WARNING: If I don’t blog again after a week or so, send help. This is the first time The Husband is hearing this story, well the true version anyway.
You bring your little baby girl home, both of you a bundle of nerves and excitement as you embark upon the parent journey for the first time. You can’t wait to show her off to family and friends. She is everything you dreamed she would be, pink dazzling perfection. She was better than any fantasy you could ever have imagined. Of course, there was plenty of ooooh’ing and aaaaah’ing from the masses of people traipsing through your living room. But, there is one refrain repeated every time someone gazed upon your precious baby girl. I know I heard it over and over and over again.
THE PHRASE: Just wait….till she becomes a teenager.
THE SUBTEXT: Enjoy it now, oh stupid first-time parent, before the hellish nightmare really begins.
Jeez…thanks people. Way to stomp all over my post-pregnancy glow and new baby happiness! Now, I almost looked down upon my daughter in fear. She wasn’t even a week old, and already I had her mentally dressed in black, covered in piercings, dating an aging cocaine riddled rock star, her 16-year-old belly swollen with my future grandchild, laughing at my piteous attempts to woo her back into the family fold. Was it possible for this sweet angelic child to turn into the teenage monster of my nightmares? Was everyone right, and I was foolishly falling in love with someone who would one day inevitably break my heart? Was there no way out? Was this the destiny of all parents? Could the dreaded teenage years be avoided or at least passed through somewhat peaceably and with little bloodshed? Did all these well-meaning people forget how dramatic I am and not realize that terrorizing me with these tales from the dark side would have me curled in the fetal position crying for my own mother!?!?! Woe to me! I wanted to smite something. Preferable the next well wishing bringer of doom and gloom!
Looking back, it’s a wonder I decided to have more than one child. I was the poster child for parental angst.
Even though you know it’s coming, it is still really hard when it does actually happen. Before you know it, your child has run through the garden of adolescence and perches on the cliff of teenagedom. You watch this tiny person poised at the edge of the cliff, she pauses and looks back giving you a tiny smile and a small wave, before she leaps head first into the abyss of “The Teenage Years”.
I am thus far very lucky, as I have to admit, I have good kids. Whether it’s because or in spite of my parenting skills remains to be seen. I don’t want to jinx myself, but considering the places my imagination took me, I think I got off pretty easy…so far (fingers crossed). However, there is one topic that every parent dreads from the minute you get the flyer home in 4th grade about the “girls only” class offered at their elementary school where they will cover fun topics like male and female reproduction and signs of puberty. It’s when you must begin facing the reality that the tiny creature you brought into this world will one day soon turn into a sexual creature with needs and desires way beyond “what’s for dinner” and “suzy won’t speak to me”. I can’t even say the word “penis” or “vagina” without giggling like a twelve-year-old boy, so I’m pretty sure I’ll fail this part of the parenting life exam. I even staged a preemptive strike by having my oldest daughter in the delivery room as I gave birth to my fourth and final – The Man-Child. I mean if watching me squeeze an 8 pound baby from my vagina didn’t completely dispel the sex mystique from her young formative mind then I was at a loss of how to stop this freight train of awesomeness awaiting for me around the bend. If that didn’t traumatize her, I took the extra step of enrolling her in the sex education “Body by God” class offered through our church. Nothing like walking through the doors of your Sunday Sanctuary and seeing the words “Orgasm” or “Uterus” plastered all over the walls. Despite my best efforts, she became a teenager and started dating boys, and her interest in sex took a disturbing turn.
It’s a fine line we walk as parents to remain parental figures not “friends” to our children yet still being cool enough to keep the lines of communication open. I want my kids to talk to me about everything even if I loathe with every fiber of my being what “everything” has come to mean. We have one very important rule in our house and that is that no subject is taboo or sacred. Our dinner conversations are not usually for the faint of heart or easily offended. I want our home to be the one place where everyone can be themselves, the good, the bad and the ugly…no matter what. It seemed that the topic of sex was coming up more and more. My oldest daughter and I spent many hours discussing sex and all the questions and responsibilities that come from making the decision to become intimate with another human being. Of course, I wanted her to wait as long as possible. We talked endlessly about birth control. I even took her to the “lady doctor” for a full exam and physical and got her on birth control pills. I should have known when she fainted during her pap smear that this child was not going to make anything easy on me or herself. I just wasn’t quite prepared for the manner in which it was delivered. Naturally, I gave her every cautionary tale I could think of, but still the inevitable day arrived.
My kids will tell you that they hate waking me up in the middle of the night. They say I “overreact”. Umm….nothing good EVER happens after being jerked awake in the middle of the night. When they were little, it was puke and fevers, now that they are driving or have friends that drive…well, suffice it to say, I hate being woken up. My heart pounding, my ears ringing, my breathing labored…I wait for my brain to process what is being said to me in these wee hours. This one particular morning, it was my 17-year-old child standing before me shaking like a leaf.
Me: What’s wrong, sweetie?
Daughter: I need to talk to you.
I can hear the tears, she is trying to hold back. I immediately understand that she does not want to have this conversation within earshot of The Husband. As I get up, The Husband rouses from sleep, bolting upright, hollering “what’s wrong, what’s going on?”. And they say I overreact? His mouth is flapping open and shut like a fish on deck. I mutter that everything is fine and tell him to go back to sleep.
