Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In the trenches

I've been back and forth for a couple of weeks now trying to decide if I am going to post about a recent parenting milestone in our family. And I've decided to absolutely write and let the world wide web in on all the fun. Part of the reason I blog is to share my parenting journey, the good, the bad, and the humorous, and all the real stuff that happens down here in the trenches.

I don't think Bubba will hate me. Rather, I think he will, one day, thank day, faaar into the future, when he has a precious, pure, innocent, curious 8 year old of his very own.

Driving in the van, after school, running a few errands:

"Mom, I have a question."


"Why is Jaime Lynn Spears being punished for getting pregnant? It's not her fault she's pregnant. She can't control when God decides to put a baby in her tummy."

(crickets chirping)
(Realization that my sweet boy still believes what we told him when he was 3 and I was prego with the twins - Sweetie, God put the babies in my tummy.)

"Well, yes, even though God makes the miracle happen when a baby gets inside a woman's tummy, she still had control over when it happened." (crosses fingers and hopes he drops it there)

"How can she control God? I thought God was always the one that makes the decisions."

"Well, yes, God is always the one in control, but Jaime Lynn Spears still had to make some choices and she made bad ones."

"What kind of bad choices?"

"Well, for a woman to get pregnant, her body has to do some special things with a man's body." (Quickly exits the car to unload Good Will donations while praying that he JUST DROPS IT ALREADY!

Back inside the car. "Mom? What kinds of special things?"

(pause) (gathering thoughts)
"Well, the kinds of things that only adults should do, and only when they are married. And Jaime Lynn Spears wasn't an adult or married. That's why she's getting punished. I tell you what, when Daddy gets home and we put the girls to bed, if you still want to talk more about it, we will, OK?"

"OK. Hey Mom?"


"How about some NBA trivia questions?"

"That sounds great."

And so that is how it came to pass that Honey and I sat down in the living room with Bubba and explained the birds and the bees. All of it. All. Of. It.

It was a bit ironic though because for several years Honey worked alongside a preacher with a young family. And their policy was always that within weeks of their children's 8 year old birthdays they carved out a special time and explained to them about the facts of life. Every. Last. Thing. At 8 years old. From our position waaay back in the baby years, we used to laugh and say things like "Well, Kid#3 turned 8 yesterday. I bet I can guess what Dad and Mom are doing this weekend! HA, HA, HA!"

Now that we're on the other side of our first "Birds and the Bees" talk, there are a few things I want the parents floating around out there in cyberspace to know.

First, we will most definitely be looking for opportunities to have the same conversation with the girls at an equally young age. My goal is between 7 and 9 years old. Our conversation with Bubba was not awkward or embarrassing, and I believe it is because we followed the lead of our son and told him when he was ready, when he was curious, when he was asking the questions. The alternative would have been to hide our heads in the sand and live in denial until he turned 16 and was getting ready for his first date. Stumbling through an awkward crash course at that age would have been mortifying for him and us.

Secondly, we went in to this conversation with the agreement that we would let his questions guide us. We would share openly, honestly, and matter-of-factly as long as he still had questions. I think we can all agree that it is better to know all of the truth than half of the truth with your imagination filling in the rest. And now we know that he has the right information. He knows the best way, the truth, the way God created it to be.

Lastly, now Bubba knows that he really can ask us anything. I want to continue to prove to him that we can be trusted, that we'll tell him the truth, and that he'll never be in trouble or made fun of for asking questions. I want him to always be able to come to one of us with his hopes, dreams, questions, doubts, and fears.

Now just to be clear, we didn't really go in to purity, and abstinence, and all the puberty stuff. We'll save that discussion for a few years. We just told him that it was a special gift that God gave to adults that were married to each other.

We also talked about the fact that none of this was appropriate for him and his friends to be discussing. That it wasn't showing respect for God, or girls, or himself to laugh, joke, or tell stories about any of it. If he ever thought of any other questions, he could come to us and we'd answer them the best we could.

And, just to be good citizens, we also shared with the parents of his very closest friends that he knew all about it. We trusted him to be respectful and not try to impress them by filling them in, but just in case...

So there you have it. Give birth - check. Nurse - check. Potty train - check. Immunizations - check. First day of school - check. First visit from the tooth fairy - check. Birds and the Bees - check.


Misty said...

i both love and admire the way you handled it... I think about this (which we will be heading to in the near future I am sure) and how to handle it...

Larissa said...

I wish there was a comment section right after when Bubba asked you. I was laughing, but only a nervous laugh...Oh man, I am not ready for that. But I agree, you guys did fantastic and I will definately be taking some pointers from y'all. Everything down to the part about not talking and joking about it with friends. I think that is so good to add in there, b/c that truly is respecting God. I guess ready or not though, it's going to happen before we all know it!!!

javamamma said...

I think you guys have great wisdom. Let your kids guide you - be honest - let them know they can ask you anything. Very good!

javamamma said...

Oh, and don't freak out! :)

Cindy said...

Great job! :) Congrats.

We've done it with two of our girls. I say "we," but it was ME. :) Scott touched base later and told them he knew we'd talked and did they have any questions, etc. I think Cassie was 9 and Shelby was 8. Or maybe 9. And you're right; it is an excellent age. Their hormones don't get it the way; they are matter of fact and trust you.

There is a GREAT book series that I used and will continue to use as they get older. By Stan and Brenna Jones; are you familiar with it? They have different ones for different ages.

realitymomma said...

way to handle the situation, mom. as syd is approaching that age, i know our time is coming. it is good to know, it can go over well and thanks for the tidbit. kirk and i freaked out when syd started asking about calories. one of her friends (1st graders) doesn't drink milk b/c it has too many calories! birds and the bees? scares me!

The Binkley Family said...

We recently had to tackle this issue when we got a dog and took him to be fixed. There had been progressive questions for several years, and finally there we were with THE questions. It might have been a little young, but I was not going to just lie. We had a very similar discussion as you guys did, and we also thought it went well.

I was SOOO glad that we have always had a very open relationship with Zach and hope that it is still that way.

The Binkley Family said...

oops...I mistyped. I meant "I hope that it stays that way."

SJ said...

Good for you! Sounds like you handled it wonderfully. (Although I was falling out of my chair reading your conversation!)

I got some questions from the girls when I was prego with Jake...but they didnt ask about the "whole" story.

We've (meaning...I've) had the puberty talk with Mackenzie already! Yikes!

Shelly said...

Aaa! Thanks for the heads up! I thought we had a while before that question! SweetBoy hasn't been too curious, but I guess it is just around the corner! My SweetDoll asks questions that I just have to say, "You're not ready for that, but when you are, I'll tell you." At 4 though, I'm just not ready to go there. Once again, thanks for blazing the trail for me! You made some wise choices that I will try to remember.

Mrs. Brownstone @ XBOX Wife said...

Love the conversation replay.

And you are one brave mama! Thanks for sharing your story!

Laci said...

OOh man, I agree with Larissa and that there should be a comment section right after his first question. And I laughed out loud about the NBA trivia questions.. What a great transistion! He's growing up so fast! Thanks for sharing, it was so insightful. :0)

elena jane said...

sounds much more organised that my talks with the boys....well done :-)

Larissa said...

i just want to let you know that I thought of you last night. Madi comes in the living room and says, "mommy kyle accidentally got pregnant." I told her that he couldn't b/c he was a boy, which then opened up a whole can of worms that I wasn't expecting. like, "where do babies come from, how do they get there..." and such...I thought you said 8 years old, right???