Monday, July 07, 2008

Sex Ed - From The Kid

My eldest, the Auspie, was always a hoot at the museum. From 3 on, when I was in college and had the discounted student pass, she'd stomp around the library-quiet museum with me during weekdays in this pair of brightly colored cowboy boots that she had to wear, no matter the weather or season.

My favorite Allie In An Art Museum Story took place during her first visit to the MAM.

We were looking through the "classic masters" section of paintings, when I heard her grunt and stomp out of the room. I did my own classic mommy bit then, trying to quietly catch up with her. When I did, I asked her why she left so quickly.

Hands on her hips, she turned to me and said, "I just don't understand why they have to put the fur there."

I stood stupefied for a moment -- and then remembered the partial female nude. "Fur" meant public hair.

"It's just the human body," I said. As 'mommy' -- and a single parent then too -- she'd never minded barging in on me in the bath (as you'll see in a bit) or getting dressed and so had seen me nude enough to know that pubic hair was, is, normal.

But apparently 'normal' had no place in art.

"They just shouldn't show that. They should paint a dress on them or something," was her reply.

As if nude models were understandable, but painting them thus was the problem.

Speaking of Allie and pubic hair...

Once when she was little she pushed her way into the bathroom while I was on the potty myself. She took one look at my pubic hair, pointed her little chubby toddler finger at it, and said, "Chipmunks live in there."

I knew if I laughed, I'd hear that forever; so I bit my tongue and replied, "No, they do not. When ladies and men grow-up, part of maturing is growing hair on their private parts."

She stood and stared at me.

Then she raised her finger along with her voice and shouted, "No! Chipmunks live in there!" Then she stormed out of the bathroom.

Leaving me a very puzzled mother on the toilet -- still too afraid to laugh.
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