My friend, Mel, at AccordingToMags is getting back at me for making her publish a post with the word penis in it. Now …. before you get all excited … hers is a very innocent story. When she initially told me about it, she had no intention of putting it in her blog …. until I pushed. And pushed. Then had a snack, checked the mail and took a nap. Then woke up and pushed some more. It’s all about taking her young kids to see a movie. Click here to read it.
And in my quest to push her out of her comfort zone, I may have inadvertently mentioned that I had a similar story involving my son when he was only five, kindergarten-bound and very observant. These three qualities ensured that all of the thoughts that crossed his mind also crossed his lips. And I was usually more than happy to answer his many, many, many questions.
So anyway, my family was on its first trip to Disney World. It was the four of us (son, 5 and daughter, 2) as well as my parents. My kids were having a blast and wanted to ride everything they could, but their age differential enabled my boy to take on a lot more of the rides than his sister. And he was surprisingly fearless.
Enter that stupid Mission: Space ride at EPCOT.
Because my daughter was clearly too young for this ride, Dave opted to sit it out with her. And my parents hung back with them. But dammit, my boy was all excited and dying to ride the space ride. So what’s a mom to do, right?
Of course, right.
It’s one of the biggest rides at the park so it comes with the tedious, Disney-esque experience of waiting in an interminable line that weaves through seemingly endless mazes of germy ropes, snotty handrails and darkened corridors intended to get you in an “intergalactic mood” by the time you reach the core. After well over an hour had passed, we finally got to the end of the line and waited in a small holding room with maybe 25-ish people to be assigned to our respective “pods.” (The nerdity in the air was palpable.) And we waited. And waited. And waited. Something was clearly wrong. There was a loud beep and everyone got whisper quiet in anticipation of a voice coming over the PA to tell us what to do.
We’re all familiar with the expression “you could have heard a pin drop,” right? Well, that’s exactly how it was when my sweet little son, back then always armed with a million questions, turned to me in the deafening silence and said “Mommy” … and then he paused … ’cause clearly there was gonna be more.
I turned to my boy and said “What?” … expecting any number of predictable, mundane statements from my five-year-old.
- “I have to go to the bathroom.”
- “What’s taking so long?”
- “I’m huuuuuungry.”
- “My tummy hurts.”
- “This shirt feels itchy.”
- “That guy sure has a fat belly.”
Any of those (and many, many others, by the way) would have been fine. But that wasn’t the direction he was going. Cut back to me. “What?” I said innocently.
Nothing could have prepared me for this next moment as a parent.
“Why do you have so much hair on your vagina?”
(radio fucking silence)
Okay. You know how, in old cartoons when a character is shocked, his eyes bulge out and you hear the antique Model T car horn blaring? Yeah? Well, that was me! Me and EVERYONE ELSE IN THE ROOM!
Then, at the exact moment that my body was debating its fight or flight options, a voice mercifully came over the loudspeaker to announce that the ride was experiencing a technical difficulty. Or something like that. Honestly, I have no fucking idea what it said. MY VAGINA HAD JUST BEEN THE TOPIC OF A SMALL FOCUS GROUP! I was too busy picking up the shattered pieces of my dignity from the floor and trying to keep every ounce of blood from rushing to my face.
Then, somehow … I made it worse.
I can’t explain why I felt the need to defend myself to these strangers. I needed them to know I was clean … groomed … manicured even. And not some sort of 1970s, freakishly shaggy wooly mammoth. Thus, before I could stop myself, I blurted out … “It’s not that much really” … to the entire room of people. About the quantity of pubic hair. On my vagina. And then hauling ass with my kid for the exit. I don’t think I stopped until I reached the nasty crawl space under my bed in the hotel room.
I still can’t believe he said it. But I guess I should be counting my blessings that it wasn’t in church.