Objects in the Mirror Are Smaller Than They Appear- Honest!

OK, let’s tell it like it is.  We mothers must not complain about our weight in front of our kids.  No matter how much the girdle smarts or the muffin top droops.  Nope, nope, nope.  We cannot lead them  down the path of (m)anorexia or thinking that a human being’s value is attached to his or her waistline- which it is, but let’s recall that this is a guide for “responsible lying” and not some cockamamie feel-good blog for those of us who wonder how many calories we burned by choosing the oatmeal over the chocolate chip cookie.

So, allow me to recall a recent event that took place with my daughter and how I handled the potential psychological damage she might have suffered had I cowardly told the truth.  I shall paint the scene.  We were all hanging out on the couch, bonding and enjoying family movie night.  After a couple of pieces of pizza and some wine, I rearranged my body mass into a reclining position, and in an effort to look sultry for my husband, pulled up my pants a bit and discretely tucked in an unruly roll under the agonizingly uncomfortable size 12 slim-fit stretch jeans with flattening front panel.  Now these pants deliver, people, but I am certain that the significant amount of fat they hide is lurking painfully somewhere in the neighborhood of my ascending colon.  woman in mirror

At any rate, we must remember that the little people are always on the watch, picking up on our bad habits and reading into everything we do disfavorably.  You know, prepping for puberty when they can give us the old one-two sucker punch to the heart.  So, as I was going mano a mano with said paunch, I heard a snort coming from my left where my daughter was unsuccessfully trying to repress her giggles.

“What are you laughing at, pray tell?”

“What are you trying to do with your belly?”  Now, I love my first-born with all my heart and soul, but at that moment, I was not so keen on her, if you know what I mean.

“I am getting comfortable.”

“But you were trying to hide your belly.”

“No, no, no!  You are quite mistaken!  I am not in the least ashamed of my body!  I am not trying to hide anything!  I am very comfortable in my own skin.”  I had hit the trifecta of lies.

“So why are you trying to put your belly away?” Never has a participle been more passive aggressive.

“Because these pants are super comfortable and they help regulate my digestion.”

“Really?  How?”

“By creating a compact environment that aligns my internal organs in such a way that they facilitate food traction and bile secretion that then further breaks down nutrients that are absorbed by my intestines, which then allows vitamins to enter the bloodstream and feed my muscles, bones and organs, preventing disease and promoting overall health.  It’s a thing.”

“Wow!” She exclaimed admiring my pants’ front panel.

“Yeah, wow!”chimed in my husband.

So, as you can see, I not only skirted the dangerous all too prevalent negative-body-image syndrome, I also encouraged an awareness, however inaccurate, of  physical well-being.  Granted all this at the expense of my husband getting a glimpse into the mysterious world of body shaping outerwear.   I wonder if he continues to believe my claims that I still am a size 6, which I have never been…?

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Anatomy 1-oh!-1

As I have mentioned earlier, and for damned good reasons, I have a strong opposition to children’s rampant use of anatomical terminology, as encouraged by today’s tell-all-parent.  This is not only inappropriate; it is painfully awkward for anyone outside of the childrearing years of thirty-five to forty.  No one should have to experience the equivalent of Cindy Lou Hoo discussing nipples, penises, or God-forbid, her special “button.”  I mean, come on!  After all, The Color Purple was a tragic tale, people, not a glossary for preschoolers!FreshPaint-5-2016.05.02-06.00.23

So, how to combat this revolting trend?  How to appropriately reference anatomy, especially if it is itchy, hurt on the monkey bars, or simply hanging out of a pair of pants?  Unless you were raised in a commune by irresponsible hippie-freaks, driveling non-stop about Walt Whitman’s body electric, we have to go no further than our own childhoods, where our uptight parents inspected our offending body parts through the lens of a well-filled martini glass.  Like them, we should use generic, inoffensive terms like “your privates.”  This term not only conveniently blurs the line between male and female (no, there is no sex!), but it can also give you quite a chuckle upon arriving at an army post.

