It’s What Mamas Have to Say Monday! Each Monday, our panel of mommy bloggers weighs in on wacky questions that we – or you – think up. Have a question you want our panel to answer? e-mail it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll notify you if your question is selected!
Here’s what mamas are saying today!
Question: Have your kids asked you about the birds and the bees yet? If so, how did you handle it? If not, how and when do you imagine you will take on this challenge?
My oldest daughter just turned eight and at her check-up our pediatrician said girls are getting their periods so much earlier now and you really need to prepare them for it at eight. Eight?!? I really, really hope she does not get her period for several more years, but I did sit down and talk to her about periods and how your body changes, etc. She already knew most of it (I’ve had to explain that the box of tampons in my bathroom is not for her to unwrap and use as “fishing poles” and that the pads are not for sticking to our walls), but the sex talk is totally different.
I always heard that you wait until they ask you questions, but she hasn’t asked any questions. She is pretty happy with the knowledge that babies grow in your tummy after you get married. On the one hand, this child sat next to me during all of my pregnancy check-ups and the ultrasounds of her sister and she knows a lot, but she still thinks that the big thing about getting married is that you kiss.
I’m waiting on this one. As long as possible.
Sarah Knight is co-founder of this site and the mother of two girls who scream when they see their parents kiss. They don’t know the half of it. You can follow her on Twitter at @sarahsknight.
I’ll confess…I came up with this question. I did it, because my daughter recently asked me how the baby got into my neighbor’s tummy. My daughter is six, so I didn’t want to get into any more specifics than necessary. Can you just picture her next playdate? “My mommy said…”
Right, so I did what any self-respecting parent would do – I panicked. I read somewhere (clearly, I should have taken notes) that when it comes to tough questions, including those about sex, you give them only the truth, and you start out as vague as you can. The theory was that their attention span will only hold out for as much as they are ready to handle. I’m not sure I buy into that, but I will tell you that in that moment, my brain latched onto the “keep it as vague as possible at the outset” advice, and I ran with it. It went a little something like this: “Um…well…you see, honey…when two people are married…and they love each other (Look, I get the realities of life, people, but my baby is six years old, and I need to hold onto some illusions here)…their love makes the baby.”
I’ll pause for a second while you wipe up the coffee you just shot out of your nose. Yes, I did say that. And true to form, my clever little inquisitor wouldn’t be deterred. “But HOW, mommy?” Thankfully, this is where that thing I read really held up. I don’t remember what happened – maybe a big bird flew by, or maybe it started raining, or whatever, but she was distracted by something and forgot all about it. But I know she will be back, and I know that next time I need a better answer. Because “God gave us you,” and “we just wanted you so much,” aren’t cutting it anymore.
So bring on the advice, because I need it!
*Shannon Hembree is the co-founder of Mamas Against Drama. She is the mom of a soon-to-be First Grader and twin toddlers. You can follow her on twitter @shannon1hembree.
When I was pregnant my three year old became obsessed with babies. She would constantly walk around with things “in her tummy” tucked underneath her shirt holding her back complaining about how sore it was. It didn’t really occur to her to ask the specifics about procreation (thank goodness because I am not ready to have that discussion yet). After the arrival of my baby, Lena informed everyone that “God gave us a gift in mommy’s tummy and then he opened up mommy’s zipper (I had a C-section) and took out our new baby! ” I decided that was a perfect three year old description of the event and have left the actual specifics to be revisited at a later date when I’m mature enough to have that conversation.
*Tracy Winslow is married to a ninja and has two ninjettes. When she’s not practicing ancient mind bending techniques, she can be found tee totaling chardonnay out of a sippy cup. Give into her cerebral manipulation and read her blog: www.momaical.com/. Tracy can be followed on FB and Twitter @Momaical. C’mon…you know you wanna….it’ll make you feel good…give in to the mind control…
((I cannot even wrap my brain around this at 3.5yrs/21 months/21 months)) I think I get a reprieve for a few more years
*Farrah finds sporadic moments to jot down her adventures at The Three Under. Her 3.5 year old and 21 month old twins are all boys. Someday she will own nice furniture again. Catch up with what she’s dealing with on Twitter as @momofthreeunder and Facebook.
Aaaargh. Can I be honest? I don’t want to deal with this. Molly recently asked how the baby got into her friend’s mommy’s tommy. I told her she ate it.
*Wendy writes truthfully about life in New York City with twins plus one at Mama One to Three. She includes many references to wine and coffee. Find her using bad judgment and even worse language on Twitter, @mamaonetothree, and Facebook.
Mine haven’t asked yet. Not really. Not if you don’t count the last time we flew together, when the sorority girls on the row behind us spent the flight discussing who was and was not “doin’ it” with their boyfriends. When the kids asked me what “doin’ it” meant, I have to admit — I choked. I said it meant reading.
But if they don’t ask for real soon, we’re going to have to bring it up. They’re getting older, and at some point, they have to know — at the very least, so they’re clued in when some kid at school gives them some warped version of the facts. Better to have the real story.
Luckily, if your children were created with the assistance of science and/or delivered by scheduled c-section, the story can be relatively clinical. Technically, it wouldn’t be lying to say something like, “You were planted in my uterus by a doctor with a tiny shovel, just like planting a flower. And when it was time for you to hatch, the doctor just opened a door in my belly and then sewed it back up. Dad was in the other room.” Mixed metaphors, but gets the basic logistics across.
Now, when they ask how it works in other families, I’m just going to let you girls answer.
ML is a freelance writer and editor whose work appears in print and online regularly, almost always under other people’s names. She is also the creator and author of the humor column, I Miss You When I Blink. Find it on Twitter (@wheniblink) and Facebook.
I consider myself lucky that my 6 1/2 year old and 3 1/2 year old don’t need any more of an explanation that “babies come from mommies’ tummies.” It hasn’t occurred to either to ask HOW they get in those tummies. They have asked about their whereabouts before they were born OR in my tummy. I am unsure of how to explain that they simply didn’t exist. They have surmised, mostly on their own but with some encouragement from my husband and me, that they were waiting with God until He was ready to send them to us. I have also learned through these conversations that neither of them has any concept of time.
As for how I will handle the discussion someday, I have no idea. I’ll probably say, “Hold on, honey. I have to go the bathroom.” And I will go to the bathroom — with my smart phone, on which I will Google an age appropriate birds and the bees essay or blog post. Then I will quickly attempt to memorize the highlights and repeat them to my kid.
*Brooke Bernard is a mother of two and a freelance editor who blogs here at Mamas Against Drama almost every Wednesday. She can be found trying to tweet @BrookeBBlogs.
That’s all the mamas have to say this week. Check back next Monday for another wacky (and yet profound and insightful…) round of answers from the mamas!