Sunday, July 15, 2018

Camp

My kids are going to camp tomorrow.

Like, here are my children, see you in two days, out at the lake, thankful they can swim, please be sure to feed them, and give the big one all these different meds, sleep.away.fucking.CAMP!!!!

Because my 9-year-old son has friends in high places. This is why this is working out. Seriously.

But also because there really and truly are good people in this world who care about kids and care about inclusion and care about families and care about helping others be successful. And it is for these people I hold an incredible amount of respect and gratitude.

I know that a lot of kids go to sleep away camp. I'm sure that my kids are considered "old," at the ripe old ages of nearly 12, and 9, to be going away to camp for the first time ever. But we tend to do things a little...slower and methodical...here at the Anderson Family Circus. And, yes, it really is like living with monkeys.

So, they'll be gone for a full 48 hours. Pretty normal. And I'm only freaking out a little bit, you guys, mkay....?!

They are going to the mini-session, which is two nights. There's another session that's three nights (I think). The small, locally-owned business that runs the camp has different sessions, over the course of three weeks in July. The week before my kids go, and the week after my kids go, are week-long camps. So, like, here's my kid on Sunday night or Monday morning...and I'll see you bitches on Friday...or maybe Saturday...? I don't know because we're not at that level yet. That's a whole 'nother level that my family hasn't named yet because we're not there yet because if we think about too much then we get anxiety and can't breathe and we start hyperventilating!!!

Stop.

Breathe.

And slow the fuck down, little dudes, because we're at Level 1: Two Nights.

Kinda like a Spontaneous Weekend Getaway...kinda not.....

A few friends suggested The Math Man and I skip away to the Emerald City for the two nights. Nope. Nice idea. Not for us. Thanks though. Because trauma. We've been there and done that...a few times. But it involved a hospital stay... and a lot of appointments and a couple of surgeries...so, no thank you.

My family has been through too much trauma, in too short amount of time...from which I am just now starting to feel that I can start to put it behind me...us....and the deep, dark thoughts and the fears for all of us, and each of us, have mostly gone away. Mostly.

So, since the boys will be gone for 48 hours, we're more than happy to stay home, walk around naked, smoke pot, and have sex whenever we want...like you do when you're semi-reclusive, semi-hippie, middle-aged college instructors. Because I can tell you, that there is nothing else that compromises your sexuality like cancers. I mean, all major health issues do, including but not limited to, giving birth and being a caregiver of a child with special needs. But cancer is it's own special type of clusterfuck. And two cancers in two years: supermajorclusterfuck.

When people ask how I'm doing, I tell them I feel like I'm winning at summer because, so far, knock-on-wood-praise-be-thank-the-sweet-baby-Jesus, that of the people who live in my home and I get to see everyday and I get to love and I get to take care of: nobody has cancer, nobody is having any surgery regarding any cancers, and nobody has any broken bones. And on the one hand, because survivor's guilt is a real thing, it feels icky just typing it....thinking it....and saying it....

As if a person can hex themselves. Right? Jesus, Rachel, stop it...you're not fucking omnipotent.

But on the other hand, I am so thankful that I get to be here...and I get to send my kids to camp, that I feel like it's ok for me to feel good about being alive, and about the things I get to do...that the survivor's guilt mostly goes away. Mostly.

So we're getting ready to send them to camp for the very first time ever. And while it's not the first time they've been away from us...because we have an incredible group of supportive friends who were able to take wonderful care of our boys while my husband and I each went through our own surgeries and treatments...this is still a huge milestone for my family. We are a pretty close-knit crew, and we maintain a pretty tight ship, because meds and special needs dictate what happens when. 

My family is together a lot. Like a LOT during the summer because my husband and I are both college instructors...who happen to teach online...so we juggle like a pair of motherfuckers, giving each other space and support to get our work done.

