[The positivity project is going well, but I have nothing new or noteworthy to report. So instead of sharing some deep insights about the human condition, I’ll be spreading positivity – or at least a few laughs – like it’s an STD and I’m a cheap hooker in the back alleys of Vegas.]
I was hanging out at home the other night, and around 8:30pm I walked into the living room and found my 10-year-old sister settling in on the sofa next to my dad, book in hand. He announced that he was going to be reading her a bedtime story, but that we should probably watch an episode of New Girl after she had gone to bed (and was therefore safe from having her tender young eyes scarred by witnessing Schmidt in various states of undress).
[Side note: Yes, my father and I watch New Girl together. We also watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette together. It’s father-daughter bonding at its 21st century finest…and sorry, Dad, guess I let the cat outta the bag about your television preferences.]
Imagine when my surprise when I trotted over and asked my sister what book she’d chosen to read tonight, and she proudly held up The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls from the American Girl Library.
[Side note, again: This book was actually a great investment for our family – my sisters and I all were able to educate ourselves on all matters female, and until he was maybe 14, my brother and his friends got many hours of enjoyment from stealing this book and staring at the section illustrating the various stages of breast development. That’s not bad for a $10 paperback.]
Maybe I’m wrong, but I doubt that most 10-year-old girls want their father to read them an encyclopedia of pubescent glory. Isn’t that the point of buying your daughter a book like that – so that you don’t have to explain to her the intricacies of her emergent womanhood?
On second thought, perhaps not…because my parents originally gave that book to me when I was about 10, but that never stopped my dad from trying to (on multiple occasions) discuss with me the physical and psychological implications of premarital sexual shenanigans in all their multiple incarnations. Several of those conversations may have occurred while he drove me to school, and they may or may not have ended with me saying, “Ok, Dad, stop! I KNOW what oral sex is,” and then sticking my head out the window and hollering various technical terms for boot-bangin’ until he did indeed stop the conversation (or turn on the child-lock feature on my window).
Mom, on the other hand, bought me a bra and told me to stop eating frosting straight from the can because I was going to get fat.
Ahh, such sweet childhood memories.
(But you know, I guess it worked – I don’t yell sexual terminology to passerby, I’ve keep my knees together and my pants on, and I’ve stopped eating frosting entirely. My parents should be proud.)
Back to the original story: The munchkin brought out her puberty book, plopped on the couch, and turned to the section on tampons and announced, “Ok Dad, this is the section I want to read!”
He stared blankly at the pages and said (very slowly), “Well…uh…what part do you have questions about?”
“All of it! I just want you to read it.”
At this point, he looked up at me and said, “Well, Tess, why don’t you have your sister help you with your questions? She knows more about this than I do.”
And that, folks, is how I ended up sitting at home on a Friday night, enlightening my youngest sister to the wonders of womanhood and using an American Girl doll to demonstrate the proper usage of feminine hygiene products.
It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it.