You may have heard or hypothesized that women grow up just slightly faster than men do. You may have hazarded such a conjecture because women tend to discuss intimate body parts, and the maintenance thereof, more bluntly than men do. This is because women learn to take a clinical view of their reproductive systems in their early teens, while some men reach their early 30s unable to say "vagina" without tittering. Some can't even say "tittering" without tittering.
For me, becoming a father thrust me into a whole new lexicon of "perineums" and "placentas," and the sex talk became less juvenile when I saw what my wife's body can do. I guess that's why unmarried guys have no trouble bragging about sexual conquests while married fathers, once they discover the intimacy of childbirth, learn to shut the hell up.
Sadly, OhBaby's Opinionated Parenting is also about to shut the hell up, as this is the blog's final post. (I know what you're thinking ... another painful death on the Ides of March.) MIC and I had a great time volleying the parental shuttlecock over the past six months, and I know I learned a lot about how passionate and disparate people can be when it comes to caring for little baby humans.
You'll still be able to read us here and here, as well as at Blogfathers and wherever else someone will have us. You can also follow the Family-in-Chief's diary while TIC undergoes heart surgery; I'm sure they'd be grateful for your support.
Thanks for reading, and best of luck. We'll all need it.
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I'm always up for a little public chat about vaginas and sex. It's an entertaining past-time for me, my girlfriends, and acquaintances I bump into at the cafe. Women are open to this kind of talk because every time we go to a doctor's appointment, we are naked and get probed with metal objects. Plus, delivering a baby exposes very private parts and bodily functions to strangers. Our bodies, their functions and mysteries are no biggie--we share, commiserate, giggle, learn. But men on the other hand...When I told Father in Chief that I talked about post-baby sex with his colleague's wife, he cringed. He imagines I've divulged the secrets of our sex life, describing routines, positions, and techniques in vivid detail. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't.
When it comes to Toddler in Chief, I'd like him to have a healthy understanding of sex and his body. I hope my ease of talking with friends flows into a healthy and open conversation with TIC. For now, we use real words, like penis and testicles. And when I get out of the shower and he says, "What are those?" I explain that they are breasts, they make milk, and that his baby brother will get milk from them when he is born, just like he did when he was a baby. When questions come up, I'll do my best to answer him honestly. I want to respect any and all questions he has. Being open and honest now will hopefully translate into open and honest dialog later on...one that goes both ways.
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After sex one night, my wife asked me, "Do you ever think about what we'd say if OneBert ever walked in on us?" A bunch of smart-alecky things bounced to mind (such as: "I was checking your mom's oil, and she's down a quart"), but the truth is I'm not sure.
We're not pursuing anything proactively, but when OneBert asks about stuff we answer truthfully. He knows he has a penis and testicles, and he knows girls have "vulvas." He also knows he came to be when my "seed" mixed with Mama's "egg." And that's about all we've had to navigate so far. I'm not sure what we'll say when he asks anything more probing (snort), because a lot depends on how old he is when he asks. Whatever we say, though, it will be as forthright as possible.
If you stonewall your kids, they learn not to be curious. If you misinform them, they'll eventually find you out and learn not to trust you. If you're matter-of-fact about the whole business, and can explain it as emotionlessly as you would how to change a washer, then the kid might not think much else of it for a while.
Besides, who wouldn't want to be around the holiday table, surrounded by extended family, right when your 3-year-old decides to discuss vulvas? It's a lovely memory the grandparents can bring up every Christmas for the rest of their lives.
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