Sometimes anatomy is even baptized with cute family names, such as “your bott-bott” or “rumpey-pumpey.”  There is no need to get too cute, of course, but you see what I am getting at.  The bottom line (snort, chuckle- there is a pun there!) is that in no way should these terms be sexual or even universally identifiable in the event of an unfortunate incident at the store, or worse, church.  The Lord’s Prayer should never be marred with comments about the child’s vagina in the pew behind you.  On a side note, the touching of the anatomy can be a problem: steer clear of Michael Jackson videos and encourage frequent trips to the bathroom.

For your edification, below is a chart of terms that I have found quite useful.  You’re welcome!

Lying guide- Anatomical terms chart

Sorry, hands, do not touch the boy- but here is some elusive cake. Try not to get sand in it.

Friends, I know that I have already discussed the perils of trying to ride in the car with your kids while listening to music.  Lyrics nowadays- am I right?  OK, OK, Musique’s 1978 hit, “In the Bush,” was insane, but back then, what kid knew what this song was about?  It Musique In the Bushwas disco!  Disco made no sense.  It was all about hopping around, gyrating madly to a mind numbing, hypnotic beat.  With disco balls and lava lamps and bell bottoms- those were the days!  We were screen-free, sheltered little critters who had no idea what the lyrics were saying.  But today’s savvy child’s mind needs to be redirected away from the actual meaning of songs on a daily basis.  After all, they are constantly exposed to all sorts of revealing information in songs, TV shows and movies- and maybe they will be able to put it all together themselves!  It’s exhausting but we must stop them!  On a positive note, a parent’s level of mental gymnastics and quick thinking will help stave off Alzheimer’s for at least a couple years more….

Now, there is no need to reinvent the wheel.  So, to help out my fellow parents, below are several examples of appropriate lyric translations.  Trust me, they turn the absurdly vulgar into an absolutely acceptable- and believable!- product.  I cannot emphasize enough the need to extend childhood as long as possible- and nothing kills childhood faster than taking a bite from the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.  You do that, and the next thing you know you are in a world of trouble whilst naked in the middle of a garden.  Oddly enough I have a similar recurring dream that ties together my two greatest fears: nudity and nature- no thanks to both!  But I digress….  Here we go!

1. “Is it too late now to say sorry…?
I’m not just trying to get you back on me, oh no
‘Cause I’m missing more than just your body, oh…”

Oh, oh, oh, Justin, that is a very moving example of contrition.  It says a lot about his life philosophy and the power of low standards, not to mention single syllable words.  Who knew there were so many of them?  Oops, that was unkind.  Sorry!   All of that aside, why is he trying to convince himself that he does not want to get her “back on” him- or that he is not fixated on her “body?”  Nope, I’m not trying to psychoanalyze a megalomaniacal Canadian youth.  So I will focus instead on cleansing this ditty of all its Bieber DNA.  So please don’t “go and get angry at all of my honesty.”  Here is how I have explained these subversive lyrics:

“Children, did you know that Justin Bieber is Canadian and that they have tons of different expressions there?  For God’s sake they refer to American cheese as ‘processed’ cheese!  It’s hard to believe.  At any rate, in Canada ‘to get back on’ someone means to be ‘back on their good side.'” bieber-crotch-1.jpg

“But, mommy, he said that he is missing more than her body.  That’s weird.”

“No, no, no!  In Canada ‘body’ is another term for personality. You  know, like saying that Justin Trudeau really has a great body– you know, personality.  So, let’s imagine that  mommy has a sort of relationship with Trudeau that has sadly turned sour.  For the sake of argument, let’s imagine I’m a member of his cabinet and I mistakenly proposed to extradite Justin Bieber from the U.S., which no Canadian wants.   I would then have to apologize because I  sure wish I could ‘get back on Trudeau’s body.’  But we don’t talk like that here.  So don’t. OK?  Ever!”

Scene!  It’s a wrap!

2. “Can’t keep my hands to myself
No matter how hard I’m trying to….”

