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Joey and I had something of an argument yesterday morning. This happens occasionally. My youngest is growing up with rather strong opinions and he does not hesitate to express them. Sometimes inappropriately, but I tend to cut him some slack because he's still working on the whole concept of social relationships.
It started when I realized that he was streaming YouTube videos of other people playing Mario Brothers games. I was trying to explain to him why watching other people play video games on his computer screen would rot his brain and he said, "But, Mom. Doesn't watching TV rot your brain?" And he was pretty indignant about it. And shut my mouth, cause I am way too guilty of turning on the television for distraction and surfing the approximately 900 channels we have with nothing decent on any of them.
The argument did not go well. It ended with my telling him in exasperation that I did not want him streaming videos on his computer that were of other people playing video games because I thought it was a complete waste of bandwidth and him crying, with his entire body (including his head) under his quilt after shutting off his laptop.
I went downstairs to tell Justin about it and, by the time I had gotten downstairs, I had decided that life is way too short for me to argue with my youngest son about his watching other people play video games when my greatest form of entertainment right now is Facebook. To which I am probably addicted. So I went back upstairs and said, "Forget everything I just said. You can watch the Mario Brothers videos on your computer. Just don't do it all day."
It occurred to me later that YouTube was also the source of (probably) every bad video my older two sons got their hands on behind my back when they hit puberty, so I needed to set some guidelines as to what Joey is and isn't allowed to watch on there. Time to talk about what my 12 year old's computer is allowed to have on its screen.
Why do the sex talks always happen when Justin is somewhere else? The first one was when Joey wanted to know about babies when Justin had left for the entire day to go to a Redskins game. I was texting him furiously that since I handled the birds and bees discussion with the older two, it was not fair that I had to talk to Joey too. He texted back something to the effect of "haha" and I had to figure out what to say on my own.
I thought that I had skirted this issue a few days ago, when Joey asked me how the babies came out and I had to explain how girls have vaginas and boys have something else. No, I could not look into his eyes and say the word "penis." I have to get better at this. He was amazed that something as big as a baby could come out of a some unknown place between a woman's legs and then we got onto the whole "did it hurt when you had ME?" conversation. Oy.
Yesterday afternoon, I was taking Joey to buy new shoes and I needed to stop at the office supply store for some school supplies. While we were in the car, I figured that was as good a time as any to try to set some parameters on the YouTube watching, but I was in way over my head before I could get to the word "sex"...mostly because I didn't want to actually say the word "sex."
(Just for the record, I got through the "talk" pretty well with the older two, but they never looked at me once during the conversation and not for several days after that. Actually, come to think about it, they may still not be meeting my eyes when I talk to (at?) them.)
Conversation in the car with Joey:
Me: Joey, you have to be really careful with YouTube. There are things on there I don't want you looking at.
Joey: Like what?
Me: Well, adult things. Do you know what adults things are?
Joey: You mean swearing. I can't say those words until I'm 18.
Me: Well, those too. But didn't they talk about puberty last year in health class?
Joey: Yeah, they did.
Me: Did they tell you your body is going to be changing and you may feel weird sometimes? That's the hormones.
Joey: Yes. I'm going to get taller.
Me: Well, yes, when you go through puberty, your body will change in ways that might seem strange to you and you will start thinking about things that might confuse you. Those things aren't something you should look at on YouTube.
Joey: Like what?
Me: Why do I always have to talk about this when your father isn't here????
Joey: I don't know. (Very puzzled.)
Me.: Okay, did you read the part of that encyclopedia you have that I told you to read? (My last ditch attempt to skirt this discussion entirely.)
Me: Did you understand it?
Joey: Yes. Well, sort of. It tells how babies are made.
Me: But do you really know what has to happen to make a baby?
Me: (Oh, crap.) Okay, well there's a word you've heard all over television and in movies and it's all over the internet. It's an adult word. Do you know what it is?
Joey: If it's an adult word, I can't say it until I'm 18. So, I'm not going to say it. I can't say swear words.
Me: It's not a swear word. And it's okay for you to say it here if you want to talk about it with me.
Joey: I don't know what the word is.
Me: (Dammit) The word is "sex." Have you heard it?
Joey: Oh, yeah, that word. It's on TV all the time! (This from a kid who actually does not watch television.)
Me: Yes. It happens between boys and girls after they go through puberty. It usually starts with kissing a girl.
Joey: Ewww, Mom! I'm not ready to kiss a girl. I don't want a girlfriend!
Me: Yes, I agree. You are too young to have a girlfriend. But I want you to know all about what happens when you do have a girlfriend, so you will be prepared. When you have sex, you can make a baby, so if you ever have a girlfriend and think you want to have sex, you have to be careful so that she doesn't get pregnant. (By now, he is probably thinking that kissing a girl will get her pregnant. Should I tell him to use a mouth condom?)
Joey: Because babies shouldn't come unless you're married.
Me: Yes. You should wait until you get married.
Joey: Well, I'm too young to even think about getting married and having babies.
Me: I know, you are way too young to even have a girlfriend, but the thing is that I don't want you watching certain things on YouTube. You need to know that anything that says sex or has XXX on it or girls
Joey: Or X?
Joey: Or double X?
Joey: Because that's for adults?
Me: Yes. And if you have any questions about anything specific, I want you to come to me or Dad (please go to Dad!) and ask us, okay? Because what you see on the internet is not really what love is and you should love any person you have sex with.
Joey: Okay. And I shouldn't tell H. and J. about this, right? (Much younger friends.)
Me: Yes, it's like the Santa Clause thing. They should hear it from their parents.
Joey: Are we going to Staples now?
At this point, I am trying not to claw my eyes out and looking around for a paper bag to hyperventilate into. I still have to get through shoe shopping and then go back out the hospital to visit my mom. I had to parcel out the anxiety attacks today.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that my 12 year old just figured out the other day that Santa is really Mom and Dad. I had to tell him. Otherwise those nasty little seventh grade boys were going to beat the snot out of him. Now, we're having a talk about girlfriends and kissing and what happens after that. I simply cannot force myself to give out the pertinent, detailed details.
I hear they are doing "sensitive topics" in seventh grade this year. Maybe they will cover the birds and the bees for me, since I seem to be doing such a crappy job at it.
There has always been a point in time during each of these conversations with my other children where they realized that their mom and dad must have had sex three times in order to have them. I don't know about you, but realizing that your parents had sex at any time in the past is traumatizing. And then their mind starts to wondering whether you are still having sex, OH MY GOD! My parents might still be having sex!
At least Joey didn't seem scarred for life. (Probably because he didn't make that really important connection yet. Why not? Well, he is autistic. I'm sure it's going to come to him sooner or later.) I'm pretty sure my older two are going to need therapy and be blaming all of their problems on their mother and the "talk" in a few years.
Why does it always get blamed on the mother? And why do I always end up having to have the "talk" with my boys? Justin obviously has good timing. Well, three times anyway.