The Year is Complete!

Please feel free to look back through the 365 days of 2010 sunrises, but "a year of getting up to meet the day" is officially completed. There will be no more new posts.


Thank you so much for visiting.
A one year blog project in which I share a process of transitions: emptying of the nest, reacquainting with my rusty intellect, plowing onward with my first full length book, entering the second half of my first century, and generally reflecting on life.

(see Dec. 29th, 2009 entry for further explanation)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Let's talk about sex - part 2

sunrise:  4:50

One final note on early developmental discussions of sex.  Start small.  The first time your child asks, "where do babies come from?" you might just try saying, "they grow inside the mommy."  That may be all they want.  If you pour out your full length lecture too soon it may fall on deaf ears, or lead to utter bewilderment - let their questions guide your answers.  They want to know, but they may not want to know TOO much.

Along these lines - I was out for a bike ride with my eldest daughter one day when she was about 8.  Our household gave full recognition to all celebrations of magical fantasy - Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy.  I could tell by her few, exploratory questions that A was starting to wonder about this stuff.  On our bike ride she suddenly pulled to a stop, turned to face me, and said:  "Mommy.  I just want to know, just tell me the truth, okay.  ARE YOU AND DAD THE TOOTH FAIRY?"  After a pause I gave a straight answer, "Yes."  "Okay."  Back on the bicycle, off we went.  And that was it - no more "is it real" questions, for a couple of years!.  So she wanted to hang on to Santa Claus for a while longer, and we let her do it.

Back to sex.  I was thinking yesterday about the first time my first baby started eating solid food.  There was a fleeting passage of grief as she left early infancy behind - that intense, pristine purity of the breast-fed baby.  Now I'd see that tiny mouth covered with mush, which got in her hands and in her hair.  Something of that virginal newborn perfection seemed lost.

But of course - she was still my precious baby, inevitably growing and changing and shedding former iterations of her self to become something even greater.  She was carrying on with her growing baby life, not fitting in to my own static picture of what she was to me.

I hope I have done it before, but I'm going to apologize again to one of my children - the first one to put me through that more traditional loss of virginity.  In the end, it is really not unlike that first time my perfect baby's face was covered in pureed carrots.  My vision of a static child in a particular stage of life was bound to be altered, one way or another.  I did not want to see the change, and I had no control over this one, and I grieved over the loss of something - some image of a particular version of my child, in my own mind, that I imagined I could hold on to longer.

So I apologize for my expression of grief, which only created grief in my child.  And even when I tried to accept it by saying something like, "I just have to accept that you're not that child any more.  You're growing up;" it was still not the right thing.  "But I am still your child," came the response, "I don't want you to think that!"

Yes - that transition was a rocky one for mom as well as offspring, and led to some years of a more guarded communication between us - at least when it came to relationships.  But I learned from it, and hope that I gained some perspective on my narrow views of sex and sexuality.  My way is not the only good way - here is what is important:

First:  Don’t wait to talk about it – they’re hearing about it, reading about it, seeing pictures of it elsewhere, so be a part of the conversation.

Second – unless you’re willing to lock them up like Rapunzel in the tower, you can’t control their lives. It is their decision.  All you can do is arm them with the best perspectives that you have. 

"Don’t get hurt."

"Don’t treat yourself badly.  Don’t treat anyone else badly."

"People are ALL people with emotional complexities; sex only adds to the complications."

"Never use sex, or allow it to be used with you, as an emotional tool, of hanging on, of coercion, of possession."

 Sex is only good if:
1. There is no power differential between partners   
2. There is deep love and respect   
3.  There is care and conscious decision making about health, procreation, and safety  
4.  It is 100% mutual.

 There is surely more to say.  But that's enough for now.


  1. You forgot the whipped cream!

  2. Yeah - - that's enough about sex for now... But certainly all well said.

    I have just now caught up with weeks of "Meet the Day", reading from about May 18th to today in one sitting. Having gotten my butt kicked at work all weekend, I am content to sit and ponder the musings of lovely R, guilt free. AND I have several comments on past posts.

    I agree with chemist Jan Bussey on the dangers of anthropomorphizing the earth. And regarding R's response, I question the use of evolution (Darwin's, I assume) as a mechanism by which to explain how the EARTH develops and persists. What about "survival advantage" and "natural selection"? Carl is more qualified to comment further in this arena... Anyway, I certainly think oils spills suck, but I can't rationalize transforming it into a bleeding, dying earth.

    And by the way - - nice pics on Jan Bussey's web page... (

    No comments on hot women or the like, other than it can be irritating to sleep next to one. And at times quite pleasant...

    The musings on relationships and children and families and growth and development are all very much on-target. I sometimes bristle at the dominant theme of "motherhood", given that very similar shivers shake the soul of fathers in the same way. While I do concede that there is something unique in the mothers' experience around progeny, (perhaps related to those preceding 9 months and all...?!) I hope that fathers will allow themselves the same feelings and will be supported in their existence/importance. The feelings and inclinations and worries are definitely there, but I fear that both sides of the partnership sometimes feel the urge to squelch them. Not good.

    And did anyone follow up on the May 30th comment from the Indonesian Allah guy? I found it an interesting comment and worthy of pursuing. I located his blog and intend to read it...

    A post in mid-May contemplated a space-station life, but seemed to ignore some of the benefits that come from boredom. I know R well enough to know this was not intended, but thought I'd share a piece on this topic. Brought to us originally by our 18 y/o son, it is worth looking at:

    Finally - - the writing is excellent! It continues to improve, dramatically so in some instances. And, as one commenter mentioned, it often feels increasingly like something that "should be published". Strong work.

  3. Hey mom -- it's ok, I forgive you :)

  4. Have to agree with Jonathan as regards the earth in evolution idea. Was it Thoreau who said that, "Metamorphosis is the law of the universe; all things change."? (Is it ok to have three different punctuation marks in a row?) The earth is changing, but evolutionary science relies on the principle of natural selection, which cannot apply to a single entity, such as the planet. I can imagine an experiment in natural selection wherein several "earths" are created and observed over time to see which ones "survive", though even this would definitely not have anything to do with evolution per se, since the successful planets would not (as far as we know) be able to reproduce. I suspect that if they could, the one that generated human life would fare poorly.

    With respect to Jonathan's non-comment about hot women, I suspect it reveals much about his inexperience in sleeping with a women who is not hot. My broader (that is NOT to say better) experience suggests that hot (in the eye of the beholder) is always better than the alternative, whether with regard to women or men.

  5. I had to read your comment twice to make sure your double negative ("INexperience in...who is NOT hot...") eluded to my clearly hot woman. After a second and third read, I am convinced of your intent!

  6. You got it the way it was've got a hot woman.

  7. boys - you're making me blush. Or maybe that's just a hot flash...