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Even Educated Fleas Do It

I can’t remember exactly how old I was so I’m going to go with eight, when my mother decided it was time that I learned the Facts of Life. I’m sure most parents look forward to, plan, over-analyze, idealize, fear, and dread the inevitable “talk” with their children regarding The Birds and The Bees.

But not my mom. She threw a book at me:

where did i come from

The problem is, this book does not tell you the alternate terms (read: street language) for where babies come from. So, when I was nine and sleeping over at my friend Stacy’s house and she asked me if I knew about the birds and the bees and I said no, rather than tell me what she was talking about so that I could say “Oh THAT – I know all about THAT!“, she decided that since I hadn’t learned about it yet, she probably shouldn’t tell me.

Of course, these people have no problem breaking your heart about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, but the good stuff? The stuff that you would want to know? Would give up your weekly allowance of thirty-five cents to know? They keep that juicy stuff to themselves.

Which means she probably told our friends that I didn’t know about the birds and the bees and everybody else was probably laughing at me behind my back because I didn’t know about sex. But I DID know about sex.

But, you ask, … why is it such a big deal that everybody know that you know?

WHAT?! Are you kidding me?!? You’re asking why? Well, let me tell you why!

Because THE most important thing in a child’s life, her absolute highest priority is to belong, to be accepted by her peers. The first time you are excluded from one thing, a precedent may be set, you may be blacklisted at the elementary level, and the next thing you know, you will be left out of EVERYTHING!

You will be alienated. Oh no! You spent your whole grade school life networking, making sure you were included in Jamie’s jacks game, or Teri’s hopscotch game. You bit your nails, got anxious when  Sally, the popular girl in pigtails, looked askance at you and you wondered briefly what you could have possibly done wrong to mess up the delicate balance of 4th grade politics.

One gap in communication could ruin your entire life. You become a social pariah and unjustifiably so!

As it turns out, that’s not at all what happened. My life went on happily with many friends and by junior high, Stacy became known as the school skank. Perhaps “skank” is too modern a word. This was, after all, the 70s. I believe the word used back then was “slut”.

They said she had “slept with a boy”. I agreed with my gossipy girlfriends that it was scandalous. I wasn’t precisely sure what was shameful about it but their voices clearly indicated to me the scarlety letterness of it all. My friend, whom I thought I knew (she never told me that she climbed into bed with boys and fell asleep next to them – it sounded so daring) had passed way ahead of me on the boy tract somewhere along the line.

So while the above book was funny and educational, it was not big on euphemisms. All I’m saying is, that it would have been nice to know that “sleeping with” someone was the opposite of what it sounded like.

Before I hit puberty, my mother threw another book at me:

whats happening

My mom was such a chicken. Granted, she handed me these books and told me to come to her if I had any questions, but when you are raised in a house where uncomfortabe conversation is avoided at all costs, do you think I’m going to initiate any talk about sex? Ack! No way, man! Instead, I studied the crap out of that book because, clearly, it was going to be my only source of information.

I would also like to complain about the lack of euphemisms in this book as well. Can’t they just have a list at the end like an index of slang terms? You know, like:

1. On the rag
2. A visit from Aunt Flo
3. The monthly curse of the great red bat.

Just a quick reference page – maybe on the back inside cover. I would have appreciated that.

small ban div


Goat Thing of The Day

These cuties were seen in Yuma, Arizona.

goat from ken 2

(Photo courtesy of Ken)

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  1. charlene says:

    I had the opposite problem really. When I saw six, the druggies seven year old daughter gave the latch-key kid down the street a blow job in the back ally for all us kids to see. I went home and told my mom what I saw (not knowing any better because I was a pure little first grader). I got the whole talk, slang, proper words….for weeks. She went into panic attack. I must have had thirty billion sex talks by the time I was in highschool. I was a virgin until marriage. I blame her….LoL

  2. * TONYA * says:

    OMG the memories. In my first year of what you would call junior high, my friends talking about ‘having their rags’ and I had not a clue in the world what they were talking about.
    I have a 13 year old. He probably knows more than what any child should, but I’ve always had the policy that if he has a question it will be answered honestly b/c I’d hate for him to hear things from his friends who don’t in fact have all their facts.

  3. Jessica Bern says:

    Okay, how about I give her the book and I’ll write in the euphemisms myself. I think that is a fair compromise.
    Just today my 5 year old asked where babies come from. Don’t worry, I told her…we better get going or we’ll be late for school

  4. KJ says:

    Yeah, my parents never did tell me about the so-called birds and bees. However, my mom did take me into the bathroom and hand me a pink pamphlet that said something about periods and thick pads. I guess she just couldn’t get the words out to explain it. But that’s just how things were back at the um, turn of the century.
    No, I’m not that old. YOU are!
    No, I’m not. You are!

