The Saturday before last I caught the bus to the city with Joe to go to Paddy’s Markets (his favourite and my least favourite place in the world). We went with the express purpose of visiting the stalls which sell Super Mario Bros plastic crap…I mean toys— his reward for completing Cogmed (which, incidentally he performed brilliantly in, but that must wait for a later post).
We had to wait a long time for the return bus to appear, so once we’d hopped on board I reclined in my seat with a great sense of relief. It was at this precise moment that Joe decided to ask me:
‘Where was I in 1999?’
‘What do you mean?’ I asked.
Then I twigged. This was Joe’s version of the ‘Where did I come from?’ question.
‘Um, err, um, you were an egg in mum’s tummy,’ I explained, sotto voce. ‘Mummy had lots of eggs but only three turned into babies. ‘
I decided a crowded city bus on Saturday afternoon was not the place to discuss what exactly happens to turn an egg into a person and tactfully changed the subject! I recently discovered that Joe had stumbled across internet p*rn , which hastened my purchase of Net Nanny, but I don’t think he’s made the connection between p*rn and the ‘where babies come from’ quandary.
I recently stumbled across an Australian book called Special Boys’ Business, by Heather Anderson, Fay Angelo and Rose Stewart, with illustrations by Jeff Taylor. For parents of girls there is a corresponding Special Girls’ Business. As the name implies, these sex education publications are designed for kids with special needs. The boys’ book really gets down to the nitty gritty on puberty (pubic hair, body odour, and pimples) and sexuality (erections, masturbation and having ‘sexy thoughts’). It even includes an illustration of a man and woman getting it on, although it doesn’t specifically link this activity to baby making.
Unlike American books, which tend to be overly coy, this local publication leaves little to the imagination; for example there is a cartoon illustration of a boy masturbating in the bathroom (which is a place it can be done, advises the book, rather than in public places). It also touches on the issue of abuse, talking about kids being the ‘boss’ of their bodies.
I have read through Special Boys Business with Joe, although he still seems curiously uninterested at this stage—just a little early I suspect. In the first instance I have decided to photocopy and laminate the showering routine from the book (washing under the arms and the penis etc.) and will Velcro this to the shower wall. Hopefully my husband no longer needs reminders, but who knows—it my may help him too!
Special Boys Business and Special Girls Business are excellent Aussie references for parents negotiating the minefield of puberty with their special needs child and come heartily recommended.