Brady plops them into his mouth every single chance he gets. At six months, I’m sure it’s not an uncommon occurrence. His chubby litte digits explore the world he lives in and give him all sorts of information, guided by his countless curiosities. He can’t keep out of anything.
Which is normal. But I still wonder… How do I talk to him about what he gets into?
Okay, I’ll be specific. I, being the teacher, plan-ahead freak I am, am always trying to think of what I will say to answer his questions one day. And my recent teaching obligations in middle school have lead me to wonder when the heck sixth graders started to know more about drugs than I do.
Alcohol. Marijuana. Tobacco. Cocaine. Painkillers. Whatever.
I’m desperately afraid, as I’m sure every mother is at some point, that there will be a day my little boy’s curiosity will lead him to abuse these things. In our culture that persistently over-prescribes and glorifies drugs, I want to know how to explain to him that our bodies work the way they work for a reason. No lies, no Nazi-orders, no hypocrisy, no authoritative fights- just loving, caring, and understanding. (But at the same time not giving him our house to throw keggers at in high school.)
Where is the line between “you can talk to me about anything” and “Drug abuse is wrong”? I want to him to trust me. But someday I will be the weirdo mom who listens to the Les Miserables soundtrack all day and has never smoked pot a day in her life. What teenager WON’T think he’s better than me?
My husband and I clash on our thinking about the nature of drugs. I know that I don’t have the answers, but as I watch my little baby trying to tangle himself in our TV cords, I know that he could never do anything to make me un-love him. I know it’s my job as mother and educator to be informed about the dangers of drug abuse, and to be a caring authority figure my kids feel safe talking to. I know also that it is important for me to take a stance on what’s unsafe, what I won’t approve of. Maybe this will involve uncomfortable moments, maybe it will involve being crazily upset with my little person, maybe it will involve some proud moments.
I have a few years before I have to come up with an answer.
I know I need to let those little fingers discover the world around them, whether they find joy or pain. I want to guide them in right direction, but in the end, I know they’ll have to find their own direction.