Monday, August 10, 2015

The Birds and The Bees (Minus the Bees)

E1 is in an inquisitive child. She always has a question, always is curious, and always needs an answer. Since she was little, I have told her I would never lie to her. E1 asks me anything that comes to mind. Some questions have been easy "Why does the sun set?" and some have been tougher, "Why did you name me E1?" "What does adoption mean?"

E1 asked a few years ago about how babies "get out." The simple answer of the doctor takes the baby out was sufficient (and truthful) for some time. Then came "But HOW does the doctor get the baby and HOW does the baby get out?" She was ready for a mature answer, so I told her. I told her how women push the baby out of their vagina. Yes, we use the word vagina. We also use the words penis, butt, breasts, nipples, and teach about privacy.

E1's response to how babies get out "So you push it out like a poop?" Why, yes. Just. Like. That. When E1 heard the real answer, she stopped asking and never brought it up again. Her thirst for knowledge had been quenched, at least on that topic.

E1 and I have discussed aspects of puberty - breast development and pubic hair - yes, we use those terms too. A little girl wants to know what a razor is for and when will "my boobs look like yours?" So, at 6 and now 7 when she asks, we discuss it.  I have contemplated a weekly waxing appointment, but aint no one got time for that type of grooming. NO. ONE. Well, maybe strippers.

I will blame the tampon machine for today's discussion. E1 asked what the machine was, a tampon machine. She reminded herself I have tampons at home and she has heard that word.....then came, "Mom, what exactly do tampons do? Why do you need tampons?" SHIT. This was not on today's plan. Here goes nothing.....

I told her. I told her about her period. I told her it will happen between the ages of 10 and 14. When she said she hoped she never got hers, I explained that you want it to come. That it is a part of growing up and means her body is healthy. E1 asked a few questions about whether or not your period hurt and how frequently you use a tampon. We discussed a little bit about eggs and your period is the egg coming out. Yes, I explained it is not the same egg from chickens. E1 was fine with this discussion. She did not laugh. She was not confused. E1 listened, asked a few more questions and then was satisfied.

We did not discuss sex. We did not discuss the male's role in the egg becoming a baby. We did not discuss pregnancies. We discussed what she asked - the purpose of tampons.

I am so happy with my decision to explain to E1 these topics as they come. I do not want a friend telling her and I do not want her to hear false information. When I explain things to E1, I tell her these are parent/child topics and she should not discuss them with other children.  So far, so good.

What shocks me in today's parenting world, is how many parents I know who actively avoid these topics and how many parents won't even say vagina or penis. Are those words a really big deal and I don't get it? I am not saying parents should tell a three year old about sex, but is it really a big deal to say, "Your body will look like this when you get older."  Why are we embarrassed to discuss these topics with our kids? Why do we expect them to tell us everything when we cannot reciprocate?

Of course, there is discretion. Of course some topics are for older children vs younger children. My friends who have answered some blush worthy questions have come to the same conclusion I have....children have an innate sense of when they are ready to hear the truth.

In this fast paced world we live in, where information is readily accessible, I have decided I do not want Google (or a friend) answering my daughter's questions.

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