We've had the talks with the boys about expected behaviors when they are away at camp. I have two worries, one for each son. My first concern, of course, is for my older son who requires meds to not seize...I'll send everything he needs and trust that the good folks who are in charge will give him his meds as scheduled (in the morning and before bed). My second concern is for my younger son, who will be learning to suck it up and eat the food they'll provide...he's not keen on hot dogs. You're going to camp, kid; it's not the spa...there aren't any free upgrades. Regardless, I'm sure we'll all survive.

And I know that my younger son's BFF, who is a girl and who really is in charge out there, will fill me in on all the things they did. She's my girl on the inside, if you will. And my boys know she'll tell me all about whatever shenanigans go down out at camp.

And then when we pick them up on Wednesday, we'll return to our regularly scheduled shenanigans here at The Anderson Family Circus, where it really is like Living with Monkeys.







Sunday, June 17, 2018

Figured It Out

So I think that my hip and back pain two months ago was caused by my workout the previous Tuesday.

After spending a lot of time on my yoga mat...and was actually able to move and do some stuff that's totally normal for me to do, that I've been doing for 22 years, and I had a small epiphany....

My seven years of experience with Mrs. Ventura has taught me that the pain from her cardio kickboxing workout comes on two days after said workout. I cannot tell you how many times my boys have complained to me about their arms or legs hurting and, after triaging them, say, "What did you do in Hapkido two days ago?" Because 99 out of 100 times, they're hurting because they worked out with Mrs. V.

And that particular Tuesday, in Warrior Fit (AKA Cardio Kickboxing) we did this...

Tuesday's low back ass kicking workout

Before we go any further, I stopped at about 20 push ups...more on that later...but mostly because I ran out of time. Mostly. 

200 ground kicks...so this is where we get on all fours, and then do side kicks on a bag. Think male dog peeing on a tree. (Sorry Meghan) That. And kicking 200 times. On each side.

100 roundhouse kicks...and we're doing what's affectionately known as Meghan Math...so again, 100 on each side. Roundhouse kicks are absolutely my favorite kick because I've really practiced those. A lot. And they are powerful. This is where I am thankful I have big thighs.

When I first started at the dojo, in January 2011, my friend KJ talked me into going to this cardio kickboxing class, at 7 pm on Tuesday and Thursday. Sure. Why not?

So, here you go, Randy Anderson, here are your children, you are completely responsible for bedtime. I'm with the boys ALL.THE.TIME. and I very much appreciate having the opportunity to be home and teach my online college Health class...but if I don't go at least try one class, I may end up wearing orange for a long, LONG time. And being traded for contraband. So, really, I'm going to relieve the stress of being a mom, and as the only female in my home, I need a fuckin break from all the penises and the guns and shooting. Because when you birth boys, you learn very quickly that they were born with pointy things that shoot. The boys were 4 and 2; the only diagnosis we had at the time was my older son's epilepsy.

Two weeks into becoming a regular in class I crawled over to Meghan, and said something like, "If I keep doing this, will my husband be able to bounce a quarter off my ass? Because your ass is awesome. I mean I know you could kick my ass for saying this on your mat, and I know you can take me from here, and I totally don't mean any disrespect in your dojo...but still...your ass is hot and gives me hope."

Fortunately for me, Mrs. V. speaks my language and she did not Hapkido me. Because she could've taken me from there. Because she's that much of a Bad Ass. She's a highly trained weapon and I would absolutely want her on my team should I ever find myself in a dark alley.

And fortunately for my entire family, Mrs. V meets each of us where we are...because we each have our own shenanigans to deal with....we've been in some pretty dark alleys.

Anyway...so I am again, finding myself reminding myself that I am not, indeed 18, or even 38 like when I first walked into PDMA. I'm 45-and-a-goddamn-half and I'm a breast cancer survivor and a mom of a kid with a constellation of brain disorders and I'm a cancer care giver and goddamnit I do NOT have cancer of the ANYTHING but when cancer hits you like it's hit me and my family three times in two years, you immediately go--IMMEDIATELY GO--to Cancerland with the slightest discomfort.

I'm not kidding.

Itchy skin? Skin cancer.

Eye twitch? Eye cancer. It's a thing. Or maybe cancer of the optic nerve, which is in your brain, so brain cancer, obviously.

