Wildlife Books Reveal More Than Expected
This mother's tale of bringing home a little something extra from Grandma's house.
Every time we visit MJ’s parents in West Virginia we always return home with more than what we arrived with.
My mother-in-law uses our visits as an opportunity to de-clutter. We head home with boxes of MJ’s artwork and trophies from high school, old GI Joes and Transformers, and once, an artist’s pencil sketch of MJ in his cross-country uniform. On a recent trip, we returned with a box of Ranger Rick books for the boys.
The wilting cardboard was filled to the brim with the books which covered a wide variety of animals and the kids were excited to get them out. We drug the box to the loft and left them to rummage through it. Soon it was quiet and we began to unpack in peace. That is until we heard E. shout:
“Oh my Gosh! What is this?!”
I came up the stairs to find E. and C. holding magazine photos of scantily-clad, big-haired, and even bigger-busted, girls.
“Where did you find these?” I asked.
“In the book,” E. said, pointing to the nature book on the floor.
I gathered up the paper tramps and plucked them from my children’s not-as-innocent fingers and stuffed them into the book with their arched-backed friends. I took it downstairs and shook it at MJ.
“Do you know what your children found? Are these yours?”
MJ opened the book. His face grew red and he started to laugh, “They’re my brother's!”
“You, my friend, are a terrible liar,” I said, trying to hold it together. “Why would you put these in a children’s book?”
Apparently, throughout the 80s, MJ and his older brother had hidden the clipped out lingerie models in books his mother was unlikely to open. At least the girls in the photos our sons had found were partially covered.
“We hid a ton of stuff in the Encyclopedia’s we used to have.”
Used to have? “What happened to them?”
“Um, Mom donated them to the church.”
I can only imagine the lucky family that got that set of encyclopedias. They were going to get far more information than they bargained for. We confiscated the rest of the Ranger Rick books and spent the next hour going through them page by page to ensure no chicks got by us. It was when I was handing back the censored material to the kids, that I noticed the title of the book where the 80s cover girls had been discovered.
“Was this an accident?” I asked. I flipped the book around to show MJ. The title of the book was “The Beaver’s Way”.
The situation made us question if we should sit down with the boys and have “The Talk”. The closest thing to a sex talk I got from my Mom was, “He won’t buy the cow if he can get the milk for free.” If a girl is equating sex with love, then comparing her to a cow will do nothing to boost her self-esteem. Maybe the girls in the photos got the same speech from their parents.
So how do you know if your child is ready to learn about the birds and the bees?
If they’re asking questions, they’re ready. Be direct with your answers and keep them age appropriate. Don’t overload them with all the information at once. If they’re still curious, they’ll have more questions. The last thing you want to do is arm an 8-year-old with all the dirty details and send them to school.
I made the mistake of telling my boys when they were very young that the Dad is like a farmer and the Mom is like a garden. The Dad plants the seed in the Mom’s garden and it grows into a baby. Just as I was patting myself on the back for that brilliant analogy, my oldest son, E. asked, “How does he plant the seed?” Be honest with your kids. It can be embarrassing talking to your kids about sex, but it’s more embarrassing having your son believe it takes a few seed packets and a garden rake to make a baby.