Maya’s Mom is Going to get Sex

In the car:

Mgazi: Maya’s mom is going to get sex.

Me: Um what?

Mgazi: Maya’s mom. She told me she’s going to get sex.

Me: Honey, I don’t think that can be what she said.

Mgazi: Mommy! Listen to what I’m saying! She’s going to get bert! It’s going to be a boy.

Me: Oh! She’s going to give birth. Maya’s mom had sex and now she’s going to give birth to a baby boy!

Mgazi: That’s what I’ve been saying! Her tummy is this big!

Me: I can’t see you, honey, I’m driving the car.


Me: Mgazi! I’m driving the car! I can’t look at you right now.

Zaffy: Mom, Mgazi is saying that Maya’s mommy’s tummy is like three inches bigger than usual.

Mgazi: Yeah, she got a lot of sex.

Zombies vs. Birth Control

I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a professional. I have interests and hobbies. I work out sometimes. I cook at least once a week. Sorry, meant to say I cook at most once a week. But when I do, I cook multiple meals. And I don’t do white starches… bonus point!

I say all this to communicate the fact that I am a busy woman. I barely have time to floss my own teeth, but I do. Because it’s important. Unless I forget. Which I do. A lot.

Lately, I’ve been forgetting quite a few things — important things. Like packing the kids their lunches or my husband’s first name.

But last Friday was the kicker. I forgot to take my pill. You know the one. THE pill.

There are times when I could forget to take the pill every freakin’ day and it wouldn’t make a difference. There are other times, though, when it MATTERS VERY MUCH. This was one of those times.  I was in a semi-state of panic for 5 whole days.

And then I wasn’t.

I decided I needed some help.

Me: Hey you! Husband! Is it Russell? Yeah, Russell. I think you need to get snipped.

Russell: Okay.

Me: Really? You don’t mind.

Russell: Nope. I’m good.

Me: Wait. I’m serious here. You act like it’s no big deal. Like you don’t care one way or the other.

Russell: Of course, I care! This is a big decision. I mean, think about it. I am eliminating my ability to procreate and replenish the Earth should the need arise due to a zombie apocalypse.

Glass of white wineRecommended wine: If you or a loved one are planning on getting snipped, I suggest you give it serious consideration over a glass of wine. Try Zombie Zinfandel. It’s blood-red in color (of course) and horridly rich in concentrated fruit flavors with a finish that never dies!


True Blood vs. American Idol Part I: Backpedaling to Protect my Cover

A couple of months ago I met someone that I admire greatly. A mutual friend introduced me to him. The three of us were in New York making small talk over coffee. I was doing my best to seem intelligent. I had been feeling a little all over the place and I wanted to come across as someone who was “put together”– which meant that I didn’t talk a whole heck of a lot lest the gentleman I greatly admire see through my ruse. (My friend already knew the truth.)

One of the few things that this gentleman I admire and I have in common is that we both have two children. Two girls.  And he happened to mention, off-hand, that he allowed his daughters to watch the television show, TRUE BLOOD. (Note, his kids are much older than mine.)

Well! My “put together” self simply could not remain quiet about that.

After I climbed back into my overstuffed chair and popped my eyeballs back into their sockets, I dared to speak and risk shattering the illusion of stability and rock-solid intellect that I had so carefully built by remaining absolutely silent.

“ARE YOU CRAZY?” I asked. “REALLY? WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, MAN?” (Nice way to show the respect, right?) “There’s violence… and sex!” I was sputtering. “And sex… and very violent violence! What’s a young girl going to think?”

“I thought,” he said calmly, “that the sex and the violence would go over her head but that she would be fascinated by the mythology of vampires, werewolves, angels, and fairies.”

Oh my God, I thought, the gentleman I greatly admire is deluded.

“No, no, no. You have it all wrong!” And I went from sputtering to spouting – sex-is-bad, violence-is-bad. I may have thrown in drugs-are-bad for good measure.

I was on a spouting roll, until…

Sigh. I am constantly being screwed by the “until.”

American IdolThis guy that I greatly respect and admire asked me if I allowed my children to watch adult television shows.

“Heck no!” I said, with righteous indignation. My friend, who knows the truth, raised his eyebrows but remained silent.

Unless you count American Idol.

Damn. This might be a problem.

My “put together” self began to unravel like a sweater with a loose thread in the hands of a toddler (or spastic working mom). I just kept pulling on it and tugging on it. I couldn’t stop.

It’s imperative that you choose the right song!

I proceeded to offer a litany of defenses of my decision to allow my 4 and 6-year olds to watch American Idol, which is, at best, idiotic, and at worst, damaging to young impressionable psyches. I cited such reasons as, “it teaches the nature of competition” and “they learn that you don’t always get what you want but it’s important to try” and most importantly, “my children now understand just how important it is to choose the right song!” I ended my argument with the conclusion that American Idol provided my girls a proper appreciation of the power of the vote.

The gentleman I greatly admire sat across from me, silently nodding. Not in agreement, but because he needed something to do while I went on my tirade.  My friend? The one who knows the truth? I think he was trying to decide if he could slip out back.

Zaffy’s Strategy for Not Getting Pregnant

So, I’m driving the kids home after school. Mgazi announces that she doesn’t want to have babies. (There is no context to this proclamation. The previous discussion had centered around Zaffron’s snack bar strategy at school. “Mom, I know I’m only allowed to go to snack bar once a week. That’s why I went twice this week. Next week I’m planning to take some time off!”)

Sooooo… Gazi doesn’t want to have babies.

Zaffy: I can help you with that.

Mgazi: You can’t help me, Zaffy.