Cough? Lung cancer. I don't care if you've never been exposed to cigarette smoke. You clearly have cancer of the lung if you cough. Every. Fucking. Time. Even though the cough could be from seasonal allergies. Or a choking on your food. Or a gigantic bong rip. Ya know...like you do.....

Enlarged tonsil? Tonsil cancer. Not kidding. It's a thing. Look it up kids.

Ok well, maybe that last one came true. But still. You see my point.

So, when I have a new and incredibly intense back pain suddenly come on, and I forget that I started working out again...partly because I have two kids in two extra curricular activities...and the constant worry of special needs parenting, which is a whole 'nother level of parenting...and managing his medications...and planning my younger son's birthday party...and the full moon...and then the whole both parents had cancer thing which is ALWAYS present....

Sometimes I forget to breathe...let alone remember that I'm just now starting to feel ok with doing a few pushups because my scar is healing enough from where they removed the lime-sized tumor from my right breast close to my bra line three years ago. And the muscles have atrophied.  At this point, 50 pushups is not a reasonable number for me. Twenty is reasonable. My goal is my age. I'll let you know if I figure out how to do 1/2 a push-up. I'm sure Mrs. V. will create something. She's very clever.

I know that half the battle with cancer is being strong, both physically and mentally. And I know that starting cardio kickboxing in January 2011 and then moving into Hapkido in January 2012 helped me get through my own cancer, the death of my Father-in-Law, and my husband's tonsil cancer, all of which went down between March 2015 and August 2016. But, seriously: Fuck you cancer. You have got to be one of the biggest health-related mind fucks out there.

And, yes, I've be a little easier on myself since returning to kickboxing on a regular basis. I'm trying to remind myself that I am human, I am aging, and I deal with a lot of health issues in my family. Because I'm, again, a 45-1/2 year old woman who was capable of overcoming breast cancer, from a lot of help from a lot of people...and I am doing my best to ease back into being on a different type of mat.

Ous!

And namaste'


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Game Face

I've got my Game Face on today.

The one everyone expects to see.

Smiling. Happy. Thrilled to be alive.

But my low back has been hurting for three days, and it's been sneaking into my hips.

So inside, I'm scared. Actually, I'm fucking terrified. That my breast cancer is back.

Because I've been told by my health care team that if Triple Negative Breast Cancer were to come back, it would show up in my hips. My medical oncologist said that if I have pain in my hips and take Tylenol and/or Advil and it goes away, it's nothing to worry about. But, if I take Tylenol and/or Advil, and it doesn't go away then I need to see him.

The pain started on Thursday about 5:30 pm, after sitting for at least an hour playing UNO with my older son. He's the child who is disabled. But he was handing me my ass in UNO. Like usual. How many fucking Wilds and +4 Wilds did I deal him? Jesus.

Get up and move. Start dinner. Randy was at Hapkido with Mini Musashi, and I didn't expect them home until at least 6:30. You've been sitting too long. It was the first beautiful and warm day for us here on the Olympic Peninsula...maybe being outside picking up dog shit and taking pics of the boys was a little too much action. Maybe I pulled my back a bit because I didn't engage my core. Jesus, Rachel.

Thank you Clue
Wait! Didn't the Clue App just send me a notice that my period is gonna start? Fuckinchrist. Wasn't chemo supposed to make that fucking piece of me stop? Because I really am done having my period. Because it's not regular and goddamnit...perimenopause and chemo induced menopause is bullshit.

Total. Fucking. Bullshit.

And, no, I can't use hormonal birth control because BREAST CANCER.

On the other hand, it's kinda nice to still get my period. I get to be a girl. But I'm the only girl in my house. Our dog doesn't truly count. She had her reproductive organs removed, god love her, and so, I'm the only human female in my house and most of the time it's a big piece of bullshit.

Leave me alone. I am waiting for my period to show up. Because apparently I'm THAT FUCKING FERTILE at the age of 45-1/2.