  5. wa says:

    Last week at our school, they announced that the 5th grade boys were going to have their “special assembly” to talk about the birds & bees. All I kept thinking was how much I’d hate to be a 5th grade GIRL that afternoon.

  6. Marie says:

    I just found NGIP. I love it. I read a lot of posts. Loved them all. However, this one reminded me of how grateful I was to have 2 boys. I was off the hook. Compared to my mom, your’s was very progressive. My mom said a few very awkward things as I was leaving for my honeymoon.

  7. chat blanc says:

    a quick reference guide would have been nice (possibly with pictures?)–my parents were even more chicken than yours, I didn’t even get a book! :-O kids these days at least have Urban Dictionary to consult, we had nothin’!

  8. Tammy says:

    Oh my gosh, I was handed a book too. I was clueless as my book was about how farm animals do it – a college book on animal husbandry. Okay that was just way to sick to do to a kid. Also, that movie in the 5th grade, of course this was 30+ years ago, what was it about really. Swimming, riding a bike – I was so totally lost, until I turned 12, then the whole ugly truth showed itself. Ugh, parents can really screw a person up.

  9. dani says:

    Boy do I dread the day..

  10. lizspin says:

    That’s why I left that talk with my daughters to my husband. . . It’s much better to hear it from a boy’s perspective. Don’t ya think????

  11. mrsmouthy says:

    Wow, your whole post is like a tangent. I love it! I often wonder if I’m the only 30-something who lies awake in bed, wondering if I would have been more popular in the 4th grade if I had brushed my hair and/or not wet my pants.
    We had a “Stacy” too, who ran around asking all the girls if they had peach fuzz yet in the sixth grade. I hope she has crabs today.

  12. Renee Khan says:

    Curse of the red bat was the best.

  13. Alex L. says:

    Oh that takes me back… not the learning about menstruation… that would have just been weird and really unneeded.

  14. Pooba says:

    Yeah, I didn’t learn much from my parents. I never knew that on a normal cycle is 21 days off 7 days on. I didn’t know that you could put it on a calendar. I never knew when mine was coming I just figured once a month sometime right?
    My mom filled me in on this information after I got married. I felt so stupid.

  15. Michelle says:

    Oh wow. I certainly hope that I give more to my wee ones that this when the time is right. Given the plethora of questions I get about every conceivable (ha!) topic right now, I’m not too worried yet.
    If it makes you feel any better, my mom just handed me the set of encyclopedias for me to look up my questions one by one. Yah….
    And thank you so much for visiting my blog yesterday during my SITS day. It was so much fun to see all the comments, and so many had such nice things to say. I hope you enjoyed yourself and come back to visit again soon!

  16. Ann says:

    But you didn’t have the pleasure of the OTHER book of that same series…I swear there was a divorce one I was handed as well, but a quick Amazon search turned up nothing.

  17. Ladybeams says:

    Oh my gosh, that first book was the one I used for my kids. LOL. Although we read it together and went through everything. I wish I would have known about the second, it probably would have saved my son (my youngest and only boy) from the nightmares after we had “the talk”. Poor kid.

  18. HeatherPride says:

    My mom bought me the wonderful book called “How Babies are Made” complete with 1970s photos of “junk” and “hoo-hoos”. Sadly, the book didn’t offer up any alternative lingo for those either.

  19. my mother also dealt with questions of the icky nature by tossing books in my general direction. how easier my life would have been, had she given me on titled “So You’re Gonna Be a Homo”

  20. Nooter says:

    is that what those stupid fleas are doing on my back?? no wonder it tickles!

  21. Ellie says:

    I’m distracted by the fact that the book is by Peter Mayle. That Peter Mayle? A Year in Provence Peter Mayle? I never knew that…

  22. Anna Lefler says:

    First of all, my hair looks just like the little goat in the middle if I don’t use any product.
    And second…ah, yes. Nothing like being the only 4th-grade girl who can speak authoritatively about her “labia”…with page references.
    That’s book learnin’ fer ya.
    :^) Anna

  23. Blicky Kitty says:

    OMG I had the SAME book thrown at me. Both actually.

  24. Jennifer says:

    Coming from a Catholic family my mom completely chickened out. My sister threw the Judy Blume book, “Are you there God, it’s me Margaret” at me. Yea, like that told me anything. I’d love to have “the talk” with my boys, but every time I ask them questions about what they know they just get this petrified look on their faces like “oh god, mom is gonna try to be cool again”. *sigh* oh well…guess they’ll have to read Judy Blume too.

