I was over at my friend Mike’s house. I went into his office to look for something when I noticed a condom on the floor in Greg and Bobby’s playroom. It was not used but it was out of the wrapper. I went to ask Mike about it and he said, with a very perplexed look on his face, he found the wrapper the other day and wondered where the contents were. There had been lots of activity in the playroom because the boys were setting up for a Welcome Back party to celebrate when Marcia and Cindy returned from their vacation to grandma’s house complete with streamers, balloons, presents and party favors.
So then I went into the room where Greg was playing and told him, in sort of a leading, non-accusatory way, that I saw the balloon-y thing he found in the playroom…at least I presumed he found it. He corrected me and said, “Oh, Bobby found that. What was it anyway?” I told him it was called a condom. He asked, “What’s that?” I said it was something a man puts on his penis when he has sex to protect him from sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). He said “Ew.” and that was the end of it.
Later, when we were all together in the car, I asked Bobby where he found that balloon-like thing that was in the play room. He said he found it in a box in the back of dad’s desk. Mike shot me a one eyebrow raised, sideways look like he had no idea what his son was talking about. Before I could say anything else, Greg told Bobby “Yeah, do you know what it’s for? Men wear it on their penis when they have sex so they won’t get sexual sicknesses”. Bobby led out a series of groans and eww’s. He said he thought it was a balloon and he tried to blow it up for their party but that it was slippery and gross. Mike and I chuckled, thinking about the mental image that put into our heads.
This story had a funny ending but it further shows the importance of having an open dialog about things of a sexual nature. The kids found the condom; that sort of thing is going to happen. Kids do all sorts of things as they get older without the direct oversight of their parents (finding presents ahead of time, stumbling upon other things they don't need to find, etc.). I let them ask the questions and I tried to answer in as simple a way as possible giving the correct answer (even if I didn’t go into ALL of the reasons people use condoms). Their dad didn’t get angry or embarrassed, which may make it easier for them to come forth next time and ask.
So, maybe next time they find something strange they’ll ask? And maybe their dad needs a better hiding place for his personal items?