So go be boys. Go outside and yell at the trees. Scare all the wildlife away. I don't care that it's raining. You're not made out of sugar. You will not melt.

And I threw a swimming birthday party today. Because the little one turns 9 on Monday.

Nine.

And there's so much on his plate. He doesn't remember my cancer. My surgery. My chemo. My radiation. He was about six weeks shy of turning six years old when I was diagnosed in March 2015. Kindergarten.

He remembers his dad's cancer. The surgery, radiation and chemo. He remembers the tube coming out of Daddy's arm. And the other one that went into his stomach so he could "eat"...sustain life. Fucking A the things we do....what we put our body's through...to live.... Thank you science.

Mr. Nearly Nine knows all too well about his brother's seizures, and our medication choices.

About his autism.

His disabilities. 

He sees his brother's daily struggles.

He tries to parent his brother. A lot.

Don't worry, child, someday it will, in all likelihood, fall to you. You'll get your chance, youngling. But for now, you need to work on quieting your voice and your mind, step back, and let me and Dad do our jobs. Thank you, very much.

Maybe getting in the water will help my low back feel better....?

Advil? Check.

Tylenol? Check.

Marijuana? Check.

But not at the party when you're the hostess. Because that shit ain't cool.

Topical marijuana balm on low back and hips? Check.

Yoga isn't helping. I could barely move on my mat last night, and I didn't practice this morning. I did give myself permission to sleep in though; 7:25 am is late for me. The alarm usually goes off at 5.

Walking isn't helping. I ache like I never have. And I am terrified. I have no appetite, and have been forcing myself to eat nutrient dense food every few hours.

Maybe I've got too much on my plate. Maybe I've said yes to too many things? Helping is what I do; it's my Super Power.

So this past week, when I was contacted by three different moms who had questions about giving their kids medical marijuana, and I've got 4-1/2 years of experience, I step up to the best of my ability in that moment and help in the best way I can. Texting is good. Facebook messaging is good. Email is great. Talking on the phone is hard for me...I usually only reserve that for medical appointments I'm making for myself or my children.

He's looking at his brother...
Or for talking to my parents, because they will never get on the Tech Train; too trendy. So I meet them where they are...on the talking part of my phone. And that's hard. Especially when my dad, who called twice on Wednesday, to see if we received the card for Mr. Nearly Nine's birthday...and Wednesday is my family's busiest day of the week...stressful...but god love him, he goes off on one of his famous tangents, and all I could really do was breathe through it...Jesus, Dad. In my family, going off on a tangent, which leads to another tangent and you start subject hopping and don't really take a breath or provide the other person in the conversation to speak, that's actually a verb: Tangeting. Verb. That's what's happening.

So I put on my Game Face. And I threw a fantastic party. Again. Alternatively, I really have a lot of practice at throwing parties.


...who is not capable of controlling himself when it comes to blowing out candles.
And yes swimming felt great. And yes, the diving helped alleviate the pain. And yes it was fun having the kids watch me underwater when I dove down and touched the bottom. And yes, I know my hips are going to hurt like a motherfucker tomorrow.

Because it's not like I'm seventeen and doing this shit. I'm 45-and-a-goddamn-half and I'm a breast cancer survivor and a mom of a kid with myriad disabilities and a cancer care giver and goddam do I have cancer of the quadratus lumborum? Or a kidney infection that I don't have any other symptoms for? Or kidney cancer? Because I could also have cancer of the foot because I stubbed my toe the other day...?

Can't my period just fucking start? Seriously. I'd totally take my period over any type of cancer any day, please Jesus.

And thank you, Mother Nature, for considering my request.

Namaste'


Sunday, April 8, 2018

Springless Breaks

Collectively here at the Anderson Family Circus, our spring breaks are coming to a close. Thankfully. Three weeks of gray skies, rain, some major wind, sickness, jury duty, a perimenopausal mommy, and a full moon to boot. Fuck dude. Thank the universe we're in the final stretch before summer break.

