Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ack! The Reading Rainbow incident

When Elder Son was only five years old, I sat him in front of the TV to watch some good old PBS. Reading Rainbow happened to be on. Ah! Reading books. Awesome show. Nothing better to buy Momma a few moments alone. Just can't go wrong with wholesome Reading Rainbow.

Great! I sneak off to do something on the computer.

About 20 minutes later, an ashen-faced five-year-old tugs on my sleeve.

"Momma, there's a lady on TV having a baby... and it looks like it hurts!"

"What?!? What are you watching?"

"Reading Rainbow!"

Well, this I've gotta see.
And we hurry back to the television.
Dang. Today's episode features books about babies and where they come from!

What I gather from the rest of the show and what my (by then) horrified little boy could tell me, there was a point in the show where they had ventured away from the books to show some video of a mother giving birth.


Why would they do this to me?

It's Reading freakin' Rainbow, for pete's sake!
Where is the READING?!?!

Together, the boy and I finish watching the show. As the credits roll, I turn off the TV.


The boy turns to me expectantly.

"Okay," I say. "Do you have any questions for me?"

Nods. "Where does the baby come out? Because it looked like it came out of her butt."

Gulp. I'm gonna get you for this someday, LaVar Burton. Someday!

Here we go. "It's not exactly the butt. But it's really close."

Nods. As if he could possibly know what that means.

"How did you think babies come out of their mommas?"

Points to his mouth.

I nod. "Yeah, I can see how you'd think that. But that's not where they come out." I wait. "Anything else?"

Thinks. Winces. "Does it hurt? It looked like it hurt a lot."

Nod. Wince. "Yeah. It does hurt a lot. But there are pain killers doctors let the mommas have that makes it better." I wait. "Anything else?"

Either his curiosity had been satisfied, or he just didn't want to hear any more, so he shook his head.

Only two questions? Sweet!
And I'm no dummy. I was NOT going to offer additional information.


Six years later, in Health and Human Development class, the subject of making babies is studied in school. (We had signed the sheet to say it was okay. No surprises, take a lesson PBS.)

I asked the boy (this time 11 years old) if anyone had asked any good questions in class. Because sometimes you learn a great deal by listening to answers to someone else's question.

"Well," he says, "the only question anybody really had was how the sperm gets to the egg."
(Emphasis his.)

I nod. "And what was the answer?"

"They said we'd find out in next year's class."

And that was the end of the conversation.

He didn't ask.
And I didn't tell!



Tink said...

Must be something in the air tonight, LOL. The Princess was just asking me about the female reproductive organs.... Guess tomorrow we find a picture of it.

My kids were around 6-8 when the Miracle of Life first came on PBS. I watched it then sat them down with me to watch it. One of the best things I ever did.

Lemon Stand said...

This is such a hard topic to broach at anytime but I decided a long time ago that I would rather be the one to explain the facts of life to my kids BEFORE their friends or teachers got around to it. Great post!

Mrs. Who said...

My mother cringed when my kids were little because I taught them to say 'Pen1$' and 'v@%1na' (I'm not afraid of the words, I just don't want you to attract spam). LS is absolutely right about it needing to come from the parents first.