Zaffy: I can. Just don’t let your husband, you know the one you marry, don’t let him put his penis anywhere near your vulva.

zaffyMe: It’s vagina, Zaff. But vulva will work too in this case.

Mgazi: Vagina, Zaffy. Not vulva. (She sighs like she can’t believe her sister doesn’t know the difference.)

Zaffy: That’s what I said. Don’t let a penis go near your vagina and you won’t get pregnant and you won’t have babies.

Silence. Seventy-seven seconds of it. I know this because I keep track. Silence in the car is precious to me and I savor every second of it. And usually about 50 seconds is the threshold that must be crossed in order for me to determine that a conversation is over. Fifty seconds and they’ve lost interest. But apparently this particular conversation has staying power.

Zaffy: But what if it sneaks in?

Me: What if what sneaks in?

Zaffy: What if my husband’s penis sneaks into my vulva?

I take a peak in the rearview mirror to see if she is serious. (I have a healthy suspicion that she messes with me sometimes, purely for the entertainment value.)  A little crinkle has formed between her eyebrows. She is genuinely worried.

Me: I can’t imagine how that would happen, honey.

Zaffy: What if we’re in bed sleeping and it sneaks in and I don’t know it?

Me: You’ll know, babe. If it tries to sneak in you’ll wake up. I promise.

Zaffy considers this.

Mgazi: I’m going to adopt.

Glass of white wineRecommended wine: No wine recommendation today. Too much wine and a sneaky penis can surprise your vulva — and we know what happens then!

You too can have conversations like this! Be it in the car or at the beach!

Enroll your child in OWL (Our Whole Lives), a series of sexuality education curricula for six age groups: grades K-1, grades 4-6, grades 7-9, grades 10-12, young adults, and adults. (Second and third graders are on their own.)

“Bad” Words at the Beach

Zaffron at beachI was recently asked to give a 2-minute testimonial at a church service. The topic was how the church’s Religious Education program had impacted our family. Of course,  I spoke for 5 minutes.

Here it is:

Russell and I have been attending the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu for twelve years. We first got involved in our church’s Religious Education (R.E.) program many years ago, when we were leaders of the youth group. It was a humbling experience. Each Sunday I would leave after an hour or so of “teaching” the teens feeling as though I gained so much more than I could ever give. I remember the Youth Sunday the year we were youth group leaders. After the kids had done their thing during the service and it was time for the congregation to respond, I stood up and told those kids the most honest thing I had shared with them all year. I said, “When and if Russell and I have children, nothing would please us more than to have them turn out half as wonderful as any of you.”

So, now, we have kids. Two. Zaffron, who’s about to turn seven, and Mgazi, also known as Lulu, who just turned five. Both love coming to church and are soaking up all that R.E. has to offer them. Just last week, I was in my bathroom, brushing my teeth, getting ready for work when Zaffron walked into the room and said, “I don’t think I believe in God.” It wasn’t an announcement. She wasn’t proclaiming anything significant. It was conversational. Apparently, this had been rattling around in her head and this is what popped out. Of course, I immediately started hyperventilating. I grew up Baptist. Twelve years of being a Unitarian didn’t erase the fear of God in me.

When the nausea passed, however, I was filled with pride.  I’m pretty confident that none of Zaffron’s R.E. teachers told her there’s no God.  Instead, they shared with her facts, and history, and stories, and details of religions around the world and here at home, and most importantly, our U.U. principles, and this is what she decided based on the information she was provided. R.E. is helping my daughter become a critical thinker.

What's the Big Secret?Our church’s R.E. program is not parked solely in the realm of religion. It also offers a groundbreaking human sexuality program called O.W.L.—Our Whole Lives.

We enrolled Zaffy when she was five years old into this program. She learned the medically appropriate terms for body parts, the different forms that families can take, what’s appropriate behavior and what’s not, how to stay safe, and, somewhat to my dismay at the time, but now my relief, how babies are made… down to the very… last… detail.

Mgazi at the beachRussell often takes our daughters to Kaimana Beach on Saturdays. One of the girls’ favorite things is to rinse off in the showers after an energetic morning of swimming and playing in the sand. They’ll run ahead of Russell, leaving him behind to collect the towels and toys. They jump under the falling water of the showers, completely unaware that other beachgoers may have been waiting for their turn.

One of the girls will invariably turn around and yell across the beach to my husband who is still gathering their things, “DADDY, SHOULD WE RINSE OUR VULVAS?”

[Don't believe I said "vulva" in church? I've got video proof!]

This is what we get out of this church’s R.E. program. Children who are unafraid to speak their minds. Children who analyze information that they are given and make their own decisions. I realize that both of my examples of how R.E. has impacted our lives convey a mixture of horror and pride. But to me, this is a good thing. My kids are becoming independent thinkers, in no small part due to our church’s R.E. program. And any good independent thinker is going to provoke a variety of emotions in the people they interact with.

I’m thrilled that my Mgazi and Zaffron get the opportunity to participate in our R. E. program. I’m even more thrilled that they are well on their way to becoming just as wonderful as the teens that Russell and I had the privilege to learn from ten years ago.

A Lazy Parent Explains the Word “Sexy”

Zaffy as a baby. Not sexy.

Zaffy overheard me say that a guy on television was sexy. Of course, she asked right away, “what’s sexy?” I said, “it means attractive.” She said, “what’s attractive?” I said, “it means cute.” She said, “so babies are sexy?”

Now, this would have been the perfect time to stop and straighten out the mess I just created. But, of course, I don’t do that.

Instead, I said, “Zaff, I’m sorry. Sexy is a big word that grownups use.”

She shot me an annoyed look (she recognizes lazy parenting) and said, “Not that big! It’s only four letters!”