Wow.  Based on Selena Gomez’s compulsive touching disorder (which probably falls within the OCD spectrum), one word of “sorry” from the Biebs should settle that whole getting “back” on her “body” issue, but I may be reading into this a bit much.  How to explain this to children?  Easy peasy lemon squeezy!  Just go into all the possible compulsions that are out there: fear of corners, eating your own hair, counting every Canadian you pass, the need to rub certain objects repeatedly (the mind reels, Selena!), washing your hands every five minutes (after all, you can’t keep them to yourself), revulsion at your own body (not Bieber’s issue)… you get the point.  This should convince your little ones that Selena has real mental issues, but is fiercely proud to celebrate them, because in today’s self-indulgent society, why the hell not?!?!

3.  “Well, I had me a boy, turned him into a man
I showed him all the things that he didn’t understand…
They always wanna come, but they never wanna leave.”

Egads!  This is a tough one.  How do you turn a boy into a man?  Damned if I know, but this gal, Elle, does it like it’s her job.  I mean, she hasn’t shown me all the things that I don’t understand- yet- but one can only hope she is reading this and is willing to throw me a bone, as it were.  Till then, focus on the scenario that Elle is an itinerant teacher who focuses on an all-male curriculum.  She is such a good teacher, the students always want to come… to her office and “never wanna leave.”  As a high school teacher myself, I know how patently absurd that idea is since I have more than twenty years experience boring adolescents, and they always want to leave- always.  But I ain’t no Elle King, after all.  Just focus on the transformative powers of education and watch Stand and Deliver  when you get home.  Done and dusted!

4.  “Talk to me, baby
I’m going blind from this sweet, sweet craving, whoa
Let’s lose our minds and go f*cking crazy
Ah ya ya ya ya I keep on hoping we’ll eat cake by the ocean.”One-Hundred-Picnic-Suggestions

Frankly, on this one, I got nothing.  Donna Summer’s “MacArthur Park” song makes a hell of a lot more sense, and that one is a doozy.  Introduce your children to Candy Crush Soda Saga and move on.  How hard can it be to pack a neat lunch that includes cake, and then head down to the beach?  Apparently it’s very, very hard-the stuff that “sweet” dreams are made of.  Or that makes you spiral into violent mental illness.  Or makes you prattle on in gibberish while you stoke the fires of eternal hope.  Whatever.  It’s stupid.  Although, mind you, it has quite the catchy tune!

OK, gang, I hope this was helpful.  I’m now going to go listen to some Gershwin  or Cole Porter or Billie Holiday or Ray Charles, for God’s sake, like the damned adult I am.  Unfortunately, though,  I now have a hankering for cake- and for Donna Summer, the Queen of Disco!  And we come full circle….

Money Makes the World Go Around- or Bob Fossee Can Make Anything Dirty

So, when it finally happens to you- and in this harsh capitalist world it will, trust me- you must keep your cool and forge ahead.  I have been preparing for this day since I first spawned, and yet even I was somehow taken aback when the evil question was posed.  Some background appears to be necessary for those not aware of the “river house” syndrome that is quite strong along the Chesapeake Bay.  Anyone who can afford one- and many who cannot- has one of these lovely abodes where they while away the hours at the same time the rest of us poor suckers lurk miserably in our city mortgage boxes.   As you can gather, subtext: we cannot possibly afford such a delightful poultice for modern life.  And I’m not bitter about that.  Not the least bit.  Really.  I am perfectly happy funneling the majority of my paycheck into this wonderful stack of bricks that will someday get repainted, repointed and paid off.  Someday.  But I digress!  This is a guide about lying to your children, not about lying to yourself!!  Let us continue with the great betrayal.river house

I shall set the scene.  It’s a snowy day and we are all cozied up in front of our electric fireplace- which albeit a glorified space heater, its light bulb and blower system actually make it look like a coal burning fireplace.  Really.  OK, back to lying to kids….

One of my children asks if they can have a playdate with little So-and-So.  I text the parents, and get the dreaded “oh, sorry we are at our river house!” response.  No matter, we will ask after another child.  Nope, also at their river house.  And then strike three- again with the river house!  My ungrateful children look at me with pleading eyes and utter the question I knew would come one day: “why don’t we have a river house?”  Do I explain how norms of allocation affect the distribution of rights, privileges and social power, as well as access to river houses?  Good God, no!   This is how it went.

