Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hayden in our Homes

I’m a Hayden victim too!

Ha-ha! Fat chance! But seriously, I count myself a victim .. sort of. That is, if you consider missing the evening news at the peak of this sex video brouhaha the kind that would qualify me into that category.

Let me put this into frame. My daughter Abby owns the TV. Weekends during schooldays and during the entire summer vacation, Abby holds absolute dominion over the TV remote. I have long since given up the fight for it, but I did managed to squeak in my parental prerogative for American Idol and the evening news.

But wait! Before anyone starts getting images of a wild child running loose in our home, let me clear things up. The word discipline hangs heavily over this household. I simply do not stand my ground on every issue that comes between my daughter and myself just because I could. I let her get away with inconsequential stuff (like the remote) and dig my heels in only for those things that really matter.

With that out of the way, let’s get back to my TV privileges and Hayden. As I was saying, I insisted on getting the TV only to watch American Idol and the news. Imagine Abby’s delight when AI had its finale … “I’m so happy!! Now I can have the TV back!” So I only had the evening news left as my sole claim to it. This was the only time when I could tell her to go to MY channel, regardless of what she may be watching at that time. And I had to give this up too because of HIM!!

I know that almost everyone is as sick and tired of this pathetic excuse of a man as I am. But I am writing all the same because this issue had not been tackled down to the level of family, more particularly, its impact on my child and how it had caused a big upset on my efforts to raise my child in ways I think best. Maybe the distasteful effects of Hayden’s capers have reached your homes too.

We all reacted in various ways when this scandal broke the surface. But react, we all did! We all professed shock and disgust over this man but undeniably, many of us got curious. Countless Dumagueteños crowded around office computers to scour the internet for these videos. I know of many who have the videos in their cell phones and flash disks. CDs sold like pancakes.

But while everyone waited with bated breath for the next installment of this latest melodrama, I became wary of TV news and started avoiding it altogether! And that’s how I missed out on almost everything that went on during that time. I had to. Abby watches with me and I did not want her to see half-naked Hayden and Katrina gyrating before her in the TV screen, or be bombarded by blurred but still highly suggestive and thought-provoking photos of an apparently-naked man and woman while the news screamed SEX SCANDAL!!! I knew exactly the kind of questions that I would be inundated with. And I wasn’t, and still am, not ready for them.

But as we all know, even the fiercest guard dog (that’s me) couldn’t keep the guard up at all times. Almost immediately, I slipped when I left Abby briefly in the care of our house helpers when she was in the hospital. When I returned, I found all three of them staring up into the TV screen seemingly mesmerized by those hateful images. I could only imagine what may have been going through Abby’s impressionable young mind as she watched them. Children’s brains soak up information like hungry sponges. I braced myself for the barrage of questions that I knew my inquisitive child had coming for me.

Abby is no stranger to sexy scenes though. She sees them in TV all the time. The reality is that THERE IS NO AVOIDING THEM. They come to you even while you are merely surfing for channels. Even cartoon characters smooch non-stop in kiddie channels. I have already been asked why foreigners sleep without their clothes on. She considered it stupid because the lady would have to keep holding the blanket up to cover her chest.

But I don't think she ever gave any of it much thought except probably to shake her head in wonder at the stupidity of some grownups’ peculiar habits.

But things changed after this Hayden scandal. The tiny wheels inside her head started turning and putting two and two together and whoa!! she had become wiser on this subject! She must have picked up snippets of information from her school friends, from TV and movies, and from everywhere else then lumped them all together and came up with an almost-perfect picture.

Then the questions started. I wanted to wail. I wanted to scratch Hayden’s eyes out! I wanted to give him the kind of circumcision that finishes everything off! I thought of that former policeman who poured water over his head and wished he had used muriatic acid instead!

“Mama, what is sex?” (waaaah!!) “No, not the male and female thing! I mean THE BAD THING!” (WAAAAH!) By then, she had me cornered! I could not think. My mind was filled with images of a glistening pair of scissors, clicking ominously, as they moved with deliberate slowness towards a cowering Hayden for that much dreamed-of circumcision!

