Woohoo! Thank you libraries! Please Lord, don’t close our local one down! Well… after much deliberation, reading helpful comments on my blog (thanks everyone!) and choosing the right moment… I formed a battle plan for the second part of ‘The Talk’ – the sex part – with step-daughter number one, Sunflower.
There, like shining beacons in the personal development and parenting section of our local wee Glasgow Library, right next to ‘Living with a Willy’ were the perfect two books for a growing girl:
… And not one hint of a sex robot. Usborne had redeemed itself.
When I came back from the library, we sat on Sunflower’s bed and I handed the books over. “These are more factual,” I said, “The Margaret book was more of a story but this tells you the facts… for example…” I said coolly, calmly, cracking open the spine and picking a page at random, this talks about things like…” I looked down at the book… ‘erections’.
Well nothing like jumping in the deep end.
Sunflower’s eyes were wide again as I tried to explain this part first. Then I stopped and started again.
“OK,” I said, as if coming clean, “we talked about periods and puberty last time, but we didn’t talk about sex.”
“How much do you know about sex?” I asked as I’d suspected that there was likely to have been some playground chat about it already.
“The boys in my class told a joke last year and that’s how I realised what happens.”
Oh boys have a lot to answer for don’t they? These were the same boys who’d been teasing her about her bra and her changing shape last year. She’s been the first in her class and it’s been tough on her. If only the boys knew what was coming to them soon. And so, seeing that the book appeared to be open on the relevant page I figured we may as well start there. I explained how one day soon they would be reading books like ‘Living with a Willy’ and discovering all sorts of surprising things about their bodies, often in the most awkward of circumstances. She laughed, I relaxed, we had begun.
And so… not glorifying it yet not treating it as taboo we went through the facts to check that what she’d figured out at school covered all the bases. We talked about the risks, the responsibilities, the fact that I’d deliberately waited until I was married (yup) and how tough but ultimately rewarding that had been. I mentioned that a condom and a carrot may figure somewhere with the health teacher at some point. And how there must have been a vegetable famine in North Yorkshire back in my day, as we had to practise correct application on our class mate’s hand instead. Yuck!
We were giggling. It felt good to talk about it and she said so herself. Whoop!
And as suspected, just as was the case with Margaret, the books were devoured in less than a day and this Friday I noticed they were brought out to show a school friend who was sleeping over. I hope her mum’s OK with that, but girls will talk. And thank God that this big girl and her growing-up-girl managed to do just that, in the end.