“We don’t have a river house because mommy and dadda don’t want one.  They are a ton of work.  And you’ve seen the state of this house.  Mommy couldn’t possibly maintain two houses.”

“We can help.”

“You mean the way you walk the dogs and water the plants in this house?”

“But if we had a river house we could walk to our friends’ river houses and play!”

“Note the term ‘river’ house, children!  There is only swimming or boating to other people’s houses.  Remember that horrid summer when you tried being on the swim team?  I don’t know about you, but I’m still scarred by that nightmare!”  Both children visibly shudder.  “And remember that boating experience when Uncle Patrick went so fast and turned the boat so hard that you both thought you would land in the Potomac?”  Their little faces grimace.

“So it’s for our own good that we don’t have a river house?”  The female one is a quick study.

“I’m glad you said it dear, and not I.”  I pat their little faces.  “And snakes like rivers, by the by.” One final nail in the coffin, and voilà, problem solved!

The bottom line is that every child will encounter the sudden revelation of unequal social aCabaretnd economic status.  Maybe in your community it is living in a particular neighborhood, or owning a Mercedes, or wondering what that “Target” store all the peasants are talking about sells.  You, the parent, will have to explain it in such a way that the children are so thoroughly turned off they will never, ever irritate you again by broaching the damned subject.  One look at Joel Grey and Liza Minelli in Cabaret and you know that money is a dirty, dirty business.

That’s why I prefer to make very little of it….

A Very Merry Christmas, Indeed!

Among the many things we as parents enforce, the magical mirage that is Santa Claus may be the most beautiful.  We must perpetuate this belief as long as possible for a variety of reasons- not the least of which is the pure, uncomplicated joy that resides in a child’s faith in the unseen.  But how do we do this in a world where dangerous information is relentlessly shoved at our children?  Well, here is my father’s delightful explanation to our children when they were feeling confused about the whole Santa thing.  To help you visualize, my father has a luxurious white beard and mustache, and quite the twinkle in his eyes… hint, hint.Santa

“Grandfather?  How is the man at the store the real Santa because wasn’t he just in the Macy’s Parade on the television?”  Damned Macy’s.  My father could have easily explained that the parade had been previously filmed, but no, not my dad.  He has a subtler method of attack.  Take note!

“Well, children, it goes like this.  Santa is at his busiest time right now, overseeing the elves as they make toys, getting the reindeer geared up for the long trip, tweaking his sled.  You know how complicated international travel can be.”

“Oh, no!  So, all Santases are fake?”

“No, no, no!  Santa has officially designated representatives whom he has handpicked to go all over the world, talk to children, and then report back to him.”

“So, the Santases are real?”

“They are the real spirit of Santa.  Sort of like the Holy Trinity.”

“The Holy Rinitry?”

“Yes, the Holy Rinitry.  Just like the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the real Santa is in all the Santas you see.  And the real Santa hears through all their ears and he knows what you want for Christmas, right after you tell me, of course.  That way I can put it in a letter.  Just in case.  That’s why I have this beard after all!”

“So, the Santases are real!”

“Yep, they’re real alright.  So, what was that list again?”

The man is a genius!  Such finesse, such a mastery of deflection- and what exquisite lies!  The kids’ Christmas spirit was saved in an instant.  More importantly, how can we possibly enforce good manners and behavior throughout the Christmas season (which according to most retail stores, now begins in September) without the threat of Santa hanging over their little heads?  It can’t all be visions of sugar plums, after all.  I myself am partial to the Dutch Santa who knocks the stuffing out of naughty children with a bunch of twigs, but with social services essentially on most children’s iPhone speed dial, that’s sadly yet another tradition lost…..

So, in this wonderful season of Advent, I wish you all faith in the unseen and love- much love!

Death- Avoid at All Costs….

