Eight years into it, and I'm still allowed to be a mother. I can't believe it. What kind of decision-maker approves me as a fit mother? Oh, that's right. God. God gave me this child. I'm sure this is when someone should throw the "God has a sense of humor" cliche' into the situation. "Dear God, can I please, please, please complete a thought today without interruption? Yes, I'm thankful for Monkey and all, but I really think I was supposed to get a quieter one. I mean all my life, I had said that I would have a better behaved child than everyone else. Remember?
"Oh. Yes. Humility. Thanks. I've learned that lesson and then some. You do remember the sex lesson in Kroger, right? I was humiliated. I promise. Lesson learned."
Yes, Rankin County, my Monkey is the one telling your kids about sex at school, but don't worry. He has it all confused, so he's not telling them anything factual. I'm that mother. Oh yes I am. He asks; I cough up an answer. Even if the answer is, "I don't know, but let's find out." I vowed to remain honest to the child from "Why is the grass green?" (chlorophyl) to "How exactly are you and daddy going to go about getting me a baby brother?" (immaculate conception).
This child began the brother interrogation at 6. He wanted a brother, he wanted one quick, and he wanted to know how to make that happen. I told him, very delicately, that a Mommy and a Daddy know how to make a baby. He was satisfied with that answer for that particular moment.
Then on one hot summer day, he announced oh so candidly, "Mommy! That lady by the pool has on a swimsuit like yours, but she has a baby in her belly, and you don't!" Oh, yes. He most certainly did. If inappropriate comments at the YMCA are not birth control, I don't know what is.
So I told him, again very delicately, about the sperm and the egg and the birds and the bees. I chose the biggest, most scientific words I could remember from biology, and he was quite satisfied with that answer for that particular moment. We continued our summer on a low-carb diet without a baby brother.
Monkey may lack social skills, but he is quite meticulous with his research, and I knew this brother dilemma had not been properly extinguished. Finally, and I kid you not, on the dog-food aisle of the grocery store, his synapses finally connect jjuuussst right, and he presents his case: "Mommy. I understand that the Mommy and the Daddy make the baby. I understand the baby comes from the Mommy's belly. I understand that you've got to get some eggs. But exactly how does the sperm get inside the vagina?"
Damn. I knew I was going to have to say the word. I knew I might have to say several words, including, but not limited to, penis, ovulation and gestation. However, I was truly hoping that the actual logistics of baby-making could be avoided until a later, more mature, age. In fact, I was hoping he would learn about intercourse from Judy Blume books like everyone else. But I'd made a promise to be honest, so I said it.
"Sex." I whispered. Then without a single breath, with the widest those blue eyes have ever expanded, he replies, "I knew it!" That's it. No more questions. Just, "I knew it!" That, my fellow mothers, was two years ago, and has sustained his curiosity to this day and is exactly why you should not worry about what he's telling your children. In fact, I'm worried about what your children are telling him. Up until that day, he was convinced that coed swimming could lead to pregnancy.
So I call BS on the idea that this mother gig gets easier as they grow up. He sleeps less than when he was an infant, he eats more than when he was an infant, and he can form opinions that are frequent and loud and shameless. He says things like, "Mommy, you are beautiful." Then he counters the statement a few days later with, "You are the worst mother in the world!" I can't imagine having more than this one, so it's a good thing I've stayed out of the swimming pool.
But we mothers always find some redemption in the journey. As I'm writing at this very moment, I've noticed some kid-looking penmanship in my journal.
"Once upon a time there was a mom that needed to laern to write the rite way. But she new how to spell. This is what she writes like..." (sic, of course) And the kid has replicated my serial-killer handwriting worthy of criminal investigation. I suppose I should enjoy the noise while I can and save the silence for later.
I hear you loud and clear, God.