I’m trying to keep the mystery alive. It helps the relationship, don’t you think-keeping a few things to yourself? I remember, a long time ago before I was married, listening to Howard Stern on the radio talking about how he never wants to see his (then) wife poop. “It ruins the mystery,” he said. I’m single at the time so I don’t really relate.
Years later, married with kids, I know what it’s like to want to keep some things private. Except it’s not my husband whose become too intimate, it’s my kids. There’s just some things my kids don’t need to see. But since my kids have never met a door they didn’t want to open, keeping the mystery alive is relatively hopeless, at least without a locksmith.
So that’s how I find myself standing in my bathroom, completely naked, with my two-year-old standing at my feet, look up at my vagenius as if it’s a skyscraper, at the exact moment I’m making contact with a tampon. Confused, my little girl looks at me perplexed, not sure where it went. “Go,” she says. “Where did it go?” I’m not really sure what to tell her so I just say, “Mommy made that toy disappear.” Which is kind of true, making me the Harry Houdini of vaginas.
Days later, my 5-year-old becomes confused after seeing me in the shower after I’ve had a meeting with a very aggressive Italian bikini-waxer whose idea of “Just a normal bikini wax” bears a striking similarity to an 1800’s Apache scalping an enemy. My labia survive “Pubes Last Stand,” but I can’t survive my kid looking at me, nearly breaking out into tears saying, “Mommy, something happened to your penis.”
It’s all just too intimate.
Since becoming a parent, I knew there’d be many conversations I’d rather not have. There’s the usual “Birds and the bees” conversation we all dread and the highly anticipated first time the kids walk in on us having sex-and we have to explain why we are 1) wrestling naked, 2) playing “statue” without clothes or 3) having sex. There’s the “Why do I sleep alone in my bed, but you and Daddy share a bed” conversation I’ve already had to have. And there’s the “Why do some people have big tummies”, “What does it mean to die?” and, “Why does Daddy get to say bad words, but I can’t?” conversations that have or will come my way.
But I didn’t anticipate that life with kids is one constant over-share where nothing is sacred and everything is done with an audience (all under the age of 6.)
THE TRUTH IS: I miss my privacy. Sure, I could lock the doors, but then a private moment becomes “How quickly will they break down this door?” Howard Stern’s not the only one who wants to keep pooping private, I do. And birth control pills, and Monostat, and eyebrow tweezing and Spanx and tampons and bikini waxes. Not everything needs to be seen. By toddler-witnesses, who may be at the park and say, “Mommy made a toy disappear in her penis.” Or something embarrassing like that.
THE ADVICE I DIDN’T ASK FOR: In a few short years, my kids will have no interest in barging in on me showering and will no longer be curious what my birth control pills are. And a few years after that, they won’t have much interest in me, except when I can drive them to a friend’s or give them cash for the mall. Getting barged in on will seem like a distant memory. And in my someday empty house, I’ll miss the days when the only way I could pee, was with an audience.