My husband and I had our usual two week spring break, the first week was taken up by one boy missing school Monday and Tuesday due to a GI thing. Wednesday is my day to volunteer at school; I love volunteering and working with the teachers who choose to help my kids and our community each day, and I'm thankful I have the opportunity to give back in this way.

Thursday and Friday were spent catching up on grocery shopping and meal prepping and picking out new glasses...you know...like you do…. It was a day date...and one of the only days we had together to enjoy each other. Since both becoming cancer survivors, we tend to not take days like this for granted, and spend as many of them as we can together. We've been looking forward to spring break for a while.

But, alas, it wasn't in the stars, naturally, since the second week involved my husband serving on a jury for three days. Monday we did our prep for the spring quarter, which started on April 2, the same day our kids’ spring break started; I’ll get to that in a minute.

This is my husband’s second time to serve on a jury. The first one was when we lived in Las Vegas. In my family language we speak in levels, and my husband was on the Boss Level Jury: Double Murder Trial. Of course he was. So everything else is going to just not be as...much...fun? I don’t remember the specifics, other than it lasted a full five days and they found the defendants guilty. That was his first ever time. And he enjoys learning about the process of the court system and how our legal system works. I did too when I served on a jury...but it was like a Level 3 trial...DUI...guy drove his car into a lady’s home, and she was fine. Dude. Seriously? That doesn’t compete with the Boss Level Double Murder Trial.

Anyway...so he had jury duty that took 2-½ days...and we just didn’t get a lot of quality time together...but we also got to spend the comfortable quiet of a couple who’s been together for an extended time...and who’s children are...safe?...at school.

It’s there now. It’s always there. That voice. That one that I didn’t realize wasn’t my own shit and paranoia until I read this article that my one friend who’s a mental health therapist and my other friend who’s an elementary school teacher shared on Facebook and Jesus is my data missing? In Russia?

I mean that article is on Oprah.com and I've never really been an Oprah fan. Not that she’s a bad person or anything...she’s just never been my jam. Did I just use "jam" in a sentence as a substitute for "thing?" Oy. Maybe I'm not 500 years old after all.

So we started back to school at the college on Monday April 2. And that was the boys’ first day of spring break...because that’s just how it goes down around here every year. We never align spring breaks. It’s unfortunate, but it is what it is. Or perhaps it’s fortunate. Because my family isn’t the family that travels to warmer, sunnier climates for spring breaks. I have a love hate relationship with Facebook right now: it’s painful for me to see pictures. Literally hurts me to not be warming up. But, it is what it is. Spring is coming to the Pacific Northwest. I can feel it in my bones; or maybe it's my body's ache for the desert sun. What? Supposed to be 97* in Tucson on Tuesday? No thanks. I'll keep my 54* and rain.

But we didn’t have a spring break. I feel badly for my kids. We were at home a LOT the week of spring break, partly because as an on-line educator, I needed to work; and partly because I didn't feel like working and dragging the boys--or being drug by the boys. It's a push-me-pull-you type of relationship. Right?

My younger son has had a fire lit under him within the last two weeks because he was given his Hapkido book; it's a manual that his sensei gave him that has everything he's been studying for the past several years. He received it at this point because it's what is required in his training. Basically, he knows a lot of shit, and it's a lot to expect anyone to have all of it in their heads, so the teachers provide a manual of everything he needs to know; he'll add to it as he progresses upward in rank.

And it's motivated him. He's now required to have helped teach The Littles (the kids younger than him) a total of 25 times and he has to have one of the school's owners sign each time. The child is on fire to get it done before he turns 9 on April 30. We even counted out how many times he needed to go in order to earn X number of signatures per week. Seriously.

But, little dude, tone it down. It's not mathematically possible...even if you went four times on Tuesday during spring break and because next week you get to go back to school and soccer academy starts and there are only so many ways I can say "we'll do our best to get you to Hapkido as much as possible but a more realistic date to accomplish this is by the end of the school year, in the middle of June, or better yet, by July 4th" before I completely loose my load! Please stop fucking bugging me! Jesus! I'm doing my best, people!

