The birds and the bees

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The time had come.

I’ve talked to The Big Sis about body changes and puberty, and she knew that babies are made by combining the seed from the dad and the egg from the mom. But over the weekend in the car, she asked, out of the view and point blank: “So, how exactly are babies made, and do you just decide you want a baby and then it’s there?”

As we were all in the car together, I told her, “Good question. I’ll tell you about it later.”

Now, it would have been simple for me to pretend I forgot to address it later and hope it didn’t come up again. But I figured I should proceed with telling her about the nitty gritty while she was still eager to hear it from me. It would be a potentially uncomfortable conversation, yes, but I knew this talk would help lay the groundwork for whether she comes to talk to me about these things in the future as well. Being evasive would have only made her pull back.

So, later that night, before bedtime, I asked if she really wanted to know how babies were made. She did, and so I proceeded to tell her all about it, doing my best to explain some very complicated topics. She did declare by the end of it that she’s not going to have kids anymore, but overall I think the talk went very well. She did think it was gross (I assured her she’d likely change her mind when she was a little older), but she didn’t seem super embarrassed (nor did I), and she asked a lot of great questions — enough that sometimes it’d make me get a little sidetracked because there’s just so much of cover. In the few days since then, she’s also asked me a couple follow-up questions, so I really do hope that continues in the coming years.


Time to talk

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A couple weeks ago, The Big Sis and I were talking at bedtime, and somehow our discussion led to topics involving reproduction. I feel I’ve always done a good job in answering her questions honestly, specifically, and in an age-appropriate manner, but this time she asked exactly HOW the sperm (or seed, as we call it with her) gets to the egg. She then proposed curiously, “Do you swallow it?” I admit it: I crumbled in the moment. I said, “Something like that — we can talk about that some other time.” And then changed the subject. Mom talk fail!

Part of my fail was because it’s sometimes an embarrassing topic to tackle. But it’s also because there are a lot of other things to understand before getting to that part, so I figured it was time to find some books that tackle these very topics. At the recommendation of many friends, I found American Girl’s “The Care and Keeping of You” (the one for younger girls) at the library and brought it home last week. It starts out innocently enough, covering other health topics related to growing up, including braces, taking care of your face, and showering. After our first night reading it together, The Big Sis said, “Do you think we can buy this book? I might want to keep it for information later. And [The Little Sis] might like to read it later too.” I assured her that yes, we’d read it together first, and if she thought she might want a copy of her own, we could certainly buy her one. Each night she’s been eager to read this book with me, which is saying something because usually she prefers to read with The Husband instead of me.

A few nights ago we covered breast development, and now she’s super-excited to get a training bra (especially because one of her best friends has one). I hadn’t planned to do that this early, but I figure I should take advantage of her eagerness; I remember going out with my mom when I was in 6th grade or so, and I was just mortified to be doing it with her. I don’t want either of my girls to feel that way, so I should probably strike while the iron is hot.

I don’t believe this book gets into sperm-meets-egg topics, but it does cover periods, which isn’t a subject she was familiar with at all. After she got over her surprise about it, she had some good questions, and wanted to see the types of sanitary products they mention. I don’t have a period now (thanks, Mirena!), but I do still have a bathroom cabinet full of such products, so I opened each of them and showed her what they were like and how to use them. She asked to try them on, which I let her do with the various pantyliners and pads (not the tampons, though), and she cracked me up when she said, with a huge pad on, “Hrm, this is pretty comfortable!” Haha! I’m not going to sway her any differently; if that’s what she thinks, then I’ll let her continue thinking that! I figure no need to make it into a big deal, or something that she’ll dread.

We’re not quite finished with the book yet, but so far it’s been a good way to approach these topics that might otherwise not be addressed in a complete manner. My mom didn’t explain any of this stuff to me, and while obviously I figured it out, I want to make sure my girls know that I can be a good resource for this information, in addition to what they’ll learn from books, school, and their peers.

This ‘n that

Friday, May 24, 2013
I’m so incredibly behind on kid updates from the past couple of months, so I’ll just rattle off what I think of right now:

*The Big Sis (finally!) has her first loose tooth (and her second loose tooth). I don’t think they’re coming out anytime soon (the first one has been loose a couple weeks already), but there’s definitely some wiggle to them. It’s interesting — with nearly all of her (and The Little Sis’) milestones, I haven’t found them to be sad or even bittersweet. I tend to embrace the stage she’s at currently and welcome with open arms the new things to come. But for some reason, the tooth thing is getting to me, and I can’t quite pinpoint why. Maybe it’s because to lose the teeth she had from so early on really seems to be sealing the deal on ushering out babyhood. I don’t know.

*The Big Sis completed her spring MAP reading test and improved her score 9 points from her winter test. With a 186, this puts her at above-average reading level for 1st grade; in fact, she’s just 4 points away from being considered an average 2nd-grade reader. She absolutely loves reading — both being read to and also reading herself — and it’s so amazing to reflect on this school year and think about how far she’s come with just this one skill. But it’s an important one, and like all parents, I hope she continues to nurture this passion and ends up with a lifelong love of reading.

*Over the past month, The Little Sis’ communication has exploded. She has just started to say a few very basic sentences (“Mama, come!” for example), she knows way more words than I can count, and she is at the stage where she will parrot nearly anything you say to her, if you ask her to repeat it.

*The Little Sis has taken to calling The Big Sis “Sissy” now, as well as by her real name. However, she still calls the dog either “dog” or “dog-doh” but won’t repeat his actual name to us yet. (Confession: I’m going to miss the word “dog-doh.”)

*The Little Sis’ #1 current obsession: buckles! She insists on doing the chest clip of her car seat by herself, which was frustrating at first because she took so long to do it (and insisted on no assistance), but now she’s much better at it, so it doesn’t take 15 minutes just to leave the driveway. She also loves fastening the buckles on the booster seat. We can set her to doing that and she’ll seriously keep herself occupied for 15 or 20 minutes.

*I’ve discovered that The Little Sis loves to have her back patted at bedtime. I put her in the crib after stories and songs, and she lies on her side, then twists her arm around and taps her back and says, “One mo’?” I’m guessing they do this to her at daycare for nap, as it’s not something we’ve done with her since she was a few months old. I love indulging her when she insists, though. πŸ™‚

*The Little Sis is really starting to use her manners, offering a polite “thank you” when appropriate. And also sometimes when not appropriate. πŸ™‚

*There is probably nothing The Big Sis would rather do than play outside with her friends on our street. This is both awesome (yay for being active!) and hard to get used to, as it takes away from her time with us. It also leads to many battles, as she still hasn’t accepted that our rule is that she’s not allowed to go play outside after dinner even though apparently everyone else is allowed to (there’s not realistically enough time before bedtime, plus it’s impossible to bring her inside if she goes out again, plus it makes it harder for her to settle her body for bedtime).

*I know kindergarten graduation is rather pointless, as it’s not like they’re graduating to a different school or anything. (I know some people think junior high/middle school graduation is pointless too, but I actually can understand that one, as it’s a big transition to high school and usually involves physically changing schools.) Many schools around here seem to be doing a kindergarten graduation anyway, but ours doesn’t seem to be. I mean, that’s fine, but I just find it a little surprising, I guess. The last day of school is this coming Friday. We’ve almost survived the first year! Just 12 more to go!