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Archive for the ‘Bunkbed Confidential’ Category

Recipe for Phun

Posted by crowbiz on January 21, 2010

With these gloomy days of winter upon me, it’s all I can do to avoid plunging face-down into a carbohydrate-fueled funk every day.   Here’s a little gem I found last summer in SonWon’s shorts pocket and just rediscovered among my papers this week.  It was a to-do list he had made for his 10th birthday last July.  Against all sense, we agreed to host a party and sleepover of seven boys, and G-man – normally as structured as a weed garden – decided it was monumental enough an event to actually plan out.  It’s a bit herky-jerky, with some group activities scheduled to begin before the 5:00 guest arrival time, but c’est la vie when you’re turning 10.

The Perfect Day

Though his spelling and penmanship hint strongly at “short bus,” I’m happy to say that the boy attends an honors school, which – thank god – recognizes other characteristics.

Thus I give you a breath of childhood summer:

1.  Eat breakfast

2.  Collect water guns

3.  Start war and make fort

4.  Wait for 5:00

5.  really start war

(He crossed off these first five items, but evidently, the action began in earnest after this and there was no more time to follow the protocol.)

6. dry off    split into two groups.  play Playmobile.

7.  open presents and mabe biuld one    (Confident he would get several coveted  Lego sets – it goes unsaid)

8.  Play some more, eat.

9.  watch moive

10.  “go to sleep” and draw on someones face   (Foiled!  Sadly, the intended target didn’t fall asleep first.)

11.  build more lego and go to sleep

Would that we could all have that day.

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Posted in Bunkbed Confidential, Life In the Mod Podge Lane | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Sort-of Facts of Life

Posted by crowbiz on June 16, 2009

 

 

 

 

hilarious cards by wryandginger on etsy

hilarious cards by wryandginger on etsy

The Bunkbed Confidential category is so named for the weird and often heartfelt conversations that seem to transpire at the boys’ bedtime, a usually chaotic time that ends most nights with parental cuddling for each boy in their respective beds.  Since the boys were little, however, they’ve tended to spill the beans to mom rather than Mr Crow, probably out of sheer availability and time logged in mandatory cuddling, and I’m milking this all I can until we hit the monosyllabic grunt years.  The habit and need surrounding the cuddling ritual is so entrenched that there are times when I seriously worry I will have to drive to their eventual dorm rooms and lie down next to them with my hand across their chest.

 

 

 

 

While we’ve never had anything remotely resembling a sit-down lesson on the facts of life – that is, matters sexual, not mortgage, tax or annoying coworkers – various topics have come up over time and I address them as is, which leads to meandering but informative sessions.  It’s easy to see that SonWon, when given an interesting new piece of bodily information, is eager to think of ways to work it into conversations with others, and I’ve encouraged him to act wisely and not try to become the Merck Manual of Bus 408.  

Way back in first grade, he told me (from the top bunk) that some kids and he were discussing “boobs” at the school lunch table.  “Really?” I said, wondering what he could possibly have contributed to the conversation. “And what did you say?”  He was forthright:  “I told them you had big ones.”   I advised him that “breasts” was a better word to use.  Careful not to dissuade him from disclosing info, I try to keep things lighthearted.  It also helps that he’s had to sit through many of my lectures on very basic brain anatomy and function, and considers me an expert on biological matters.  Whenever I honestly tell him I don’t know the answer to some physiological function like renal failure, he assumes I’m just too tired or busy to bother crafting an reply – I’m holding out on him.

Though SonWon had for some time known that a man’s penis and “cells” from both parents are somehow involved in making babies, we never got to the specifics until one bedtime session when he was in second grade.  He asked the dreaded question about how the man’s cells get into the woman.  Like many kids, he had a fuzzy notion that kissing was involved, since it’s usually the most obvious and intimate physical contact most kids witness between parents – one hopes.  At the time, I was lounging in the lower bunk with SonToo, who was about 4 or 5 and still sucked his thumb.  He was listening closely, as always, wondering if this might somehow be of interest or import to him, but letting his big bro do the talking.

Since matter-of-fact is my normal daily mode, I laid out a hypothetical baby-making strategy in a few simple steps.  The sperm cells come out of the man’s penis, which has to go inside the woman, specifically, the vagina, or as SonWon already knew it, the birth canal.  Then the sperm meets up with the egg for tapas and drinks before merging. (If I’ve misstated something here, someone should email me.  But I think I have the basics right, which, sadly, many people do not.  When teaching Human Sexuality to college students, I inevitably get mired down explaining facts that anyone who has reached the age of 12 should know, but I just pick my jaw up off the floor and continue with impromptu hand-scrawled diagrams.  My penis cross-section is famous, if wince-inducing.  Even more class time is wasted dispelling ridiculous misinformation and rumors that have surprising tenacity, considering I heard the same things 30 years ago.)

SonWon was momentarily mortified at the idea of insertion and insisted I repeat it, since I’m known to prank him with a straight face and weary sigh for extra fool-power.  “You mean it really goes inside the woman’s body?” he asked. I affirmed this.  SonToo, three steps behind at kissing, suddenly sprang upright as if propelled by a broken coil.  His thumb shot out of his mouth with a comic pop, and he shouted in horror, “IN DA MOUTH?!  Eeeewww!!”

