Wednesday, October 06, 2004

My Mother

Way back when I started blogging (almost a year ago), I eagerly emailed my sister the URL. I also mentioned it to my mother, but I can't remember if I sent her the URL, too. I specifically told my sister not to send it to my other sister, the one who stole pictures of my unclothed backside while I was in the process of birthing my daughter. Now, I never mention the URL to anyone here in my real life. I kind of want to pretend that I'm an island, writing to the wind, free to say whatever. Even if I don't.

Anyway, my sister, R., promised she would never share the URL. My mother never mentioned my blog--ever--and I am fairly sure that she forgot about it, if, indeed, she ever did know about it in the first place. My mother is not exactly technologically savvy and in fact, she keeps sending me forwarded urban legends in the guise of helpful advice. I keep directing her to, not that it helps. This week, I learned not to fall for the old car-jacking trick where someone puts a post-it note on your back windshield after you have put gasoline into your car, because then you will get out of your car, leaving the keys in and your purse just sitting there, to remove the note and voila! A thief has your car and your purse. Which hurts a lot if you spent a lot of money on it. Which I do not. The purse, I mean.

But I digress.

So, I can't talk much about my mother here, because she may (or may not) have the URL. My mother is dear to me and I love her whole-heartedly, but I could tell you stories that would make you weep. I can tell you those stories about my dad, because he is no longer here, snooping on, but my mother? She might someday become acquainted with, so I will just zip my lips.

But I do have to say a couple of things.

A few weeks ago, my mother had stopped by to visit. It was a Wednesday evening and the boys had all gone to church. Babygirl and I were just getting ready to go upstairs so Babygirl could take her nightly shower, so Babygirl was undressed completely. She loves to wear her birthday suit. Without socks. Or shame.

So, she's unclothed and my mother and I and Babygirl are in the living room, chatting. Babygirl sits down and pokes around and says, "What's that?" while she plings a fleshy bit in her lower regions.

Stricken, I think of two things.

1) My steadfast policy to use correct terminology.
2) My mother's presence.

I glance from my mother to my daughter. And back. Meanwhile, my daughter looks up at me again and says, "What's that?"

With a sidelong glance at my mother (who never had a "talk" with me, who threw a razor onto my bed without comment when I was a hairy young pre-adolescent, who failed to prepare me for the start of my menstruation as a--gasp--fourth grader), I say to my daughter, "That's your vulva."

Which it was. And is.

But. I said. The word: VULVA!! In front. Of. My Mother.

I was suddenly a child again, red-cheeked and embarrassed to be naming parts "down there" while my mother listened. It's like that moment when you realized that your grandparents had relations, that they "knew" each other, in the biblical sense. Probably more than once. Especially if they have more than one child.

But that's kind of the reason I want to call a spade a spade. Or a vulva a vulva. I want my children to have unvarnished, plain words for their body parts. I don't want them to call "it" a silly name like "teapot" or "woo-woo."

Still. When Babygirl asked again that night, still wiggling the part back and forth, I said, "That's your bottom. Want to go have a shower?" It's hard to be plainspoken and matter of fact when your mother sits there watching, judging, listening.

Tonight, my mother was telling me about a friend of hers. This friend married a loser a couple of years ago and now they are separated. The friend told my mother that she stays for financial reasons and, as my mother reported to me tonight, "because the sex is good."


Please, Mother! I don't even want to hear those words come from your mouth again. As far as I am concerned, you never had s-e-x and neither did I. I don't want to visualize you doing that, and, in fact, as far as I'm concerned, you don't, haven't, won't, ever again. And as far as you are concerned, I don't either. I haven't. I won't. Let's promise to never swap stories or tips.

There is a line between my mother and me and I never want to cross it.

Meanwhile, my daughter comes in contact with her own delicate parts more than ever these days and guess how she pronounces "vulva"? That's right. "Voo-voo", which sounds exactly like "woo-woo."


Blogger Marykay said...

The bit I like best is that Babygirl is naked AND unashamed. I wish I could say the same...

4:31 AM  
Blogger WordsRock said...

Mel, you crack me up. There is so much in this post to which I relate; my experiences differing in details yet with such the same flavor.

But 4th grade.... oh Mel. That's just... just... ugh.

5:24 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

Oh, sides hurt from laughing...

I've become the 'memory' for my aging parents. My dad has prostate cancer, and as I was filling out the form in the uroligists office for my dad there appeared on the reverse side the outline of a person, and the instructions told me to DRAW what the presenting problem was. Well...I handed it back to my dad and said, 'You brought me up better than that!'. Goodness. In an age of technology, here I sit in a doctor's office with my dad drawing dirty pictures (if only he knew, i AM quite good at it).

Your babygirl story reminds me that my husband and I have decided that our NEXT set of children will be totally inhibited. Totally. My oldest son, at the age of three, asked his grandfather if he had a big penis. My mother nearly DIED, and my dad turned 11 shades of maroon. He did answer him though, he said 'no'. This wasn't enough for my son, who looked him square in the eye and said "you still have a little boy one?". By now my mother is in need of medical attention.

My daughter refered to her 'parts' as her 'ladybug'. This made viewing that wonderful Christian book, where you read the nice Biblical thoughts and then count how many ladybugs are on the page, a difficult task. My husband handed the book back to me one night and said, 'I will NEVER be able to read this to them again!'. I find it extremely funny that my daughter's house has a 'ladybug' problem, she doesn't quite see what I find so funny, but it just seems SO right!

You are my daily inspiration to get these stories down. Thanks Mel.

6:46 AM  
Blogger G~ said...

Cracking up here, too. I know exactly what you're talking about. I do find, however, that with age, my mother is mellowing some...and maybe I'm becoming a bit less likely to go all red talking about "that stuff" in front of/to her.

Ever since my FIL was dx'd w/prostate cancer a couple years ago (& had sugery & is cancer-free now, PTL!) we've aaaall come to speak a bit more openly about "that stuff".

My own father has some prostate problems and since FIL works for my father, they about "that stuff". Sometimes my 15yo son works for his Pap too, so poor guy...many's the time he has walked away as if he doesn't know them to escape the embarassment of hearing his grandpas talk about their "you know whats"!!

Good on you for at least TRYING to give Babygirl the correct terminology. I'm not a stickler for that myself. To me, words like "vagina" and "penis" just shouldn't be coming out of the mouth of a child under 13. LOL! It just doesn't seem right to me.

My kids have slang terms they use, but since we homeschool, they also get the precise terms as "health class". ;) Matter of fact, my 15yo is now a cadet with our local Emergency Medical service!! He has passed all those 'part naming' tests when the other kids miss some.


You crack me up!

11:41 AM  
Blogger QQ said...

LOL!! This entry cracked me up! I forgot about "teapot"...and "woo woo". Too funny about the "voo voo".

My son argues with me that he does not have a penis (or pisnid as he says it), rather he has a pee pee. Hey, I tried ;)

6:11 PM  
Blogger Tina said...

You are good keeping to the correct terminology...I try, but haven't worked the word vulva into anyone's vocab yet.

I have told NO ONE in my real life about my journal except my husband. I know there is always a possibility that it can be found, but I can't imagine that anyone is really looking for it...

10:23 AM  

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