Instead of painting my pregnant belly as an Easter egg, I should probably paint it as a giant potato. For once again I have become a big old couch potato. I was definitely one in the beginning. For the first three to four months of this pregnancy I felt like I was dying, so much so that when I had my first ultrasound I badgered the technician to make sure there was a fetus in there and not a lump of cancerous tissue. (At my age and with my history of fertility problems, I would've been less surprised by a diagnosis of cancer than pregnancy, anyway.) Then, once I got past that first trimester and started taking iron supplements, I was able to get off the sofa, at least now and then. However, as I enter the third trimester, I am once again so anemic that I suffer heart palpitations and breathlessness whenever I walk around the house. The other day I had to leave the shopping mall in the middle of a bunch of errands because I felt like a) I was about to pass out and b) the baby was about to explode out of the region of my belly button right there in the grocery store's check-out line. All this to say that I am once again pretty much a full-time couch potato and that therefore, I watched two complete episodes of Oprah this week. Maybe I should start a blog devoted to nothing but reviewing the Oprah show.
Yesterday's show featured Dr. Laura Berman, the sexpert with the Oprah seal of approval. And after watching it, I have decided to give her the Crooked House seal of approval, too. Unlike the show a few days ago about mothering, this show provided useful -- and inevitably controversial -- advice, in this case about how to talk to your kids about sex, which is, for many, many people one of the most difficult aspects of parenting. It's also probably the main area where parents screw up the most, generally by not providing enough information and by not appearing open, non-judgemental, and non-threatening enough for their children to come to them to talk about sex. What was particularly interesting about this episode was that Dr. Berman focused on being positive about sexual pleasure with your children. This translated to including the concept of masturbation (and stressing that it's perfectly fine and normal) when you first have the discussion about the mechanics of sex to a child, most likely when that child is around 10 years old. This absolutely floored many of the people in the audience and particularly Oprah's friend Gayle King, who looked like she needed smelling salts. And then, then Dr. Berman went on to say that when your daughter is in her mid-teens and your conversations are getting more specific, you might want to tell her about vibrators that are designed for clitoral stimulation. This, of course, had the audience in an uproar. But Dr. Berman was still able to make her point that, if you teach your children about sexual pleasure and let them know how they can give it to themselves, they're not going to be as quick to run out and look for it from somebody else.
If only I'd had a vibrator seven months ago, I wouldn't be stuck on this couch right now.
I'm kidding. (I mean it, Mom, I'm really kidding! I never heard about vibrators until yesterday! Honest!) But I'm not kidding about how informative this particular Oprah show was on a difficult parenting issue.