Every parent knows that there’s an inordinate amount of time in the summer spent with the kids. Times to be treasured: pool time, family reunions, and outings to favorite places. And with those times, comes the hours and hours of time to converse with your kids.
With my six-year-old boy, our delightful conversations this past summer seemed to gravitate towards two subjects: death and privates, as in genitals. The death questions are in response to the increased time allowed playing video games. Not necessarily on their own screens, but on the screens of others on play dates or older cousins. They are starting to see more violence and it needs to be explained. On the sexual curiosity front, they want to know about body parts, boys’ and girls’, and when it’s ok to see someone else’s.
After our conversations, I did a little research. And, yes, it is normal to be curious about these subjects at this point in their lives (first grade and pre-k). Also, it is healthy to converse with them earlier and often about sex. Keep it simple, short, and age appropriate. Don’t get squirmy because kids will pick up on your nervousness. They don’t know to be nervous about sex at this age. Remember to be the adult and try your hardest not to laugh.
Here are some of the nuggets of wisdom that sprung from my mouth this summer. I can only pray that I’m answering these questions correctly in my matter-of-fact way.
#1. Me: Once someone dies, there is no do-over or restart like a video game. Death is final.
#2. “If you weren’t here, Daddy would let us use our Kindles more.” Thanks, dear son. After everything that I’ve done for you, the truth hurts: he would not only be fine with me dead, he’d be happy because he’d be allowed more Kindle time. Seriously, men and their priorities.
#3. On a lighter note, here are my lessons about private parts: boys and girls have different parts. In response to the question, “why does [my sister] have a front bum and a back bum?” We are sticking with those labels for now, which he developed himself. Why correct that very insightful terminology? They seem as good as any. As he ages, I will introduce the correct biological terms. More research needed as to when.
#4. “That’s why we wear clothes over our privates.” My response to “Mommy, your face looks better than your bum.” It (my bum) looked a whole lot better ten years ago, I wanted to shout, but I decided to be the mature one that day as I exited the bathroom.
#5. “I saw Jack’s privates at camp today,” he informed me proudly at dinner.
“Were you in the bathroom?”
“Then it’s OK if you accidentally saw someone else’s in the bathroom. You use your privates in the bathroom, but we don’t stare (or ask to see them or talk about them).”
#6. “You can’t see anyone else’s privates except for your sister’s,” he tells me while brushing his teeth totally naked. I don’t know what to do with that one. I shower them separately, but there’s obviously overlap in the bathroom usage. Please, please don’t recite that rule to any teacher, stranger, or friend.
#7. “These boxer shorts feel so good on my pee-pee.” We recently switched him to boxer-styled underpants and he’s been playing with it non-stop. Apparently, there is truth to the boxers being more testicle-friendly than the briefs, as testified to by my six-year-old.
#8. “Are you allowed to see Daddy’s bum, Mommy?” he asked. He’s very inclusive to all family members in his curiosity.
“But you and Daddy are not brother and sister.”
“Is it furry?”
“Would you like your Kindle?”
I’m officially locking the door on myself for all bathroom usage from now on.
Hope everyone has a great school year with less time to talk about privates over peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the pool.