 

photo by Pavel Krok

photo by Pavel Krok

This isn’t what you envision, no matter what your philosophy of sexual education.  I had to literally press him back down, perhaps like some cartoon version of getting a corpse to lie flat in a casket.  This exclamation concerned SonWon, probably making him think he wasn’t listening closely enough and had misinterpreted something about where the penis is supposed to go.  “No, really, Mom, does it have to go in the woman’s mouth?!” he worried.  They followed up with a duet of more “eeeewwwws.”

 

Haha, you say.  It’s not so ha-ha when you’ve been caught off guard and have to get the game back into regulation time.  A few mental stops and starts slowed my response, what with ideas of oral sex and avoiding explaining oral sex, but I managed something to the effect of “The penis does not go in the woman’s mouth….to make a baby.”  It was tempting to tell them the mouth is the only place the penis should go until they finish graduate school and have good-paying jobs.  Double sighs of relief told me that was enough for them, and they’d be ruminating on it long enough that I didn’t need to burden them with more facts right then and there.  Anyway, I knew the other shoe was not just about to drop, but crash, freight train-like, to the floor from SonWon.

“So that means you and Dad had to….”

There’s nothing like ending the day by hearing your kids’ “eeeeewws” grow quieter and quieter under the peaceful veil of sleep.

Posted in Bunkbed Confidential | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Good Luck, New Wife

Posted by crowbiz on May 27, 2009

 

To Have and Hold

To Have and Hold

How children develop their sense of adult institutions is a complicated mystery.  Careers, relationships, mortgages, the ability to choose your own diet and bedtime – kids have an off-kilter take on all of it, and mom and dad, naturally, shoulder most of the blame.  When you have your first baby, you harbor all sorts of laughable if noble ideas about how you’re going to carefully, deftly and properly mold this child.  A few years and/or children later, your parental aspirations sadly degrade from “crafting a fine human being” to “avoiding irrevocable damage and resentment,” and even that can be a challenge.

 

When SonWon was about six, he was philosophizing in the bathroom while Mr Crow showered.  “Dad,” he asked, “If Mom died, would you want to go on dates?”  Mr. Crow, knowing I was within earshot, answered in cue-card fashion, “Why-no-honey!  I-don’t-think-I’d-want-to-go-on-dates.”  Son pondered this for a second and said, “Well, if I had a wife and it died, I’d probably want to get a new one.”  It.  One.

He seems to have had the goldfish model in mind; after flushing the dead wife down the toilet, he’d be free to pursue others.  One imagines the Wife Shelter, where dozens of potential wives are waiting in little fenced cubicles, available for viewing and short supervised walks.  Posted on each pen is the reason for ending up at the shelter and other special instructions:  “owner could not care for,”  “allergic,”  “moving, could not take with,”  “stray,”  “should be only wife in household,”  “separation anxiety,” and for many, “needs meds.”  After choosing one and checking out, a guy could drive home in excited anticipation of the new relationship while the New Wife lies curled up on a blanket in the back seat.

 

Another Option

Another Option

The boys are in that hazy stage where marriage is a far-off, far-out concept that has fringe appeal to other people.  Kind of like people who eat deep-fried animal testicles;  it may be their thing, but it ain’t for me.  They often assert their desire to remain unmarried, which I tell them is fine if that’s how they feel when they grow up.  “I don’t want to have to get married,” they proclaim, “I could be like (so-and-so).”  Inserted are names of various never-married or divorced adult men we know.  That almost all their models of bachelorhood are gay has yet to be addressed, but the good news for them is that marriage is not an inevitable entity like death and taxes.  Yet at other times, they offhandedly refer to their future family, wife and marriage.  Alternately, they claim to want the freedoms of marriagelessness, then in another breath, express pity for those poor guys with no wife – no one to talk to, play with or drive around with.  Bummer!

 

 

SonToo may be reconciling himself.  He’s past the age of wanting to grow up and marry Mom; he’s shifted his nuptial goals to something that’s probably more realistic and socially acceptable:  our dog.  I haven’t the heart to tell him that, given her projected lifespan, he’ll have to be a mere teenage groom to a geriatric bride with a grey muzzle and “leakage” problems.  But it’s a positive sign that he’s warming to the idea of connubial commitment to something.

As far as parent-child talks go, we cover a lot.  While out on a special weekday lunch, my boys began pondering life if Mr. Crow and I were to divorce or if one of us were to die.  Not surprisingly, it was an unpleasant idea for them, but almost worse was the prospect that either parent would remarry.  Like a good sport with sleuthing skills, I managed to elicit plenty out of them, though the way they blared their opinions (for most of the restaurant to hear) made my work easy.  They were particularly concerned about Dad getting himself a new partner.  Sample sentiments included “He’d listen to her instead of us!”,  “He might like her more and take her side!”, and other dad-siphoning, us-against-her anxieties.  Did they envision a dad zombified in the New Wife’s presence, failing his progeny while doing Her evil bidding? It was in all our best interests to prevent this from happening, which brought to mind various “Parent Trap” techniques (she wouldn’t last an hour on one of our camping trips).  SonWon, older and marginally more worldly, articulated each point, while SonToo repeatedly shouted “Yeah!” in between fries. What about me? I queried. What if I married a different man?  Interestingly, despite their objections, they didn’t voice the same worries.  They were not overly vexed about my potential bamboozlement, but viewed the New Husband more as a general and unnecessary intrusion into our lives.  

I got them ice cream cones on the way out.

Posted in Bunkbed Confidential | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »