One of things I didn’t understand until I had kids was how often I would have to think on my feet. You know you’re going to have to talk to your kids about important things like the birds and the bees at some point, but nothing can prepare you for WHEN these topics will come up. It’s not like you have it on your calendar with plenty of time to prepare in advance: “Tues. 6:30pm – tell R. where babies come from. Don’t forget age-appropriate diagram!” It’s more like this…
Me: “While we’re at Toys R Us, remind me to look for a baby present, OK? Daddy’s friend ‘Bob’ had a baby.”
My 5yo: “I thought only girls could have babies.”
Me: “Right. I mean, his WIFE had the baby. It was in her belly, but it’s his baby, too.”
Riley: “She ATE the baby?!”
Maybe he was trying to be funny, but it was a sharp reminder of how badly I’d botched a previous conversation on this topic. We were in the bathroom brushing our teeth, rushing to get out the door to school, when he started peppering me with questions.
Yes, you were inside Mommy’s tummy before you were born. Yes, you were alive in there. No, you couldn’t see out my belly button. Yes, you ate the same food I did … sort of. Yes, when you were ready to be born you came out.
“But HOW did I get out? WHERE did I come out?”
“Oh. Um, well… “ I’ve blocked out the exact details of that awkward conversation, but I know the words “hospital,” “down there,” and “no, I will not show you!” were spoken.
This story fills me with shame because I have friends who are much more on the ball than I am. One in particular who works in reproductive health has a 4yo daughter who’s more knowledgeable about female anatomy than most grown men. But I just wasn’t prepared to explain what a uterus was on the way to Toys R Us, OK?!
Don’t even get me started on the time my older son found some feminine hygiene products in the bathroom. By the horrified look on his face after my stammered explanation, I could tell I had scarred him for life. I bet he will avoid that aisle at Rite Aid from here on out. Sorry, future daughter-in-law.
Maybe I’m naïve, but don’t kids learn about this stuff in health class from experienced educators? Or at least on the school bus? I guess I better go cram for the next “talk” while I have the chance. You never know when it will come up again. Suggestions, anyone?