As soon as Jenna stepped off the bus yesterday, she locked eyes with me and started bawling. Jenna, all of the sudden, is very emotional about things. It's weird--she's usually not that type of kid, but recently, she's a sobbing mess. I blame it on hormones.
I got she and Clairey inside the house, and Jen just turned and clung to me, sobbing some more. "WHAT is wrong, Jen?" I asked. Jenna tried to talk, but was practically heaving, so I looked at Clairey. "A girl on the bus was talking about the s-word. To ME," she said, very matter-of-factly. I immediately thought, "What, really, is there to say about shit?" Alas, I was wrong. "Shit?" I asked.
"MOoooommmm!!!" and then she whispered, "sex."
And here, my brain starts spinning---trying to recall what each of the girls know about sex. Jenna was still heaving, but managed to sputter, "She was talking to CLAIREY, mom!! She was telling MY LITTLE SISTER!" At this point, I realized that I needed to get the whole story, with no embellishments, and the truth. The only way to ensure I'm getting the truth, is to separate the two. The way I figure is, if I get the same story from both of them, separately, then either a) i'm getting the truth, or b) the co-conspired so quickly and accurately that I should be impressed. I was, however, rooting for the truth. I sent the Munch upstairs.
I sat Jenna at the kitchen table and started with, "Okay...calm down. Now, tell me everything that was said...you can tell me, and I PROMISE you, I will not get angry with you, okay?"
"So, what happened?"
"Well, on the bus, so-and-so was talking about having babies and said the 's' word. Clairey said that she saw that on Auntie Amy's tv when she first turned it on, but Auntie Amy changed the channel."
"Okay, so what did Clairey see?"
"Nothing. It was people kissing."
[WHEW!!!] "Okay...moving on...then what happened?"
"So-and-so told Clairey that that's how babies are made. That the mommy and daddy do SEX and that's how babies get into the mommy's tummy! And mom, she was telling CLAIREY!!"
--at this point, I am just thinking, 'why is this kid so upset???'-- "Alright," I said, "So...did she say something offensive?"
"YES!! MOOOOM!!! That is NOT how babies are made!" [at this point, my brain somewhat explodes, and I think, 'WTH??? I've thought now, for several years, that this kid knows how babies are made, I mean, for crying out loud, I've lived through the story of the 'lifecycle of a cheetah' Lord knows how many times...] "That's how they're made in the ANIMAL KINGDOM!!! WE ARE HUMANS! GOD PUTS BABIES IN THE MOMMY'S TUMMY!!!"
--break for tragic meltdown at the kitchen table. Replete with a film-noir-style collapse and huge, shaking sobs.--
I sat there, and let her cry for a few moments. I mean, if I were to open my mouth, I would have laughed. Hysterically. And not have been able to stop. So, I composed myself and said quietly, "Jen...it's the same. Humans are animals."
"But MOM. It is NOT the same! In the animal kingdom, the male mounts the female and growls at her and they are linked and they walk in circles while the male bites the female on the nape of the neck. It. is. not. the. same."
"Um...you are correct. There is no growling. And there is generally no walking in circles. But, it's pretty much the same thing. It all works the same."
Ensue more bawling and collapsing. So, I did what any mother would do: I made her explain the lifecycle of a cheetah and related it to humans. AND...problem fixed. Easy.
Next, I sent Jenna upstairs, and started grilling Clairey.
"So, what happened on the bus?"
"So-and-so was talking about sex and Jenna was crying."
"Okay, so what did you learn about sex?"
"That mommy's and daddy's do it to make a baby."
"What is sex?"
"What mommy's and daddy's do."
"How do they do it?"
"I don't know. They just do. I think they kiss."
Works for me. I'll save that explanation for another day.
So...with all that being said, I felt like I should let the other mom know that that conversation was happening on the bus. I just felt like, you know, I would want to know. And, thank God, I know this mom and feel comfortable talking with her. Also, I know her child well, so I was assured that nothing inappropriate was said--i just felt like it was a 'need to know' type of thing. So...I called the mom. And you know? I was so nervous. I felt like I was being that mom--you know, the one that thinks her kid can't handle a situation by herself, so you have to call and handle it for her--even though I knew that wasn't the case. But I felt like that anyways. Dammit.
The mom was super nice, and super understanding. I just let her know that I wasn't calling to tattle, but that a conversation was happening where Clairey was being educated about sex. She called back a bit later and said that her daughter said that that's not what happened at all. Argh. She asked if I would please ask Clairey exactly what was said so she, as a parent, could get to the bottom of it. Absolutely--i'd ask the same. So, I called Clairey (she was with her dad). I made her go to the bathroom and shut the door, then I asked her, "What, EXACTLY, did so-and-so say? And just so you know, she's very upset about it, so you better tell me the truth."
"She told me that mommy's and daddy's do sex to make babies."
"Is that all?"
Long pause......"She told me that she saw her mommy and daddy doing sex. But mommy, please don't tell on her. She said not to tell."
"CLAIREY. Did she tell you WHAT she saw?"
"Yes. She said she saw her mommy and daddy doing sex."
"But WHAT did she see?"
"Her mommy and daddy doing sex."
"Okay, thanks. And that's the truth? 100%? You're not keeping secrets?"
"No....but mommy? Please don't tell that I told."
(Just FYI--i lied to my kid. I had to tell the other mom.) And, I feel sure that was it. I mean, if it would have gotten into any more detail, Clairey would have told me. She's so stinkin' matter-of-fact about everything. So, I called back the mom, and let her know what Clairey said. Her answer when I told her about her kid seeing her having sex? The same one I would have had, "OH. GREAT."
A little while later, I got a text back where the mom said the little girl said she never said any of that. My thoughts? It honestly doesn't matter to me. Clairey knows the process of babies growing in the mommy's tummy. She even knows that sperm has to get to an egg. What she DOESN'T know, however, is how that sperm gets there. She had no idea about the mommy and daddy having to DO anythingto make a baby; so now she knows they have to do something, which is sex, which she thinks, is kissing. And THAT was the part I was concerned about. All's well that ends well.
And Jenna...well, Jenna now understands that the animal kingdom and humans mate the same. Minus the growling. Usually.
How does this end? I called the girls. I told them that sex is a normal topic to be curious about, and it's okay to talk about it--WITH YOUR PARENTS and NOT ON THE BUS. I also let them know that if it comes up again, simply to say, "We shouldn't talk about this without our moms or dads," and stop the conversation.
The part i'm thankful about: that it was a conversation between 3 little girls. My two, and another that I KNOW is a good girl and comes from good parents with good values. So I know that it was a 'clean' conversation, rather than a filthy one--know what I mean?