Friday, February 8, 2013

Birds, Bees and Baby Jesus

Tia at the mall after the ladies with curling irons recruited her.
One early December evening not so long ago, talk of Baby Jesus led to talk of sex. It started with something like; " how did Baby Jesus get in to Mary's stomach"?. Having spoken to hundreds of people over the last decade about sexual health through Reality Check; I knew when the day came for me to explain more in depth about reproductive workings I wouldn't skip a beat.  However, in this moment all I could do was clamor for words.

I continued that "Baby Jesus was put in Mary's tummy supernaturally- sort of like magic".
     "Was I put in your tummy like that"?, my daughter asked.
"Not exactly", I slowly uttered.
"So, Mommy and Daddy both have parts that fit together and can make a baby".
     "Oh, sort of like animals", she replied.
And that was the end of that conversation that night.

Just last week week we continued with this conservation. My daughter will be eight years-old next month and we are noticing signs of early puberty emerging. This is on the heels of a devastating loss for her. Her carnival fish of 40 months just died! It was heartbreaking for me as well because I was its main caretaker and fed it every morning and night. My sometimes-wise 15 year-old brother recommended we wait until Friday after school to tell her about "Guppy's" death (to avoid interfering with school). We checked into a hotel so she would have a nice experience to take her mind off of it- it really helped!

My daughter's first and only pet-Guppy (very missed)

That night; while relaxing in the jacuzzi, I continued with our aforementioned puberty discussion. I told her that she is starting to become a woman and when she is about twelve she will start to menstruate.
"What's that"? she asked expectedly.
"Every month your body, called your uterus will make a lining of blood to prepare for a baby, and if no baby grows the blood will come out your vagina (we always use proper anatomical terms with our kids). "It's not a bad thing when this happens."

The birds and bees (and Baby Jesus) are best if incorporated in a string of continual conversations. There is no need for a "sit-down" discussion-that can be really unnerving for both the listener and speaker. I will say- the car is a fantastic place to converse because you don't have that awkward eye contact.

Ongoing talks will definitely alleviate anxiety in your changing child , my daughter was so  excited to know that she is "becoming a woman" she spread the news to grandma at her next visit.