When I was a kid, my parents had this policy that you could ask anything and get an honest answer. It went hand in hand with another policy of theirs, which was you could use any word as long as you knew what it meant. They'd quiz you occasionally too, just to make sure you were paying attention.
"What's 'pissed off' mean, Karin?"
"It means perturbed."
I was a bit precocious.
My parents rarely used the parental copout/freakout/I-don't-want-to-talk-about-this card of "I'll tell you when you're older." So I probably would have learned about sex pretty early no matter what.
But as it turned out, I learned about sex from the movie Porky's.
I was 4 or 5. In 1984, movies were a big treat. You couldn't just watch pop one in the DVD player at any time. You had to see it at the theater, or you had to wait for it to come out on network television. Most mommies reading this were probably born after 1984 so I'm giving a reference to the times. Not like before TV times, (we weren't crowded around the radio listening to fireside chats, I'm not that much older than you all,) but before VCRs and DVDs.
The one exception was hotels. Hotels had pay-per-view and you could order movies. Which was exciting and fun and how my parents got my brother and I to get along for a couple of hours so they could go to dinner without us. They left us in the room with instructions that we could order a movie. We could watch whatever we wanted, EXCEPT NOT Porky's.
So, of course, we watched Porky's.
My brother and I did not often get along as kids. So when we conspired to keep this a secret from my parents, I was all in. I was NOT telling that we'd conspired to watch an R movie. I kept it a secret for quite a while. I'm not sure how long it really was. But in 5-year-old-land, it was a long time.
But then one day where-babies-come-from came up. And I said I knew where babies came from. My mom decided it was time for a quiz. This time I was not so successful in my precociousness.
"Ok, Karin. Tell me, where do babies come from. Tell me what you know."
I cried for fear of being in trouble. I wasn't. I told. Babies come from when two people take their clothes off and rub up against each other.
My mom had "the talk" with me then and there. She used proper terminology like "penis" and "vagina" and told me the whole deal.
She forgot to tell me you don't get pregnant every time. It was years before I found that part out. Which meant I was really confused as to why all these "accidents" happened.
The process of pregnancy and miscarriage and childbirth and parenting can be like that. You think you know, but then you find out something no one ever told you about. I'm thinking of taking a break from this blog to write about all the shit no one tells you. I'll be dropping it off here. I'll collect stories from anyone who'd like to share (anonymously or guest postings welcome.) I'm thinking this could grow into a book so I'll be testing some ideas out on the new blog and will appreciate any feedback. Feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org