Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Obvious Question

So my husband had a vasectomy this morning.

It wasn't a big deal-- OK, yes it's a big deal, but I mean, we didn't make it a big deal. My husband was a-okay about scheduling it; there were no debates or discussions about why he had to do it, etc. -- but we (and when I say we, I of course mean I) told the boys that dad was having a little surgery. It was going to interfere with the normal routine and I wanted to apprise them of the situation briefly. Cooper took it in stride like most young boys do. OK, sure Mom. (He's 7, easy going, and often oblivious to the undercurrents and subtext of a given discussion. Sometimes even to the discussion itself. Especially if he's reading comics at the time.)

Then there's Will. He's 9. He's all about the subtext. He's been catching on when you didn't want him to since he was 3. No joke. I think that was the first time he asked about where babies come from and instead of just accepting the 'in my tummy' type of response, he wanted to know from where and exactly how it came out. This is the same boy who at age 4 brought me a box of the tampons I use as we passed the feminine products on the way to the razors, saying "Here Mom. A new box of toilet sticks". (He then chuckled to himself, adding, "I just called them that because they are in the bathroom and shaped like sticks.)

Fast forward 5 years and the statement, "Daddy's having a little surgery tomorrow" isn't accepted as is. Not in our house. At least not by Will. Instead it starts a lengthy Q & A:

"What's the surgery for?"

"Well, it's actually similar to what Asterisk had done at the vet." (Coincidentally, our 7 month old cat was neutered two days before.)

"You mean so he can't make babies?"

"Yes." (We've had many variations on the discussion of sex that have only gotten more interesting and to the point as Will has aged. I could probably talk about those various instances alone for a couple of weeks! Suffice it to say that he knows the sperm comes from the man's penis and goes inside the woman.)

Will ponders this and then poses two more questions:

"Will it hurt?"

"Um, some. He'll be sore after but it won't hurt while they're doing the surgery." I proceed to explain briefly without too much detail into where/how they snip. (Shockingly, he doesn't probe for further details. I soon find out why.) "He'll feel back to normal in a couple days."

"Is it expensive?"

It's my turn to pause. "Well, yes, but insurance pays for some of it. It will probably cost us a few hundred dollars."

Will thinks for a moment and then asks, "Why doesn't he just not have sex?"

And there he goes, like a heat-seeking missile, able to bypass all the extraneous stuff, aiming straight for the target. And he never misses.

I say nothing for a moment, trying not bust up and finally manage a, "Well, yes, he could do that. That would be another alternative." and finally, "but, you know, once you're a grown up, once you're married (yes, still using that safety net!), sex is for making babies but it's also something you enjoy."

"I won't!" he immediately responds.

"That's ok, but once you're an adult you may change your mind."

The Q & A was yesterday afternoon. Rand had to work late since he was going to be off for the next two days so the boys didn't see him until this morning as we were getting ready for school. As Will & Coop are finishing up breakfast, Rand comes down with Vivian, our 8 month old daughter, who is looking for her breakfast (read: Mommy). I sit down to nurse her and before Rand can go back upstairs to get ready, Will comes over to Rand and says:

"Dad, I know you're going to have surgery today on your wiener to stop the sperm so you can have sex for fun!"

Not much you can say to that, is there? :-)

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