Awe, snap! My daughter asked
me this question recently. I knew this question was coming, but she is only
nine years old! I thought I had more time to come up with some answers for this,
barring the truth, I mean. It felt like I was having a “pop quiz” that I had
failed to study for, like in school.
I have always tried to be as honest as possible with my daughter, so the “stork story” was not an option. Although, tempting at the time. It would be so easy just to fill her mind with a myth and hope for the best. However, I know this could lead to more problems down the road.
I responded to her with the “template” mommy answer of, “we will talk about it later.” I, of course, was stalling for time. Dang it, where do I begin? How do I explain and not gross her out? Sometimes it even grosses me out.
I guess I should have known it was coming, since I have noticed that all of her Barbie dolls and boy dolls were naked on her playroom floor. I walked in on her playing and she has Barbie smooching a Ryan Doll! Eh gads!! It looked like a miniature nudist camp! Naked Barbie’s as far as the eye can see. A Barbie-Palooza, if you will.
I did manage to find some age-appropriate books for her to review. Of course, she got all embarrassed by the books. She was also afraid to read them around her dad, for obvious reasons. Her dad has made it clear that she is not allowed to date until she is 40! Oh, my husband has lots of guns too. (We are “packing” here in the South.)
So, I taught her a trick. I told her to locate a book larger than the “new” book, open the bigger book to the middle, then put the new book in the center and read! Voila! I just prayed her dad would not take notice of my trick.
She and I also talked about the need for her to come to me when her friends had comments about this baby thing. I did not want her to believe some of the mistruths her friends have picked up from others. Kids think that everything they hear is the truth, without question.
A few days later, she told me that one of her friends said that you can get pregnant but kissing a boy on the mouth and getting his saliva in your mouth. Who came up with that one? If that were true, I would have been pregnant 100 times by the time I was 17.
It’s not like I want to encourage her to do these things, but I did not want her to be uneducated about it either. Kids are going to experiment whether you give them knowledge or not. If you think this is not true, then you are mistaken. Knowledge is power.
I want to empower my daughter to make her own choices for what she wants, not by lies being told to her or by pressure from others. Good heavens, I empathize with parents who are going through this too!
We keep going back to the books and talking. She also told me she is learning about “our bodies are changing” stuff at school. I applaud that “tree hugger” school she goes to for starting these conversations. It gets the conversation started at home with a bit of ease. Sorta.
I am not saying to address the “gory details”, but to speak as plainly as possible. I have also learned only to answer the questions she has asked. Do not elaborate, as that can be a slippery slope!? Something like Pandora’s Box. Trust me. I have done this more than once with extremely bad outcomes.
Just know that your kids know
when you are lying. Be as honest as you can. They ARE going to do things
without your knowledge, so try to keep the communication “open” with them.
Again, my daughter comes home from school with more questions since another kid had told her another mistruth. I do not blame the other kid as she was only repeating what had been said to her. We must stop lying to our children.
My daughter was told that babies come out of your belly button. What? So off we go down the slippery slope of correcting this idea. I simply explained the “anatomy” difference between boys and girls, an overview if you will. This was met with an “oh, gross”, from my kid.
It has been my experience that the books fall very short with helping my daughter understand “baby making” for her age level. The books also do not seem to address hormone changes and feelings that are new to them.
I have tried reading “parent books” that teach you how to talk to your kids about babies. It turns out, my daughter already knows more than the books! Duped again! Can’t a mom get a break?
My daughter did try to breach the subject with her dad once. He took the “parent template” approach, as well. He told her, “go ask your mother.” Thanks, honey, ‘precciate that.
Maybe I should send her to camp with Dr. Ruth? Probably too early for that, though.
I, myself, was an “ooppss” baby. For those of you not familiar with the term, that means that my mother had not planned to have a baby when she had me. Mom said that she was so busy being a “progressive woman” that she was not properly educated on the full process of having a kid. So, here I am. She also told me that boys and girls may talk about having babies, but that as the girl, “you are the one carrying the bullet for nine months.”
As of today, I will continue to stumble along my path to educate my daughter about where babies come from, hoping that I do not scar her for life. I am rarely at a loss for words, but just let that question come up and my brain goes blank!
If you are a parent going through the same situation, I feel your pain. It is never easy to explain things to kids on their level. My plan is to keep trying to share small pieces of “correct” information as we have our little talks. However, I am keeping the “stork story”, as a backup plan.