Several years ago, I had a short essay published in an online magazine. It was a true story, and today, I’m going to share it with you. It’s the ‘sad’ story of how I learned that there are no secrets from children.
Much of motherhood flies by in a blur, while other things stand out as pure joy, extreme fear, or intense pride. Or, in my case, absolute mortification.
The day of “the incident’, I was sailing through the task of mothering two little boys and thinking things were going very well. They were happily occupied playing in their room and I was actually getting things done. I guess things were going too well. After almost four years, I should have known better.
I also should have gotten a lock box. But that comes later.
Parenting Tip #1: When they’re quiet, there’s trouble.
My husband and I were in the living room reading when my older son, Adam, entered. Being wise – not really – I had spaced my children close together. They are the best of friends. Because of this, my younger son, Drew, entered right behind his brother.
Now Adam has always been bright and mature, and sometimes his tone reminds me of a voice from my past. My mother, in my teen years.
I realized suddenly that he was glaring at me, with his hand hidden behind him.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, setting aside my novel and segueing into concerned mother mode. His hand whipped from behind his back.
“Momma, what extactly is dis.”
“Yeah, ma,” his little brother echoed.
Oh. My. God! I think my eyes rolled back in my head. Actually, I’m surprised I didn’t faint. If ever there was a time, this was it. How on earth did I explain? I had never even admitted to anyone that I had one of those.
As my husband — who had bought the “dis” by the way — choked with laughter next to me, I realized that my son held my pink, anatomically correct vibrator in his chubby little hand. His other hand on his hip, he stared at me, waiting for an answer. His brother struck a similar pose. Where is it written that the children get to gang up on their mother?
What they received as an answer was a particularly un-motherly shriek, and a “Give that to me!” That’s when my brain finally clicked back into gear. This wasn’t exactly something I left laying around. The last time I’d seen it, it was tucked safely in the back of my drawer under a pile of underwear. Once I’d put it back there, I returned to the living room and cornered my sons.
“What were you doing in my dresser?” I demanded. I’d told them often to stay out of my bedroom, a directive they patently ignored. I never expected them to go through the dresser drawers.
Parenting Tip #2: Always expect the unexpected.
Adam blinked up at me, full of innocence. “I was lost.”
I think I developed a twitch right about then. It reappears frequently – usually in conjunction with my older son.
Adam received a time out while I wished for valium. Triple strength. His brother went back to his room to play after I’d ferreted out that he was an innocent bystander in the mommy humiliation project. As soon as Adam was released from time out, he asked, “Momma, can I play wid your handcuffs? Why you hab dem anyway?”
Did I mention the water I was drinking and the fountain that resulted? He giggled maniacally, thinking I was just being funny, and begged me to do it again. I shooed him off to play, with the admonition to stay out of my bedroom.
I sank into my chair, my head in my hand. Visions of Adam performing the same “What is this?” stunt in front of company haunted me. What if he brought it up at my mother’s? At least he didn’t know what “dis” was called. I added a lock box to my shopping list.
Nothing more was said about “the incident”. I fell back into a state of mommy-bliss. It would take a few more occasions for me to learn mommy-bliss is a dangerous place. Thankfully, none of the subsequent occurrences involved the pink, anatomically correct vibrator or any similar device.
Except for one. Did I mention that it was anatomically correct? Perhaps not. So in case you missed it, it was anatomically correct.
Fast forward to a few days after the first “incident”. By now, I was hoping maybe Adam wouldn’t remember his foray into my dresser, that maybe he wouldn’t drag out my personal items in front of guests, and that maybe he wouldn’t be scarred for life. Lord knows, I would be.
Was it too soon for the birds and the bees talk? It was definitely too soon for the sex toy talk. Is there a sex toy talk? I can tell you, at this point, it’s a discussion I hope to never have.
Anyway, as I was dusting, I could hear my dear sons downstairs in the family room. As background, they had on a mommy-screened, child-friendly video. Only they weren’t watching it. Adam had decided to take the sex talk thing into his own hands. While I began to see black spots before my eyes, he talked earnestly to his younger brother.
“It’s not right to cut off penises and keep them in your drawer. . .”
The twitch was back.