*Editor's note: If (clean) discussion about male/female anatomy or sex talk makes you queasy, I encourage you to skip this post.
John and I made an executive decision recently to give Patrick "The Talk". After he and Christopher felt perfectly comfortable urinating in the great outdoors while Meaghan and Mary Bernadette entertained a few female companions nearby, I realized Patrick needed a Big Picture explanation as to why it's not appropriate for boys to expose their private parts in public.
John and I both knew this day was coming--the day where we'd regale Patrick with the spiritual and biological facts about human sexuality-- and we've been preparing for it. For the last few months, I have been casually reading Beyond The Birds And The Bees: Raising Sexually Whole And Holy Kids by Greg and Lisa Popcak and we also have been contemplating ordering the Passport to Purity program. But after the peeing incident, we decided we needed to initiate the conversation and give him some cold hard facts ASAP.
"Besides," I said to John, "the sex talk isn't a one time discussion. It's the first of many. Let's just get the conversation going."
John agreed and so off the Father/Son pair went to discuss the basics of sex and reproduction over a cold Coca-Cola.
It went swimmingly, or so we thought.
When he got home, Patrick burst into my room where I was watching television and announced,
"Mom, babies are a miraculous gift from God. A gift, Mom! Your body makes a baby because the sperm from a man's bodyand an egg from a woman's body connect. It's incredible! I can't believe how it all happens!" he said.
"Wow! That's right, Patrick. I'm so impressed. Your talk with Dad went well, huh?" I said, just as John entered the room.
"It was great. I learned a whole bunch of important things that the younger kids shouldn't know about yet. I appreciated Dad talking to me about it," he said. Patrick looked up at John and grinned.
"I really liked going with you, Dad. Thanks," he said.
John hugged Patrick and I marveled at John's superior parenting skills.
"You know, Patrick, over the next few years, you are going to have lots of questions. Don't be afraid to ask us those questions. It's better to ask us, than the kids on the playground. We know more than they do, anyway," I said.
John nodded while I spoke these important words.
"Yeah, Patrick," he said. "This isn't the only time we're going to talk about this stuff. But, now you know you can come to me if you need to."
After Patrick left our room, I congratulated John on a job well done. There are so few moments in parenting where John and I feel like we can pat ourselves on our parenting backs, where we feel reassured that we are not utter failures at growing these people God has entrusted to us. I told John this and we gave each other a high five. We basked in our small moment of parental glory when we heard a knock on the door and Patrick re-entered our room.
"OK," he started, as he closed the door behind him. "I do have just one more question."
John and I nodded enthusiastically.
"No problem, son," I sad. "What is it?"
"Well, I don't actually understand how it all happens. You know...I mean, I don't get how the man's penis knows to go through his pants and underwear and through the woman's pants and underwear and into her vagina. It's confusing," he finished.
I looked at John.
"Ummm, I think he you may have missed some important details in your lesson," I said to John.
"Nope," he answered. "We covered this. I promise."
The message, however, was lost in translation. And thus, our flame on the brightly lit candle signifying we are the World's Best Parents was quickly extinguished (again!) and we were forced to start the discussion over.