Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dinner Table Conversation, Plus a Bit of a Movie Review

We took the kids to see Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian last weekend. Even though it's only getting 44% on the rotten tomato meter, the kids loved it, and I didn't hate it. The best part, to me, was explaining to M. Peevie what the sexual innuendos meant.

There's sweetness, though not much sexual tension between the main character (Larry Daley, played by Ben Stiller) and his pert, adventurous sidekick, Amelia Earhart (Amy Adams). There's lithping humor from Kahmunrah (Hank Azaria), which your 13-going-on-14-year-old will quote for days afterward. There are Albert Einstein bobbleheads singing "That's the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it, I like it!", which your 11-year-old will giggle at for days afterward.

And there's Owen Wilson as a miniature cowboy in Daley's front chest pocket, who, after Daley embraces Earhart and smooches her, remarks, "I just got to second base." That got a chuckle from the grown-ups, and even though I was hoping she'd forget by the time we got home, M. Peevie wondered what it meant and why was it funny.

I saw it as an opportunity for some early sex ed, and over the objections of both boys ("Mom! Please don't! Not at the dinner table!"), I started in on the "touchy" subject

"M. Peevie," I said, looking at her seriously, "when a boy kisses a girl, they call it 'first base.'" I paused to watch her face screw up into a disgusted grimace.

"Yuck," she said.

"Exactly," I continued, and both A. Peevie and C. Peevie interrupted, "MOM, Puh-leeze!"

"Do you HAVE to, Mom? At the dinner table?" C. Peevie groaned.

"Yes," I insisted. "M. Peevie, when a boy touches a girl's breast, they call it 'second base.'"

"Ew!" said M. P. "Ew. Why would a boy want to touch a girl's breast?"

C. Peevie just looked me in despair. "Mom, don't," he moaned.

I felt I had to finish what I started, so I went on. "I guess maybe because they want to know what it feels like," I said, "or maybe because they like how it feels."

"Well, I'm NEVER going to let a boy touch my breast," said my breast-less eight-year-old adamantly. "It's gross."

By this time, C. Peevie's head was down on the table, and A. Peevie had started giggling hysterically. I can't remember if Mr. Peevie was even in the room, but if he was, I'm sure he was just shaking his head in awe at my parental wisdom.

"Yes, M. Peevie," I said, "It is gross when you're eight. And just so you know, most of this information is not stuff I want you to talk about with the kids at school."

That was the end of it. I'm kind of glad she didn't ask about third base and home runs. I'm sure the male Peevies are relieved, as well.

Would you have handled it differently?


Anonymous said...

I would have handled it exactly the same. I might take her to see it so she asks me just that! We had a little tiff a few weeks ago (my dd is 9) over why I won't let her read Twilight. Apart from the fact that I KNOW it' too scary for her, there's a lot of sexual feelings between the main characters. I told her that. She said, "You already told me how babies are made. What's the big deal?" Maybe I'm making too much of it. I explained that sex isn't always about making babies. That people like having sex because it feels good. And she looked at me with her face all squinched up in disbelief. I wasn't going to win, no matter what. I said she was just too young, which is basically, "Because I say so." This brought on TEARS! RAGE! The Unfairness of it all! Mind you, this is all because 2 of her 9yo classmates are reading the book. One of them, I know for a fact her mother has read it. She didn't think it was a big deal. I just don't think it's 9yo material. She's back to reading the American Girl series. My girlfriend says I shelter her too much. For example, I didn't tell her about Chris Brown hitting his girlfriend Rihanna but then she heard it at school. And then we talked about it. My dd complains that I don't give her info. But you know what? It's all gonna come in a big rush in a couple of years. I want to keep her innocent as long as I can. And OMG, WHY am I spilling all this on your BLOG!

E. Peevie said...

El--HA! Because we are soul sistahs, girl.

I agree that Twilight is too old for a 9yo. My M. Peevie is 8 going on 28, and she just finished Mary Poppins and loved it. I want to keep her in those kinds of books for a long time.

I think you are a strong, brave mom who makes hard decisions even when you have to face a tantrum because you know better than anyone what's right for your child. Good for you.

Thanks for spilling.

Broke but Happy said...

I'm right in there with A. Peevie. Giggling hysterically.