Goddamn hormones suck. And the chemo-induced menopause? Fuck that noise. Even though I use Clue, I never know when my period is coming. And thank the goddesses I read that article on Oprah.com because now I know this is also a serious thing that a lot of women my age are dealing with. Not to mention I'm the only human female in my home, causing even further isolation and anxiety...making me secretly wonder if I'm suffering from some kind of neurosis. Nope. Apparently it's not just me.... And this is where I'm thankful I'm not trained to diagnose people. And I'm thankful I don't go to ScareTheHellOuttaMe.com and self-diagnosis. Red Rover, Red Rover! Send Oprah right over...? Ew. Really, I'd call Ada Calhoun over. Since she penned the article. Definitely keepin my eye on her.

Anyway, at some point, midweek, when they'd harassed me about swimming for the umteenth time, I considered writing them a note:

Dear Boys,

I'm not sure which one of y'all started the rumor between the two of you that we're going swimming today, or at anytime during spring break, but we're not. Sorry. 

Societal expectations, as well as my own comfort level, mandate that I shave my legs, armpits, and bikini line prior to putting on a bathing suit, and I'm not planning on doing all that, because it requires a tremendous amount of energy from me, not to mention a shit ton of water, which also costs money. 

I have no plans to placate you guys and succumb to your male dominated, completely oppressive, misogynistic view of women. Thanks for making every effort to understand my perspective and finding another way to exercise. I really prefer you do this outside, where you can have a nature break. As a gentle reminder, if you make a lot of noise away from me, you'll keep the wild animals away. Furthermore, I know it's a little drizzly, but you're not made outta sugar!

If you don’t get it, then please fuck off. Thanks. 

Love always, 
Mom

However, I decided to not give them a note.

Instead I took them to the Spit on Friday, where we saw a severed dragon's head, a dead mouse, and a lot of other natural things. Like rocks. And the ocean. And we were all fully dressed, and I didn't have to shave.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Sex Ed Video: Update

He did it!

He made it through the Sex Ed Video without giggling up a storm!

Everything was intact, if you will. There was no change of clothes needed...although I packed two complete sets of clothes in his backpack that morning. And extra pull-ups. For the child who sometimes needs to take a pee break in the middle of a 15-minute Three Stooges show...god love him...because he's laughing so hard....

According to my source on the inside, Mr G, there were some giggles from all the boys. Because they're fifth grade boys, right? Jesus! Of course they're gonna giggle!

I mean, seriously, I get it, because talking about penises and vaginas takes us out of our comfort zones, especially if, as I'm sure it was for some of the attendees, it's the very first time they'd really ever discussed anything about sexuality. And this video included the intimacies of puberty, and Sweet Jesus, girls actually bleed regularly? And they don't die from it? They'd say Sweet Jesus if their vocabularies included such a thing.

After the 26-minute long Sex Ed Video, there was a discussion and an opportunity for the students to ask questions. The discussion was led by a man who is a highly-respected and retired pediatrician. It was more like they were talking with their elderly grandfathers about puberty. There were also several male teachers in the room. So there was a lot of testosterone floating around. If you will.

The only word I heard about how the girls did was that there was some giggling, and then the female teachers and/or the Bad Ass Pediatric Nurse Practitioner tactfully put the kaibosh on it.

But the boys were, apparently, the best behaved group of boys ever because Dr. T. told them so! I know, right? I mean, seriously?! What the fuck? Because the terms "fifth grade boys...best behaved" don't usually go together. But, ok! I'll take it....even though I'm a little skeptical.

It's all good.

There was a question from the good doctor to the group of boys about "anyone have any questions" and Mr. G told me that he asked my son if he had any questions, and my son said yes (good sign). Then Mr. G said that he asked my son something like "What do you have a question about?" or "what do you want to know more about?" And Nathan said "everything!"

Of course.

So, when we got home, we talked about the Sex Ed Video. I asked him what he wanted to know more about...he said everything. Ok...consistency is good....

"Should we all watch the video?" I asked my son.