Death is a barbed topic.  My advice is to attack this tricky subject by focusing on the joys of the afterlife.  And no, I do not mean a discussion grounded in truth or fact!  Seriously, how much do we really know about death and the beyond?   Regardless of your background, join a church, synagogue, whatever immediately!  If you’re  already a member of one, then start going more regularly.  No need to get carried away, though….

Also, make sure you choose the right spiritual construct for you and your family.  Take Buddhism for example.  It has its appeal but the prospect of coming back as an animal may be rather disturbing to my city kids who equate rats, feral cats  and crows with the entirety of the animal kingdom.

Reincarnation

Returning as any of those creatures feels like a real downgrade, if you know what I mean.

 

All of that aside, populate the afterlife with grandparents, pets and roadside kill.  It won’t hurt anyone and will allow your children to ease into this angst-ridden topic as they mature.  It is especially important that your “heaven” be a real paradise.   Feel free to be authentic in your descriptions of your nirvana.  As for me, I’m sure there will be a beautiful, shiny mahogany bar.  Jesus was a carpenter, after all, and let us not forget that first miracle.  Water into wine- what a guy!  Where was He at my second wedding when I went thousands of dollars in debt due to an open bar for 40 drunks?

So, capitalize on every time one of your friends’ animals die, especially cats.  No one cares about cats, really, and it’s a less painful way to exercise the topic.  Make sure that the end result is always the same: the cat is in heaven- maybe not right there, downtown, but certainly skirting the edges, tying one on in fields of catnip. It is heaven, right?

The death of a dog is a horrible thing, and hopefully all your friends’ dogs will give up the ghost prior to yours so your kids can be prepared to handle the inevitable death of your own pooch.  Check out the conversation below, which I had with my own children when their cousins’ puppy- a puppy, for God’s sake!- died.

“Puppy is dead?!?”  But he’s a doggy baby!”

“Yes, he is now in heaven looking down on us.”

“He’s with other doggies?”

“Of course!  The older ones are showing him where all the fun dog parks and treats are.”

“I like to think of them up there running around and chasing butterflies!”

“Ha!  And cats!  I bet they get to chase cats, too, huh, kid?”  This is a perfect example of how you can get overzealous and step in it.

“Why would they chase poor little baby cats?  Why does that have to happen in heaven?!?”

“No, no, no!  Mommy got confused, sweetie, I forgot that in heaven everyone loves each other.  The doggies are probably giving cats piggyback rides and stuff!”  Unlikely.  Dead or alive our Jack Russell would never pass up a chance to give a cat what for.

“Piggyback rides- funny!”

“Oooh!  Let’s go draw that!”

“Can I have piggyback ride, though?”

“Absolutely, and we can pretend to be puppies carrying kitties!”

“Yippee, mommy is the best!”

“Yes, she is!”

As you can see, it’s important to really play up the paradise angle of heaven, putting in all the stuff we enjoy heartily here on earth.  I wouldn’t go the way of Hieronymus Bosch’s vision of earthly delights- not sure how a flower or a flute up your bum is a good thing, but hey, clearly someone thought it was fun.  Hieronymus Bosch must have been a total perv….Bosch Earthly Delights

Finally, when confronted with questions about the nature of God, why bad things happen- especially to good people- try to find a children’s illustrated book of Job*.

Barring that, I got nothin’.  What?  I’m a philosopher now?!?

*not William Blake’s, not William Blake’s!

In Defense of Lying

As you read through this blog for strategies on helping perpetuate your child’s happiness, note how each post presents authentic, real life issues that families deal with every day across this great nation.  These posts include sound suggestions on how to handle each tough situation- from the dreaded topic of sex to parental conflict.  The solutions are gleaned from tried and true experiences that I have both lived through and witnessed.  Now, this may seem like a purely anecdotal collection of advice, but there is real science behind it all.  Take for example, the chart below.  First of all, it is a chart.  Secondly, it indicates precisely that lying- be it through omission or not- is the unspoken secret to a happy family.  The data below was collected by NIPLL (National Independent Parental Lying League), an organization that I have had a bear of a time launching beyond our weekly cocktail hour set.  Sure, perhaps my friends are all drunk at the time, but even the childfree ones fully back the importance of shielding children from awful truths.  Or maybe just shielding themselves from children- I can’t help but notice their disappointed looks when the little ones go rogue during a dinner party and come downstairs for a Family von Trapp meet and greet.  At any rate, I trust that this blog will help garner support for NIPLL, a most dignified and highly relevant organization.

