OK, we're going to try to keep this one clean. I mean, as clean as possible while still saying what I mean.
See, I was fine with the whole "My body is changing" type of book. We have our favorite one, and really—everything was fine.
Except everything was not exactly everything, if you know what I mean.
It's all very well to talk about ovaries. And armpit hair. Very well indeed! But it doesn't begin to talk about, you know, other stuff. Stuff like: First base and erections and sexual pressure. Oh my!
Of course, these are things you should talk about with your child. Preferably while you're in a rowboat or something, with fishing rods. And then your kid, who is maybe 14, says, "I'm so confused about boys!" (or girls or whatever) and you smile wisely, even ruefully, and say, "Gee, I was confused too when I was your age." And then you say a whole bunch of wise stuff.
Trust me, this scenario is far, far better than trying to find a parking space when it is 93 degrees out and someone is honking really loudly at you and your eleven-year-old says "My friend's sister's friend said she went to third base with a boy and what does that mean anyway?" while you have a heart attack.
I am of the opinion that even if you do manage to pull it together to explain the fine points of the bases, it's always helpful to have a book as well. For one thing, people don't roll their eyes at a book (or if they do, the book doesn't mind). Also, the book is there to be perused over time, instead of someone saying to it, "Oh stop, stop, that's so gross."
That's not to say that I have the perfect book. These are the books we got from the library:
Which is, ah, a trifle hetero-normative, if you will, on the cover there.
And then this:
They are—fine? I must say, I kind of can't stand "girl power" as a phrase, especially when it's accompanied by an exclamation point. It seems so unbearably false, you know? I find it alienating. I mean, I get that it's supposed to be something to aspire to, but it's a bit peppy for my taste.
But they did, these books, talk about, you know, stuff. Which was helpful.
The question is, are there better options? Should I haul out an old Our Bodies, Ourselves (which I, personally, read compulsively when I was a teenager)? Is there something, somewhere, that's, I don't know, better? That will make the world an easier, less terrifying place for my children to exist?
That would be nice, wouldn't it?