"Yes! And Daddy and Isaac too!" came his enthusiastic reply.

Because in my house, this video is totally third-grade approved. It may not be in your house, and that's totally cool. But at some point they'll probably see it. And some point soon we'll watch the Sex Ed Video as a family.

And, yes, this stuff makes me a little uneasy because it's my own kids...and it's something we all go through....

But, again, if we don't talk about Human Sexuality with our own children, we're still teaching them about sex and sexuality....we're just teaching them to not talk about it.

And even though my third grader will see the Sex Ed Video soon, I will absolutely discourage him from getting up in front of the class and attempting to teach this lesson when he's in fifth grade.

Just so we're clear.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Is it just me...?

Is it just me...?

Because they still fight for my attention.

Like they're a pair of toddlers.

Is it all moms?

Or is it just moms?

Because they don't compete for their dad's attention quite like they do for mine.

Mom.

Mom.

Mom.

When I'm talking to one, the other one in the background.

Or sometimes just not even Mom.

Sometimes just start talking and won't stop as if I can divide my brain in two and pay attention to both of them with the same level of intensity. Stop. Please.

Is it just me?

Because I know there's an intensity to me.

To them.

To us.

But is this normal?

Or, "within the range of normal"?

Maybe it's all kids?

And all moms?

Or is it just boys?

Or perhaps opposite gendered parent?

I'm  trying to get a feel.

Because...dude...I cannot even with them right now this spring break has been bullshit because he's had jury duty for the past two weeks and it's great that he enjoys doing his civic duty but seriously we didn't even get to make a quick trip down to the cool sex toy store. Dammit!

Maybe it's just me.

Jesus. What in the godddam do people with more than two children do?

The children.

Not their sex lives.

They're very busy.

Obviously.



Monday, March 26, 2018

Sex Ed Video

So, it's time.

He's in the fifth grade.

And that's when we, culturally, start formal Sexuality Education.

Even though we really do start Sexuality Education much, much earlier here in our country. 

I'm not going to get too into the media images, or the fact that kids go through the grocery store and see the SI Swimsuit edition. Or any number of magazines, targeting folks on the gender spectrum to conform to what is considered "normal"...which we all know is really just a setting on the washing machine.

But we do start our Sex Ed pretty early in this country.

Earlier than you'd think.

Did you tell your child their gender? Or maybe told them what sex the were? Male? Female? Boy? Girl? That's Sexuality Education.

Did you tell your son he has a penis like his dad? Or your daughter she has a vagina like her mom? Sexuality Education.

Tell your toddler or older child to avoid gawking at women who are breastfeeding their infant? Sexuality Education. And an awesome opportunity to teach manners in that it's impolite to stare. Because women in Washington State do have a right to openly breast feed in public. So, whip that boob out and feed that baby, ladies! (Please check your own state laws before breastfeeding in public.)

Did ya teach your kid they are in charge of their bodies and to know the scientific names of their body parts (vagina, clitoris, penis, scrotum)? Sexuality Education. By the way, research shows that when kids know the scientific names of their body parts, they are more empowered, have higher self-esteem, and less likely to become victims of sexual abuse. And nobody wants their kid to be sexually abused.

So empower your kids! And why not just call a spade a spade? I mean, you call an arm an arm; and you call a kidney a kidney...so why not call a penis a penis? Why call a penis a "private"? Is it in the Army or something? Or "dick"? I suppose if you're going to act like one...yeah...but seriously? Can we stop with the "wee-wees" and the "wankers" and the "who-who's"?

And why in the goddam are all the nicknames for penises such cutesy bullshit and the nicknames for women's vaginas are totally fuckin' crude? For example, Joystick, Mr. Happy, One Eyed Trouser Snake.

Fucking Christ. That's me making an exclamation, and not what we call Randy's Candy. Just to clarify.

Conversely, vaginas are also known as the Bearded Clam, Cock Holster, and, everyone's favorite, Cunt. Goddamnit. See what I'm saying? I mean, Camel Toe is more offensive to me than cunt. The word cunt doesn't offend me. But people who behave like cunts offend me.