NIPPL chart

As you can see, the foundation for lying is logical.  Children need to remain children and ultimately do not want to know the truth.  They do not want life demystified.  They want enchantment and delight- and information on condoms, for example, singlehandedly negates both of those.  So, when confronted by inappropriate curiosity, do anything in your power not to answer truthfully.  The truth will not set you free.  I will go as far as to say that the truth will chain you to a series of disappointing (for all parties) conversations that will forever haunt you and your child.

In conclusion, there is a direct correlation between withholding developmentally inappropriate material from children and the length and happiness of their childhood.  There is no reason children should know anything, frankly, other than readin’, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic.  Ignorance is bliss, after all!  So, read on and you will find not only a surprising array of familiar and treacherous situations, but also multiple, scientifically-based defense methods!

My kids know that without a doubt, mommy will be there to make sure that they can frolic in a safe, magical land called “childhood,” uninhabited by weird, distasteful fact ogres.  And remember- that truth obsessed freak, Immanuel Kant, never had children!

No Sweet Tooth Here!

The tooth fairy is a beautiful and long held tradition in our country.  Frankly, it’s a fun way to gloss over the rather disgusting biological need to shed teeth.  It’s comforting to know that after that nasty experience, someone has your back.  Hurrah for the tooth fairy!  Another easy lie, courtesy of our Nordic friends!

But a caveat on the subject.  When comparing notes with other children, the tooth fairy appears somewhat unreliable.  I mean, what sort of inequitable system allows one kid to get ten smackers for a meaningless canine when your kid gets a measly fifty cents for a precious front tooth?!?! Tooth fairy

What is the elephant in the room?  Yes, the over-eager parent: a vile beastie at best!  It is precisely this brand of creature that has escalated the tooth fairy from a fun way to get your kids to finally rip out that tooth, to some sort of James Bond black jack game.  And trust me, the House always wins on this one- and you are never, ever the House.   So, now we all have to start forking out more dough or there is hell to pay.  Before you know it, the children’s under-pillows will have their own link to a Swiss bank account and they’ll all be trading Adderral for black market teeth at the school urinals.  It’s obscene!

Mercifully, if you never bring up money around your kids, they may not even notice the monumental injustice of the whole thing.  This has worked for me for a long time but oh, they are starting to catch on, the greedy little delinquents.  Clearly, fifty cents is not going to buy you much in this day and age, but after a couple of those, boy, does the dollar store look like a wonderland!  The more you give them the more they are going to spend, so keep it simple, people!  A $20 trip to the toy store today translates into a $100 Armani t-shirt in five to ten years.  Ouch!

Let them collect their money slowly in their piggy banks, like the rest of humanity does, and do not give in to their demands!  Stay strong, people, and do not join the tooth fairy junta!

Oh- I Was Looking for “Norman” Rockwell. My Mistake.

I am a big believer in keeping up with current events.  I listen to NPR, check out the headlines on the reliable interweb, and a couple of news emails make their way into my inbox every day.  And I cannot say enough about the Daily Mail UK- hilarious stuff.  I do all of this far, far away from my children to spare them from anything remotely questionable… and to offer all of us the occasional well-needed break from each other.

So, I really did not expect to be sabotaged when lying on the back porch settee with my children on a fine Sunday morning, listening to a local radio station’s “Songs from the Big Hair” 80’s music show.  There we were happily listening to Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” and laughing at the singer’s level of paranoia.  I shall regale you with the brilliant lyrics that were repeated once the song was over, as an intro to the DJ’s thought-provoking commentary on the state of employment today- the statement that would throw my life into a tailspin after I suffered a mild form of whiplash looking up Bug-eyed-Pug-Turns-Around-Dramaticallyin horror at the treacherous speaker blurting out the inappropriate.  I failed us all at that moment as I couId not protect my children.  Why?  Because I do not have the core strength to chuck two children off me and leap up with the speed of a thousand Bruce Jenners circa 1976 (who could have accomplished this in heels with one well groomed hand tied behind his back) to race inside and turn off that damnable music box.  Here we go.  Hum along as you read!

