I realized yesterday as I sat in our neighborhood park on a bench that I suddenly don’t need to have the "birds and bees" talk with my daughter anymore. "Mooooom!" she shouted in one of those voices that travels from the top of the playground equipment to the next neighborhood in a little over 30 seconds, "What does BLEEP mean?" I heard a collective gasp from all the other mothers who sat around pretending that the "slang" words for certain body parts they saw written all over the slide and monkey bars didn’t exist.
"It’s another word for rooster!" I yelled back as I smiled and nodded at all the other mothers who smiled and returned to their impromptu study of their fingernails.
"Yeah, but what does BLEEPER BLEEPER mean?" she shouted again, "And there’s a PICTURE with this word!"
I ran over to her and put my hand over her mouth. "Ssh," I whispered, "Don’t attract any attention to these hieroglyphics that would have made a cave man proud. There are toddlers playing all around us." Just then a group of toddlers crowded around us. "What dat?" one asked as he pointed to the drawing of an organ, and I don’t mean the kind my Grandma used to play in her living room. His mother gave me a dirty look and quickly grabbed him and the other three children away from the scene of the crime.
My daughter looked at me and pointed at another word that now caused me to gasp. "I’m just saying Mom that BLEEP is a BAD WORD! And so is BLEEPER BLEEPER and BLEEPITY BLEEP BLEEPITY!
"I know," I replied softly and then I promptly started into my usual rambling "let’s not make these same bad choices ever, ever, ever or else" speech.
She nodded her head and then added solemnly, "Mom, there are pictures that go with these words," and then she promptly started into her usual "I think I’m more than ready for the birds and the bees talk even though I’m not supposed to have it until I’m 10 years old" speech.
I sighed as I stood in front of the slide and tried to block her view of any more graphic drawings of the male anatomy and firmly stated, "We are not having that talk until the clock strikes midnight on your 10th birthday and not a moment before!"
"Fine!" she said over her shoulder as she ran to the swings. I turned around and looked at the drawings on the monkey bars. I had to admit that this sixth grade artist had a remarkable talent for drawing body parts to scale.
Every child remembers the day they learned that their Mom and Dad weren’t just hugging when they spent an unusual amount of time in their bedroom in the middle of the afternoon. Every child remembers that horrifying moment when they were forced to picture their parents in one of the positions that neighborhood kid with waaaay too much knowledge had drawn in the dirt with a stick on a hot summer afternoon.
For centuries, it’s always been a fact of childhood. With every view of an X-rated hieroglyphics or whispered bioloty lesson from an "experienced" twelve-year-old in the neighborhood, a little piece of a child’s innocence disappears.
It’s all part of growing up. Whether you BLEEPING like it or not.