am already so traumatizing my kids.

Looking back, I remember one conversation my father had with me about being a young teenager.  He didn't get into any specifics by any means.  There probably wasn't even a whole lot of eye contact either.  "I would never want to be a teenager again, ever, it's hard," he said to me very seriously.

It is hard, especially the beginning.  When you're all mixed up.  When you're all I want to be a kid, is it okay to still want to be a kid? but what about all these feelings and "natural urges" and oh god I have to watch videos at school and I am I supposed to think this and feel that and I hate everybody and I love this cartoon but why can't I go see that movie just because it has a sex scene I know what that is you know? wait do I know what that is, oh why, what, ugh.  It sucks.

So the other night, I listened, I didn't judge, I explained, I loved.  I channeled every cool TV and movie mom I could think of to pull this off.  I was Diane Keaton in The Family Stone, Phylicia Rashad in The Cosby Show and Sally Field in Brothers & Sisters.  I stayed open-minded and calm.  I might have thrown in a few sentences about the objectification, victimization and over-sexualization of women in our society.  I mean there was an opening to plant the seeds of my liberalism/feminism and you better believe I will always take advantage of that.  But most importantly I was there.  

I hope all my kids come to me and talk about this because I am so ready.  Bring it awkward sex talks, I can handle it (I think).  I love that my kids feel safe and secure enough to talk to me about all the mixed-up-ness of life.  I truly, truly hope that never stops.  

The rest of the weekend was spent surviving the Polar Vortex.

At the library:

The library is one of the best places
in the world in my opinion.

The books I chose kind of sum up 
my whole heart and mind right now.  
And I watched a movie about Frida Kahlo this weekend 
because I know Tim would hate it.

In the snow:

The kids found a patch of ice in the yard and spent hours playing hockey.  And yes, that is an old sprinkler left out from the summer as one of the goal posts.

Tim should be home soon.  He got snowed in for longer than anticipated with the whole Polar Vortex/Blizzard and all.  While I handled things pretty well, I am ready for the break to be over.  I'm ready to settle in and watch whatever we both decide on Netflix and do this whole parenting gig together.


  1. Those outside photos just look so, SO cold. My body is in no way prepared for that kind of weather.

    You did a good job with the whole talk. I need to do the "bodies change as we grow up" talk with my nine year old because, well, her body is a changin'. I've been putting it off. I'm a wimp.

  2. OMG I don't want to think about the sex talk. Can I just pass it on to my husband?

  3. Hahaha. We already use anatomically correct names and I know my oldest is only 7, but he's really wiser than his age. I think he will start asking more specific questions sooner rather than later. I think I"ll be ready. But then again, we'll see! Love the photos.