  25. I don’t think I could be drunk enough to explain *that* to ANY pre-teen or whatever! I, too, would throw a book at them and RUN the other way! LOL Good luck. :o) ♥ ∞

  26. Betts says:

    Oh, I’m dreading the day that I have to “give the talk”. She’s only 6 now, but it’ll come too soon.
    My mom threw a book at me too, but I don’t remember what it was. It was enough information. I thought my period would be a little drop of blood… you know… like a period at the end of sentence. When it started, I thought I was bleeding to death.

  27. vodkamom says:

    I told my girls WAY TOO MUCH info! I taught fifth grade for ten years, and had to do it every year- so bitchy and sassy got the spiel before they GOT there. Over and over again.
    maybe that’s how i fucked them up

  28. nikkicrumpet says:

    Well at least she gave you a dang book. True story….one week after my wedding. My mom asks me if I have any questions about sex!!! Saddest part of the story…back in those days you had to have a “pre-marital exam” to check for diseases etc. During this “exam” my doctor noticed (during the pelvic) that I was still a virgin. Since he was an old friend of my parents…and knew my mother was a nervous ninny…he asked me if I’d had THE talk yet. I said no…so he gave me my first sex talk. He looked at me totally serious and said “Men are bastards…it will be more fun the second time” That was it! And since I grew up in Utah where people just didn’t talk about sex back then…not even between us girls it was all the info I had to go on. Needless to say it was a damn good thing my hubby knew what he was doing!

  29. Bobbi says:

    My parents never talked to me about the birds and the bees.
    I think it was because when I was in 5th grade, they separated the boys and the girls and taught us what each gender needed to know. Sort of. So they got off the hook.
    The rest I learned from my older sister and her friends when I would spy on them.

  30. I was so sheltered that I didn’t know what a ‘bj’ was but there would be tons of jokes here and there about it and I would laugh along. In my heart of hearts, I thought it had to do with plastic surgery.

  31. Tracy says:

    You have brought back memories of 13 year old me being laughed at by my good friend and her mother for not knowing what an “orgy” was.

  32. Ha ha ha! The bit that made me laugh was “A visit from Aunt Flo” They said that in US too? Hahaha! I hadn’t heard the others though. My mum gave a book to our eldest sister who read it to us younger girls (answering any questions as she went) as we reached the right age for it. It was handy have a sister who was an adult!

  33. Gladys says:

    Yes this exactly! Only my mother was the opposite. She would say “You know that Julie? Yeah your friend Julie? She is a slut and you are banned from hanging out with her.” I would ask why she was a slut and she would say “because she’s out bonking boys” Oh I would reply and then retreat to my room tring to figure out what the heck boinking was.

  34. Yikes. I just had a severe looking nurse with a starched hat and a pink line drawing of pubes. If I’d had Marlo Thomas getting all ‘That Girl’ up in it I’d have been scarred for life.

  35. Jenn Thorson says:

    You mean you didn’t have to see the movie in school with Marlo Thomas in it, singing and dancing and talking about sex and puberty?
    There were two movies, one for the boys, one for the girls. We lived in abject embarrassment of these films.
    And they tried so very, very hard to be “cool.”
    “Free to Be You and Me.”

  36. DeadpanAnn says:

    I was never given the talk by anyone except my older cousin. The only “talk” my parents gave me was to never, never, never, never, never ever, ever EVER have sex EVER unless I was good and married first. Doing it before then made you a total whore. And yes, my mother used the word “whore” more than once in describing a young lady who broke this rule. In fact, when I was 25 and went on a road trip to Austin Texas with my then-boyfriend (now husband) she called me a whore. It was the first proof she had that we had ever slept in the same room, and she straight up called me a whore. I told her I wasn’t a whore; I was doing it for free, thank you very much. Did I mention that I was 25 at the time, and that I married this guy?
    My child is only 3 months old, so I haven’t thought about being on the Mommy end of the talk yet.

  37. Ken Geraths says:

    Very funny, You know what, I never did get that talk from my parents. Nope not even do you want to know nothing. But I still am alive and I did find out…. Just ask my daughter. Oh and I did not make the same mistake as my parents did.

  38. I always liked the drug education pamphlets that gave you sixty street names for each drug that you never heard anyone use, ever, unless you were watching an epidsode of Baretta.
    Were those written by the same Peter Mayle who wrote all the mysteries set in Provence? If so, treat yourself to something better by him. You won’t be disappointed.

  39. orion says:

    so what you’re saying is you didn’t know about burying the worm?

