It’s obvious who is going to have “the talk” with my two boys when the time comes, and it’s definitely not my husband. He’s polite, mild-mannered, and, frankly, too squeamish to discuss anything that involves body parts. You wouldn’t catch him, beer in hand, blurting out “Look at the rack on that chick” during a half-time show. He’s far too classy for that. I’m a little less classy. I sometimes shout at the screen. I don’t shout “Look at the package on that one,” but it may cross my mind. Or, rather, it crosses Lizzie’s mind. Lizzie is my unfiltered, un-PC, unabashed alter ego.
Lately I’ve noticed that Lizzie likes to show up in the car while I’m driving. It must be all of those thoughts rattling around inside my head while sitting in horrible L.A. traffic. A few weeks ago she paid me a visit on the drive home from school just as my older son had begun a Social Studies unit on the Presidential election. My boys (call them Seven and Ten, because that’s how old they are) know that I’m a Democrat. They also know that I’m not terribly fond of the Republican candidate. I don’t like to say his name too much because I feel like it gives him power. Kind of like the villain from Harry Potter, the one who shall not be named.
“Mommy, why do you hate Mitt Romney so much?” Seven says.
“I don’t hate him, it’s just…”
“He’s an asshole?” Ten says.
“No,” I say. “And don’t use that word.”
“Are his kids assholes?” Seven says.
Lizzie smiles. She finds the kids’ honesty refreshing. But I’m worried we’re getting way off track. This is an important conversation. I need to explain my political perspective while we’re still in the car, while I have their undivided attention. If only Seven and Ten were old enough to digest that Rolling Stone article on Bain Capital, they would understand. But economics are too complicated. So I decide to start with something simpler… like abortion. Lizzie thinks this is an excellent idea. An abortion is a medical procedure where a doctor takes away the seed that could turn into a baby when someone isn’t ready to become a parent. Simple. Factual. Honest. Lizzie gives me two thumbs up.
“But I want a baby,” Seven says.
“Of course you do. But what if you’re too young to have a baby? A teenager shouldn’t be a parent,” I say. For example, “What if you were in high school and you got your girlfriend pregnant?”
“How would I do that?” Seven says innocently.
“Mommy! If you tell him I’m going to kill you,” Ten says, slamming his feet into the back of my car seat. Then, turning to his brother, “You’ll find out when you’re in fourth grade,” he says, putting an end to the conversation.
In my urgency to explain why the government has no business in my uterus, I had forgotten that the school gives “the talk” to fourth graders during health class. So I’m off the hook. If the boys need me to fill in any details, I can always hand them “Mommy Laid An Egg,” a great book about the birds and bees with fun cartoon illustrations by Babette Cole. It makes a great bedtime story, especially when read by my visiting mother-in-law. But something is still bothering me. Other things are going to come up. We don’t live in a bubble. Even with supervision, the kids are exposed to all kinds of things on the Internet – like a naked Prince Harry covering his private parts during a game of strip poker in Las Vegas. These things will have to be explained. Fortunately, Lizzie is always there when I need her.