"Mom, you got mail from the school."
It was 4:55 and I had just walked in the door from work and was trying to make the transition from office slave to dinner cooking mom and then art student by 5:30. The mail was my least concern but ... it wasn't interim report time or report cards and neither child had caused any mayhem lately so what could it be?
I dropped my purse and grabbed the cutting board and the envelope and read the letter while I started dinner. I don't have the letter as I write this but the gist of it was simple...
"Can we teach your seventh grader how to have sex?"
Ok maybe it wasn't that blatant, but it might as well have been! How did this happen? Sex ed? For 13-year-olds? I knew it happened and I support sex ed, or at least I thought I did.
Suddenly though we are talking about MY kid and it's not hypothetical. As I read the letter it seems there was a parent meeting about it where questions were answered but I never received any notice about this (which is another issue all together) so this was the first I had heard of it.
My stomach turned to jelly and all my liberal laid back parenting values 'sploded like pop rocks in your coke.
"Do you want to take this class?" I asked him, curiously.
The kid shrugged "Not really."
"Do you ... have any questions? Anything you want to know?"
The kid shrugged again and rolled his eyes. "No, you got me those gross books, remember?"
I chuckled a little because I did buy my boys some books, complete with cartoon people ... making babies. I am glad I bought the books, I know they are a bit shocking (fair warning if you click over) but they leave no stone unturned and my kids can look at them in private without the squirmy jokes of their equally uncomfortable friends.
They can see what all the parts look like and how everyone's bodies work. The books I bought discuss all kinds of couples and families and sex. I read them first and then gingerly handed them over. We have an open door policy around here, I am always willing to listen even if the topic makes me squirmy too.
We talk about what we see on television and in movies, I explain off-color jokes they hear and we talk about STDs, rape and pregnancy. I have made it very clear that having a baby before they finish college (or turn 40, which ever comes ... last) will be the worst thing they could do and will shape and color and define their futures forever.
When you have to pay child support you rarely have time to go to Harvard and be a pop star, as my little one plans, or to become a traveling architect slash cartoonist like the big kid. We talk about condoms and responsibility. We talk about how I will never be one of those moms who allows girlfriends or even baby mama's to move in, much less spend the night. I'm liberal, not stupid.
I do not know what the school plans to teach in sex ed and I do not know that it will bad for my kid to take it. Maybe it will be great, but maybe it won't. I do not like the message that teen sex is inevitable or acceptable. I also know my son and I trust him to make good choices.
Perhaps most importantly I do not allow him to get into situations where these things are more likely to occur. My boys, even at 11 and 13, only go to the homes of people I know, families I have met. They are rarely left unsupervised and never go anywhere I do not know about. I check their cell phone messages and I check their e-mail. I read IMs at the library over their shoulders.
Am I nosy? Maybe. Am I paranoid? I don't think so. What I am is concerned, cautious and aware.
I did not sign the sex ed paper. I might be making a mistake or I may be doing the right thing but if anyone is going to hand my kid a condom and a banana it will be me and I will try REALLY hard not to be grossed out.