“Who’s watching?
Tell me who’s watching
Who’s watching me?

I’m just an average man, with an average life
I work from nine to five; hey hell, I pay the price…”

DJ’s clever comment: “this is how that poor fool in Illinois feels who mistakenly sent naked selfies of himself to the HR Director.  I know, right?  We all know who’s watching you now, buddy, but you ain’t gonna be working nine to five anymore!  I have heard of cocking up an interview, but this seems a bit excessive….”

I hoped- as I screamed-ran-slipped across the porch, through the door, careening to the radio- that the kids would miss the DJ’s analysis of workplace etiquette, but alas, they heard it all.  All.

As I returned to the settee to the giggling children who were now discussing nudity in full detail, I suppressed the desire to weep.  I knew the jig was up.  No deflection was every going to erase what they had heard.  This, my dear readers, is another important strategy in the war against unsavory information.  When the battle is lost, bury your dead and prepare for the next skirmish.  Trying to fight further will only erode your credibility before your kids’ ever-critical eyes, and unnecessarily deplete you of ammo you could use later.

“So, I guess you guys heard it all, huh?”  Gales of laughter.  “OK, well, just remember to thank that man from Illinois when you don’t get a cellphone.  Ever.  And mommy loves you.”   Nothing left to do but sit in silence.  Which is golden.  The Graduate end

I Would First Like to Thank the Academy and Dr. Edelstein….

Truly, too much has been made of talking to your children about s-e-x.  As you well know, I consider this a daunting task that should be avoided at all costs until you can no longer do so- say perhaps a quick warning in her ear as she heads up the altar.  It shows you care without having to go into too much detail.

But what happens when you are sabotaged by well-meaning parents who mistakenly tell their children “the truth” about, you know, “stuff?”  Well, my friends, I was recently in a ghastly situation that necessitated quick deflection and a dressing up of “facts” that would have landed my big fat lies on the red carpet.  Allow me to elucidate.

Several weeks ago my children were badly informed of the basic mechanics of The Act straight from a little friend they have known and loved since kindergarten.  Oh, the treachery!  After this playdate- during which my children’s interrogation skills successfully fulfilled several police academy requirements- my sweet, innocent spawn presented me with the extent of the aforementioned betrayal.  For a moment, I was frozen with fear.  I deftly cupped my chin, adopting an air of knowledge and self-control.

“Interesting, children.  Well, I have to say I am disappointed with this turn of events.  However, your information is full of mad inaccuracies that you are too young for me to clear up.  What do you think of the matter?”birdsandbees

My daughter piped up first.  “I wish I had never heard any of this.  I really thought I wanted to know but I was wrong.  No more information is just fine, Mommy.”

“Good thinking, hold on to that childhood a bit longer, dear.  Son?  What do you have to say for yourself?”

“I’m just disappointed in you because you went and did that.  Gross!”   The little wretch!

“How dare you, son?  Why would you ever say that to your poor mother?”

“Because she said that is how babies are born.”

“Oh, silly boy!  You two are in vitro babies!  Mommy and Daddy never had to do anything like That Thing to have you.  No, no, no!  You two rest assured that there was none of that in this house to have you!”  I cannot describe the look of relief on their little faces, the hugging, the kissing, the general merriment, the ice cream treats and the vodka shot I snuck while I pretended to hit the head!

While we were all happily holding hands, they ate their yummy ice cream and my daughter announced proudly, “all my kids are going to be in vitro, too.  No weird stuff for me!”

In total solidarity my son piped up that he would also go the in vitro route with his future wife.  “I mean, I would never marry a girl who does that!”

“No, of course not, dear.  Now enjoy your ice cream.”

And all was well with the world.