Alright, so I get this email from Asylum Staff member, @Chey_Marly_mom and began reading it. If we had been face to face I would have probably been cautious about displaying my laughter. I thought about how common this situation described in the email doubtlessly occurs, and asked her to share with Asylum. She reluctantly agreed to humor my wishes(and this is why we love her!). So, the email was discussing…wait, I don’t want to give away any spoilers…read what happened for your Self, and please add a comment.
My husband & I are almost always on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to what we enjoy watching on television. This pretty much makes our viewing pleasures a solo deal. Nevertheless, we’ve recently discovered a program that has really piqued both our interest, the title of which: “Primetime: What would YOU do?” It is a show whose producers create scenarios in public places for the purpose of aggravating the moral sensibilities of random unknowing people by simulating seemingly disturbing acts or behaviors for an unscripted reaction. I felt the title and premise of the show is ironically fitting for this post about a recent matter my husband and I experienced during a much more significant and pleasurable activity that we’ve never had a problem agreeing upon and have committed to do with each other as often as possible. I say all that to say, our 4 year old Babygirl caught us in the act of our interests being peaked[Editor’s note: I’m sorry! I just couldn’t help my Self, the unintentional pun was just perfect, so I didn’t change the spelling. – Owl] during our own “primetime” so to speak.
*wipes sweat from brow* There I’ve said it.
Now I know you’re wondering… ”What did you do?” (See why this title works?)Well… Considering we couldn’t determine how long we had an audience, and I had only observed that she was standing about a foot from the bedside when the rhythm suddenly came to a halt and prompted me to open my eyes inquisitively, and exclaim within a nanosecond of the observation: “Hi Mama, Daddy was just giving Mommy a big ole hug, right Daddy?”He nods in agreement…”What’s the matter, how come you’re out of bed?” “Are you thirsty?” and more questions I rattled off to redirect her attention, that I don’t recall but allowed the Mr. to slide over and me to pull the covers to my chin while talking and wiggling into my nightgown. As she sleepily rubbed her eyes, gazed to and from us and the TV, and answered that she was thirsty, I promptly escorted her to the kitchen for a drink, tucked her back in her bed and never uttered a word about what had just transpired. I mean I did just tell her “Daddy was giving Mommy a hug” right? RIGHT!!!
And the incident hasn’t come up again since. We didn’t inquire with our daughter about what she may or may not have witnessed at all. I asked my husband if he thought we needed to talk to her about it and he like me is of the mind that if we don’t make a big deal or any deal about it that it would go away. And we’d like to believe that it has. An interrogation or introduction to a loaded topic such as sex at age 4 just doesn’t seem necessary, especially considering her seemingly un-phased demeanor in the moment, minutes and days following. I’ve consulted a few of my trusted friends about the matter and they seemed to agree that the “hug” was a sufficient deflection. My best girlfriend has confided that she too had to recently explain a terrible “back ache” when her 9 year old daughter appeared at her bedside awakened by the sounds of her self described “trip to the mountain top” courtesy of her husband who had been explained to be in the bathroom while he laid still under the balled up quilts. Now, I know there are experts who recommend a different approach. I mean I’ve read more than my share of articles about “healthy” conversations with children about sex from the time they can talk, such as these thoughts from experts in the field of psychology:
“Parents who get caught fooling around need to understand that kids process information about sex–everything from what their friends discuss with them to what their parents do–gradually and incrementally. That means a child may likely feel some surprise. But not as much if he or she already knows that his parents sometimes express their care for each other by kissing and rubbing their bodies and genitals together while naked in bed. Offer your children a constant stream of sexual information, and if they happen to see you in the act, the dreaded “primal scene” need not be so upsetting.” //Excerpt from WebMD.com magazine
“Dr Mary S. Calderone, a well-respected American pioneer of sex education, goes one step farther. She believes that at the age of 3 children should begin learning, in clear, simple language, that the father’s penis enters the mother’s vagina and releases sperm, which unites with the egg in the uterus to make a baby. And, by the age of 5, a child should understand that sex is the way that fathers and mothers affirm their love for each other. Adults find educating children about sex difficult because they are loaded down by their own insecurities and embarrassments; however the average six-year-old is unencumbered by prejudices. //Excerpt from article http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/relationships/article3772108.ece
Really? I can’t! Don’t get me wrong. I believe it is completely the responsibility of parents to discuss topics such as human anatomy for health and hygiene purposes and inappropriate touching at the earliest age possible to protect a child from predators and to recognize if they are being violated. Not the same as Mommy and Daddy naked wresting or “hugging” in the wee hours.
Now I know what you’re thinking… “Why didn’t you lock the door?” Well the door was closed…However, we don’t have a lock on our bedroom door. Yet. *welp* “Why?” Well… because I have issues. I grew up with parents who par took in some unsavory activities and often kept the door locked to their bedroom for the benefit of concealing and protecting my brother and me from witnessing that which would most definitely and permanently alter our lives in a completely different way than seeing them make love. Although we didn’t have to literally see it to know what was happening; I am thankful
for being spared that particular aspect of their addiction battles. Further, my functionally dysfunctional parents were also from the “Ole School” and were firm believers in the adage “You don’t pay no bills in this house….” which ultimately translated into intolerance for any habits or behaviors typical of adults, committed by children who had not monetarily earned the luxury of such things as privacy. Therefore, WE were not allowed to lock or even close the door to any room other than the bathroom. And so like many of us, who I am today, is largely shaped by the conditions and experiences of my youth. To this day I will pause, take a breath and then approach a closed door, especially to my tween daughter’s bedroom with the consideration that I am not a child in my parents’ home any longer and that whatever is happening on the other side isn’t necessarily an attempt to conceal or deceive me… (or is it?) I told ya’ll I have issues. And for the record, my girlfriend who does have a lock on her bedroom door just failed to take that precaution in the heat of the moment. Totally understandable.
In an effort to avoid another incident, my husband and I have agreed that it is indeed time to put a lock on our bed room door despite my sensibilities. This isn’t the easiest thing for me to come to terms with as a solution but it’s necessary. Especially since we’ve unwittingly created a sort of “freedom to be” environment in our home with respect to our children having access to all of the living spaces without penalty. It’s only been since my brothers’ recent move into our household have we had to emphasize the importance and practice of knocking on doors with our 4 year old (we actually did this only days before hug-gate occurred) because the freedom to roam simply isn’t as much a luxury as it had been previously. So much for that overview! Ha!! So our locked bedroom door and discussion about this unfamiliar policy will hopefully reinforce that privacy and boundaries as they relate to closed doors more specifically, are to be respected. My only hope is that this new impediment on her prior liberties isn’t too traumatic. The thought of her wrapping on the door in the middle of the night could be as unnerving as being caught in the act. Nevertheless, it seems we’ve gotten through this without the obligation of a premature discussion about sex or too much fanciful embellishment about intimacy. And our decision to approach this with a bit of nonchalance isn’t without some consideration of our own denial either. We simply cannot be too sure about what she absorbed. Which is reason enough not to any implant any additional thoughts and ideas in her mind all willy nilly.
While seeking some insight from others who had a similar experience, I came across a link to a show that I have seldom watched but may potentially check out more often that featured this exact topic. It happens to be another “primetime” television show on ABC TV called “Modern Family”. How the parents AND children dealt with being caught in the act, is rather hilarious and brilliantly portrayed. If you have a minute or 30 to check out the link to the episode below, please do. And in keeping with the title of this post and the primetime theme… by all means I would really love to know… ”What would you do?”