Please. Can we just stop with the shenanigans of calling our genitals what they are not? I don't even like the word genitals. Seriously. It's as if our genitals are gentle...and with all due respect, my pussy has taken a pounding and it's squeezed out two babies, but not at the same time...so my pussy is not gentle...and doesn't need to be confused with a gentile...or a genital. It's a vagina. Keep it simple.

And, this would probably be a good time to tell you that when my son who is 8-11/12 was about 3, and out at the preschool at the east end of the county, he'd sit in the back seat, 5-point-harnessed in, and see how many times he could say vagina before we got to school. Seriously. It was his favorite word, clearly his father's son. He said it hundreds of times in the 20 minutes it took us to get to school. And, let's be honest, vagina is a LOT more fun to say than penis. Right? Vagina!

Anyway....

Back to Sexuality Education...

If, by chance, you didn't discuss the above mentioned topics, you're still totally conducting Sexuality Education in the way that seems right for you. You're just using the "don't talk about it because they're never going to have sex anyway" approach, also known as Denial.

But that approach doesn't work for me. Because, guess what? I expect that at some point in each of their lives, my children will become sexually active. So, if I just bury my head in the sand and not deal with this, then my kids are not going to have my values and my information, which I know is reliable because being a Health Educator is what I've done for over 20 years...and, as a parent, it's important to me and my husband that our own children know what the heck is going on in their own body as they start to go through puberty.

Also they need to have an idea that women go through puberty and that really, women have highly specialized reproductive needs compared to men. Right? We need pads and tampons. If we're lucky. According to the United Nations, women in developing nations don't have the luxury of pads and tampons...and are even dropping out of school because of their periods.

Lemme say that again: women around the world are dropping out of school because they menstruate. Stigma: menstrual blood is seen as "unclean" but really, a woman's value is all in how tight her pussy is, so that she can snatch (if you will) a higher bride price. And if her family sends her to school once she starts menstruating and she ends up getting raped, which would ultimately be her fault anyway, because everyone knows we blame the victim when she's raped, she won't be worth as much money and will ultimately bring shame to her family. So, just stay home and bleed.

Oh for fuck's sake. Tell her like it really is: she's in charge of her vagina. And she's in charge of her vulva. Don't be cutting that up with a piece of glass! Motherfuckers.

Perhaps not shockingly, stigma is also alive here in the States. Did you know we have a Tampon Tax? No shit. Click the link. Read the article. Watch the YouTube video. The model is stunning. You're welcome.

And, let's be honest: she's in charge of the penises, too. The hetero penises; just to clarify and to be inclusive. The sooner the penises realize that the vaginas are running the show, the happier we'll all be. Vagina!

Ok. I'm done. I'm stepping down off my soapbox and returning you to your regularly scheduled blog post: Sex Ed Video, which, conveniently, will be shown to the fifth graders at school tomorrow. I'm concerned how this will go. Because my son, who is chronologically 11-1/2, but intellectually about 5, is going to be included when his male Gen Ed classmates go down the hall to watch the Sex Ed Video. And let's face it, they're all gonna giggle. Hopefully the giggling remains...intact...if you will. My concern lies not only in how he's going to react, because I saw all the triggers...all the giggle causers...and I know it's his response to being uncomfortable...but I also am working on recognizing that, like his pediatric neurologist said a couple of weeks ago...my son's delays and resulting behaviors are not a fault of mine...I do not have his permission to own my son's lack...of...development...he's his own person.

I watched the video because YouTube has it. And because the teacher sent the link. And the principal sent a letter. I liked it. The video. I mean the letter was lovely, too. But the video was well done. The actors were all kids, they used matter-of-fact tones, and product placement was very strategic...Procter and Gamble...you slippery vixen!

And it was paid for by the Tampon Tax. Just kidding. But it's kinda funny because it's made by Always Feminine Products, you guys.

Anyway, here you go...The Sex Ed Video the kids are watching. 

And thanks for reading.
<3 xoxo