Kathy is facing another hard day trying to keep her young offspring in line. Being a mom is a continuous battle. And so it is today: She feels compelled to give little Frankie a bang on his bottom because he pushed his sister onto the floor. We’re listening to the ensuing discussion with Frankie after he was punished and his reaction to his stressed mom that has many more troubling consequences. (Based on a real story).
“You took the risk, Mom!”
“What you mean, Frankie?”
“You wouldn’t have me trouble you all the time if you hadn’t done it.”
“What you mean?”
“You know what I mean.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You and dad.”
“What about me and dad?”
“You doing it.”
Some hesitation on Frankie’s side. Then he mumbles, grinning, “making love.”
“Who told you that?”
“Miss Tilly at school.”
“And what else did Miss Tilly tell you?”
“If you don’t want babies you must use a papa-stopper.”
“A what? Is that what they teach you in school?”
“Amy knows it too. Tommy told her.”
“Your sister is only eight! And you are only ten! You tell your friend Tommy to stay away from Amy. It’s scandalous! I’ll raise hell about this in next week’s PTA!”
“You may not say ‘hell’ Miss Dooley said. What’s a papa-stopper look like?”
“Well, did Miss Tilly not tell you?”
“She drew one on the blackboard, but I’ve never seen one.”
“What? On the blackboard? I’ll go straight to the principal and have her fired!”
“What’s so bad?”
“I’ll tell you when I get back!”
Kathy sits with the principal.
“You know Mrs. Johnson; our state law requires that we provide sex education. Even the Republican Party voted for it.”
“Why so young? When I was eight or ten, I’d never heard of it.”
“We have the highest rate of teen pregnancies in the industrial world. You want your kids to be one of those victims? In The Netherlands, they teach kids about love as of Kindergarten, and they have the lowest teen pregnancies in the world.”
“Kindergarten age is four; what do they know! My eight-year-old knows no more. Isn’t it bad enough that my boy’s ten-year-old friend tells my eight-year-old girl?”
“No, I don’t. Frankie said Tommy did.”
“I’ll tell Tommy not to tell anyone in second grade. But I won’t fire Miss Tilly. She’s an excellent teacher and a mother of six.”
“Six? My goodness! Does she know about the pill?”
“Let’s not go there, Mrs. Johnson. Good day.”
Kathy walks with hubby Frank senior in front of their beach house.
“I clam up telling kids about sex,” Kathy says. “Can you do it for me, Frank?”
“How did you learn about sex?”
“I’m not telling you.”
“Why not? Was it in school?”
“Certainly not. We’d be expelled if we were talking sex.”
“I said, I’m not telling you.”
“You’re not saying I was your first kisser? You did pretty well at the prom.”
“I got it from the movies.”
“Hah! And my hard-on and what followed? Did you get that from the movies, too?”
“Come on! They never show you the bottom part.”
“Frank, you’re embarrassing me!”
“You see? I bet you had sex before me. And you didn’t get pregnant like so many others. So who told you?”
“When I had my first period.”
“Aha! Wise mother! You know how many girls get pregnant nowadays at that age and wished they’d been told?”
“I see where you’re heading. We better tell the kids then. It’s so hard to be a mom.”
“Not harder than your mother. At least you have Miss Tilly.”
“But she has six children, Frank!”
Kathy and Frank are discussing how they’re going to tell the kids.
“The books tell you to use the proper terms, not the slang ones,” Frank says.
“But I feel uncomfortable about even using the proper terms. I prefer the little words, you know, willie and foo foo. They’re still so small!”
“As long as we tell them to keep their willie and foo foo private and not for use with or by others. That’s why we call them private parts.”
“But what when they start feeling sexy?”
“Well, by that time trouble starts. Remember? We’d better tell them to put a stop on it.”
“Oh Frank, Frankie asked what a papa stopper was. Miss Tilly told him.”
Frank laughs. “You told me she has six children.”
Next, Kathy and Frank have dinner with the kids.
“How’s Miss Tilly doing, Frankie?” Kathy asks.
Frankie looks up, a suspicious glance in his eyes. “Why you’re askin’?”
“Oh, just to know… What’s the latest gossip in school?”
“Amy used the F-word and got punished,” Frankie says, pointing his fork at Amy.
Amy puts her fork down with a broad grin.
“Is this true, Amy?” Kathy asks. Frank’s face shows he’s about to burst into laughter and that he has trouble not to.
Amy grins again, looking at her brother. “F*&in,” she says to him, dragging out the word, giggling, her eyes shining a naughty glance.
Kathy raises her voice. “That’s a very bad word, Amy! I forbid you to use it, here and anywhere! You don’t even know what it means!”
Amy giggles again. “Hee, hee, hee. Tommy told me. Like daddy and mommy doing it.”
“I don’t think we need Miss Tilly anymore,” Frank says, getting angry. “Now you guys: you listen carefully. This is serious business. Sit quiet. No more jokes!”
And so Kathy and Frank explain love and its physical consequences in fourth-graders’ terms to the best of their ability.
Amy has been listening half while drawing lines on her placemat with her fork. Then she looks up to her mommy and says, “Tommy told me you can blow up a papa stopper like a balloon. Can you buy me one?”
“What would you like for mother’s day?” Frank asks.
“Eight hours of sleep, and champagne on the beach with you alone.”
Read this story about another Frank and Frankie!