In several years time you will either read this back and laugh out loud or hide underneath a cushion in sheer embarrassment. If it is the later, I apologise but by then I will be a world famous writer and so you will forgive me because this will have helped to kick start my career.
Love Mummy x
Several years ago I helped run our youth group at church. We would gather about 30 odd (in both senses) teenagers on a Friday night to chill out, build friendships and talk about faith issues. One night I was given the job of doing the sex talk. Cringe. Now I’m not the most prudish creature on the planet but neither do I relish discussing bedroom antics with hormone ridden youngsters who probably spend every other minute thinking about The Act Of. Anyway, as with most things in life, my first step was to invest in a good book to guide me through. I bought ‘How to Talk to You Child Confidently About Sex’. It’s very good if you need a recommendation. I wasn’t planning on doing the ‘Insert A into Slot B’ type talk but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to know what people who actually owned these youngsters could have been saying to them. I won’t go into the details of the evening but suffice it to say that the newly employed Youth Pastor walked in right at the beginning and I spent the rest of the night feeling hideously embarrassed. To any youngsters who were there that night… sincere apologies…
The point of this story is to highlight the one thing which stuck with me from reading that book. It said to always answer children’s questions honestly, to speak normally about sex and body parts, and to use proper terminology at all times.
Well, we have now reached the age of questions with our own kids. If I’m honest, it’s here a little sooner than I would have liked, but hey ho, here we go….
How am I doing against the three pieces of advice?
Well, the honesty thing was a trial when my 5 year old son asked how the Daddy’s ‘seed’ got to the Mummy’s ‘egg’…. I debated throwing in the concept of magic but decided to try and explain the basic process in as few words as possible. Sadly my son is not one to shirk detail. My explanation obviously didn’t satisfy his need for complete understanding so I ended up having to answer…
‘How do the seeds get out?’ *cringe*
‘Isn’t a willy too wobbly to get the seeds to go in the right direction?’ *Uber cringe* and
”Does the Mummy like it when the Daddy puts the seeds in her?’ *Dear God, please let me die*.
Let’s just say I was as honest as I could be whilst also accepting that we may need to revisit some of those questions if he’s ever going to have a healthy sex life…
Secondly, speaking normally. Well I think we’ve already established that’s not quite the case. But I try. I try to be OK when they point at you in the shower. ‘Yes, dear. That is Mummy’s….. (fill in the blanks as needed)’. I try not to be embarrassed when my little girl asks if she can have boobies for Christmas when we’re in Tesco, I hope I come across as mildly ‘normal’ when I have to answer questions about who has which appendage… Apologies to anyone in my band, my friends and even some colleagues – it may well be that at some point I had to answer the question of whether you have a willy or boobies. I’m fairly sure I did no-one a dis-service.
Finally, the terminology. This is where I fail. I will never be ok saying the V word in public… in our house it will always be girly-bits. My children have never heard the term penis and neither will they on my watch – ‘willy’ serves us fine thank you very much. And boobies are, and always will be, boobies. There’s something about the correct terminology that just makes me squirm when talking to a 4 year old. Especially in Tesco.
I suppose the questions will only continue from here on in, though the minimal answers they have been given seem to have satisfied my children for the time being. They know just about how they got in and out of my stomach. They know they have different bits from each other. They understand that boobies are not an appropriate item for your list to Santa. We’re vaguely on track.
My commitment to the future is to do my best not to blush, to try to stick to those three principles and, within age appropriate boundaries, to be honest. I don’t like lying to my babies. Last week a beautiful girl I know told me her Mum was her best friend, that they talked about everything. For this purpose I am willing to bite back the embarrassment, even in the supermarket, in order to try and cultivate a relationship where my kids want to talk to me about this stuff. I hope they won’t be embarrassed coming to me about anything to do with their bodies or sex, I hope I won’t be embarrassed either. I hope they will learn that they can trust me because I was always as honest with them as I could be.
For now, in the interests of investing in our future relationship, I’m going to have to just get comfortable discussing where babies come from in the checkout queue.
God bless Tesco.