How do we talk about sex to our children? How old should they be before this sit down about the birds and the bees becomes imperative? I have absolutely no idea. There’s supposed to be a book on this subject at National bookstore. I should have gotten that the moment I knew that I was going to have a child!

But it was too late by then. I was unprepared for her direct questions. I crossed my fingers secretly and lied through my teeth … “it’s another word for mating Langga, you know, like what our dogs, chicken and love birds do to have babies.” (It’s still partly true, I told myself!) “I KNOW THAT ALREADY!!” (Huh? Oh yeah! There goes my chance to wriggle out of this!) “So, what is “it”? Why is it bad? What is a scandal?” (HAYDENNN!!!) If I were really that guard dog I said I was, I’d be baring my fangs and growling and bristling at him by that time! But deep inside, I was writhing in agony. Add a foaming mouth in your mental image and that’s the accurate picture of what I went through at that time!

There was no way out by then. I had to face my curious child’s questions (although I still wasn’t above skirting some if I could). In essence I told her that sex is what people do to have a baby. I added that, by itself, it is not bad and that in fact, it is very beautiful and good. But I told her that it is beautiful only when done between husband and wife as God commands it. And it becomes bad only when people do it before they get married. “Or ARE NOT married!”, Abby added.

After this I braced myself for the particulars, the HOWS … I had absolutely no idea how to answer this or even how to avoid answering the questions I was sure were coming next … should I tell her already how it happens and exactly what parts of the anatomy are involved? In my mind, I was still deliberating over truths vs. lies when my brat dropped her million-dollar conclusion … “So you and Papa do it, right?” (Oh my God! I did not expect this! This is killing me! How does anybody ever answer THAT question to a nine-year old?) “But how come I don't see you take your clothes off? Or dance like this?” She raised her arms and wriggled her hips! These are obviously the images that she associates with sex.

By then, I was too exhausted even to give Hayden Kho a mental growl. I sought refuge in my lies and told Abby that those things are done only in the movies. “Besides, can you imagine me dancing like that??? With all my bilbil (tummy blob) hanging out???”

Humor saved me from further torture that day! We had a long, good laugh over that. Abby couldn’t get over the ridiculous idea of her mama (with her bilbil flying all over the place) and papa dancing the way Hayden and Katrina did. Then an idea occurred to her, “Oh yeah! I came from medicines right? You had to be injected so you could have me!” I just nodded vaguely. I was thankful for this temporary relief from the questions and the need to be upfront with her.

For now, I am happy that the questions have stopped coming. She seems content with the knowledge that she developed directly through the fertility drugs that I received while undergoing treatment.

But the crucial question still remains. How and when should we talk about sex to our children?

I know that some readers may find me too conservative regarding this matter. But is it too wrong to want your daughter to remain innocent for as long as possible? What parent wouldn’t want that for his child?

I have no intention of not taking up this topic up with Abby. I just think that at nine years old, she is still way too young for these sorts of worldly concerns. I would have wanted her to remain, in every essence a child, for as long as possible.

But what can I do? Time and circumstances have gotten way ahead of this mom. There is nothing much that we can keep from our children nowadays. The wisest course of action at this point for me will be to educate Abby about sex not only within the physical context but more importantly, within the proper context of God and religion, family, society, consequences and responsibilities, and of course, morality.

As for Hayden Kho, I still have modified circumcision in mind for him. Seriously though, his utterly selfish acts have far-reaching repercussions, way beyond the obvious damage that it is doing to the women he had victimized. He almost single-handedly corrupted the minds of countless children all over the country (with the help of the sensationalized treatment given by irresponsible TV journalism) thereby robbing them of precious innocence.

He forced into my Abby an awareness that she can still do without. He is forcing me to confront an issue that I’m still not prepared and not willing to meet at this time.

But there it is. The need has arisen. I have no choice. So off to the bookstore this Mom goes!

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