  40. LuckyMe says:

    You forgot to mention how absolutely hysterical that book is.
    Back in the day, I just watched Oprah in front of the boys and they would try to run away screaming.
    She taught us about “tossed salads” and rainbow bracelets and that 12 year olds think oral sex is something nice you do for your friends.
    Yeah. I made them listen to my commentary through the fingers in their ears.
    Debby and dizzblnd cracking me up! what the hell is that hair doing there??? HAH! I think it would sell!

  41. Mahala says:

    I had books too.. a series of books. I think they were put out by Britanica.. the Life Cycle Library or some chit. Man.. I’d totally forgotten about those.

  42. Ha! My folks did the same thing–books follwed by a “let us know if there are any questions.” There weren’t. Not for them anyway.
    I remember hearing on the news or something a reference to “condoms” and asking my Mom what that was, and she started explaining, “it’s a little rubber device a man puts over his…” I interrupted quickly and said, “Oh, we call those ‘rubbers’!”
    Books with slang are a necessary evil.

  43. Ha! At least you weren’t raised by a man, like I was, who told you NOTHING. I didn’t know what “sleeping with” someone meant until I was almost 17. I stopped laying ON the bed with my Dad to watch tv because I thought I could end up pregnant since everyone that “slept with a guy” caught that bug. Apparently none of my friends thought it necessary to explain all this boy girl madness to moi. Ugh……I was stupid.
    And yes…..I was a virgin when I got married. *sigh*

  44. annette says:

    You haven’t lived until your middle-schooler comes home from the skating rink and informs you that a boy asked her if she ever had an orgasm..”Mom, what’s an orgasm?”
    I thought she’d be MUCH older before I had to discuss that one…
    Cute goats!!

  45. Alison Veres says:

    I never had the official “talk” and I never gave the official “talk” and yet I managed to make four lovely babies and they seem to know what to do. I guess that’s what comes from growing up with Cable TV. When I was young, there was no Cable TV. I remember when cable came out, the first time I saw a scene with a woman baring her naked breasts at, like, 4:00 in the afternoon (!) (instead of demurely waiting until 11:00 pm when the kiddies were in bed) I was shocked! Oh, and I remember when skanks were called sluts. I totally admired the sluts. I wanted to be one, but I just didn’t have the skills. I had to settle for jock. Hey — if you like euphemisms, and slang and the words kids use in the real world? Check out It’s fun.

  46. Yes, the word back then was slut.
    Don’t ask me how I know.

  47. By the time she was 9, I had tried several times to have “the chat” with my daughter. She refused to listen. So I finally brought home a book and said, “If you won’t talk to me at least read this book.” She went into her room, slammed the door and emerged an hour later shreiking “Is this REALLY true?” When I said “Yes.” She went right back to her room, slammed the door and wouldn’t speak to me for several hours. 🙂

  48. Blognut says:

    It’s not so bad having the talk with your kids. You have to turn it around a little bit and take some joy from the fact that you’re making them more uncomfortable than they will (hopefully) ever be again in their entire lives. That makes it way easier!

  49. lisa says:

    My kids learn about that stuff in school. They separate the boys and girls and show them a movie in the 5th grade.

  50. ToyLady says:

    Ugh. Right after I “entered the ranks of womanhood” (the ACTUAL TERM my mother used on the phone to tell ALL HER FRIENDS that I’d gotten my period), she handed me a Time-Life cartoony sort of book and asked me to make sure I gave it back to her when I was done, as we didn’t want my younger siblings getting hold of it.
    All I really remember was the cheesy pictures of the chickens and dogs – first humping, then smiling. And the man and lady lying in bed, covers pulled up to their necks, grinning like idiots.
    Then she asked me if I had any questions, too. Uh, no, thanks, I’ll figure it out on my own, thanks.

  51. dizzblnd says:

    ps.. don’t worry Kiki… I have LOTS of Teguila
    U U U U 4 shots right there to get ya started

  52. dizzblnd says:

    Maybe, we could be the next HBDC book on those subjects. I am SURE that all of us perverts can think of enough euphemisms to write the greatest books ever. “How you REALLY got here” and “What the hell is that hair doing THERE”
    What do ya think Chelle?

  53. KiKi says:

    I am completely in denial about having to face this with my beautiful, pure, innocent 6 yr old boy going on 17 at this point. Tell me it doesnt happen sooner than like….
    I’m gonna need a good few shots of tequila or somthing first.

  54. debby says:

    I kept up with this sort of thing when I was in high school. However, now that I am 52, I’m way behind. I walked in on a group of my nieces. One of them was having a ‘party’ and wanted to invite me. It was a sex toy party. “I don’t need to buy one of those,” I said. “Tim’s still got his.” Their laughter followed me from the room. I understood that I had become an old fart.