PAUSE: It always amazes me that he can actually do that, just roll back over and go to sleep. If one of the kids had roused him from sleep, I’d be laying there eyes wide open impatiently waiting for him to come back and tell me what the hell is going on! And if he didn’t come back into the room within 30 seconds, I’d be tracking him down and demand to be told what is going on!
Anyway, I walk into her room where I find her curled into a tiny little ball crying her eyes out. I reach down and hug her, gently patting her arm and inquire as to what is wrong, what happened?
Brace yourself for the answer.
I’m serious. No way you see this coming.
Daughter: Mom (she wails), my vagina is falling out.
Do what? I must still be sleeping, because it sounded like she just told me that her vagina is falling out.
Me: What do you mean your vagina is falling out? (great question! And I sounded calm, maybe a hint of hysteria but I don’t think she noticed in between her hiccuping sobs).
Daughter: I mean it’s falling out!
Me: I don’t know what “falling out” means? (meanwhile I am googling “vagina falling out”, and please just shoot me if my google search history ever becomes available for public consumption) Tell me what happened? When did you notice your…vagina falling out? Does it hurt?
Daughter: OF COURSE IT HURTS, IT’S FALLING OUT!
Me: Okay..shhh shhh, it’s going to be okay, I just need more details so I know what to do. (According to google, both your uterus and your bowel can prolapse. OMG. Seriously? She seems a little young though. Oh no, she’s spotted the horrific look on my face as I look at the pages upon pages of prolapsing vagina’s)
Prolapsed Uterus: THE DEFINITION – A uterus that has slipped out of place, sometimes protruding down through the vagina. (I’ll spare you the pics. You are welcome.)
Daughter: OMG what does it say? My vagina is falling out isn’t it!??!?! (this last bit ends in a wail that I’m quite surprised didn’t wake the whole house)
Me: No, of course not. I mean I don’t know. Tell me what happened, when did you notice the….uh…problem?
Daughter: I went to the bathroom when I got home, and I noticed it felt weird, and then I went to wipe and that’s when I saw it…just hanging out! (at this point she is hyperventilating and shaking uncontrollably).
I reach down and hold her, trying to comfort her while I process this terrifying news and plan our next steps. One of the first questions the nurse asked me was if I looked at it…her vagina? Seriously? That thought never crossed my mind. Not once. I mean she’s 17. How awkward. And what would I do if I saw that it was actually falling out….poke it back in? <shudder> So, no…looking at her vagina didn’t occur to me. Taking her to the emergency room did. I put a sweater over my pajamas, because everyone knows that makes it an outfit, and gently woke my husband to let him know we were going to the emergency room. Now can you guess his reaction:
A. WHAT? Is everything okay? What is going on? Do I need to go with you? Are you okay? Is she okay? TELL ME!
B. He leaps out of bed, pulls his clothes on haphazardly and grabs the car keys before I calmly tell him that he has to stay home with the other kids. Hugging me and his daughter, he makes me promise I will call him as soon as I know something.
C. He mumbles something incomprehensible and rolls back over to sleep.
Yep. The answer is C. Husband of the Year Award. <sigh> I am sure he would tell this story differently. Ignore him.
So, we get to the Emergency Room where I am asked on 3 separate occasions “what brings you here today?”
Me: My daughter’s vagina is falling out.
To the everlasting credit of the staff at Presby, they didn’t even blink.
We settle in for the 4 hour wait. Apparently, losing your vagina doesn’t constitute a vital emergency. And now my poor tired and shocked brain begins to process the events of the evening. And then, it hit me.
Me: OMG did you have sex?!?!?!
My oldest daughter looked up at me with her big blue eyes swimming in tears and nodded. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. My heart was being held in a vise grip of anxiety and I had this visceral need to go find this boy and beat the ever-living crap out of him until he was crying and begging for mercy. Now this fantasy had merit. Real merit. I was almost smiling, until I remembered where we were and how inappropriate laughing would be at this time. Like I said, nothing prepares you for this day. What can I say to her…I mean the poor thing is already losing her vagina, I can’t possibly make her feel worse, nor do I want to. Despite all my efforts to keep her a child, she keeps taking steps that lead her away from me and into the adult world. All I could do is hug her, and tell her everything would be okay. There will be plenty of time to play 20 questions.
We finally get called back to a room.
The Good News: Her vagina is not falling out.
The Bad News: Apparently she is allergic to latex (relief to find out they used a condom followed by feeling weird that I feel relief), and her va jay jay is swollen up like a baboon. She needs a steroid shot, and by tomorrow she will be feeling much better.
I couldn’t resist… Forgive me 🙂
We are both too exhausted to actually talk. We stumble home where I remember that I have to tell The Husband.
I sit down, I look him in the eye, my hand on his leg as I deliver this news:
Me: Everything is okay. She just had an allergic reaction to some body lotion I bought her.
Husband: What, like a rash?
Me: No, like her vagina swelled up.
Husband: Why is she putting lotion down there!
Me: I need sleep.