It’s the day every parent knows is coming, but tries to avoid. It’s too soon you say and wonder when your little bundle of joy grew up into this inquisitive young person who just won’t let it go, their plaintive little voice asking, “Where do babies come from?”
Claire Clottey talks about how she dealt with the situation when she was confronted by her princess.
Do you remember the first time you were told about sex? Who broke it down for you, did they bring up the ‘birds and the bees’?
I’m sure many of us can relate to the early curiosity about reproduction. Disney’s ‘Dumbo’ painted such a pretty picture. How nice of the storks to bring me my baby sisters?! I can’t fathom how my mum fobbed me off, and how easily I must have digested her explanation of her pregnancy bump. Knowing my mum, she probably told me something about ‘God and miracles’ and I would have let it go, after all, who would have the audacity to question a response with God in it?
I knew the day would come when my own daughter questioned her creation so I’d prepared a golden line about ‘miracles and magic’ hoping that the day would come later rather than sooner. However, I was beaten to the punch #TheJoysOfCoParenting.
As my innocent five-year old princess stood patiently by my side waiting for me to purchase her baby chino and my extra strong Americano, her sweet little voice penetrated my ear drums.
“Mummy, I know how you made me”…
“Really, that’s nice”, I replied nonchalantly, thinking that my response would conclude her sentence. With my mind on my morning fix of coffee, I hadn’t realised that her statement was a combination of a question and clarification.
“My daddy put his willy in your ‘mimie’ and sprayed magic water on me and I grew into a baby and came out of you. Mummy do you remember doing that?”
As cool as a cucumber I replied “Really, who told you that?” #BuyingTime. “My daddy of course”. #NotEnoughTimeBought. At this point, it seemed like everyone in the coffee shop was looking at me with the same curiosity as if they too weren’t satisfied with the explanation that their parents or school had given them about the birds and the bees. With as much slickness and composure as I could muster, I looked down at my precious, and smiling, replied “You are so clever. You, were made out of Love. God is Love and HE placed you in my belly. God is really good at making miracles isn’t he?” #IfInDoubtAnswerAQuestionWithAQuestion. “Yes, God is really good with miracles, he makes wind, that blows pollen from flower to flower….”, her voice fades in my ears as I mentally plan my rant to my ex, her father who didn’t have the decency to tell me that he had given her ‘the talk’.
After my telephone tirade to her father, who apologised profusely whilst adding that he told her to keep the explanation ‘secret’ (of course I broke down that the word ‘secret’ will not exist in our daughters’ vocabulary as long as I’m alive), I calmed myself down and reflected on the issue that concerned me the most.
Images of my daughter surrounded by her school mates whilst she gave them a detailed lecture on ‘life’, little boys chasing girls in the playground attempting to spray them with ‘magic water’, a mob of angry parents waiting for me at the school gates, a formal meeting with teachers with a police officer present whilst they interviewed my daughter in the room next door with a social worker present “what other secrets do you and daddy have? My daughter feeling ashamed, guilty and loosing her confidence for knowing and sharing the truth”.
I later came back to reality. My daughter deserved the truth. So later that evening, I sat her down and #KeptItReal. “Mummy and daddy love you, you were made out of love and you are right, you do know how mummy, daddy and God made you. When you are an adult like mummy, you may be able to make a baby too. But before then, mummy and daddy would like you to enjoy learning, and working so that you can travel the world and share all that intelligence and wisdom with your own children so that they can be clever like you. And baby, other children may not know or understand how babies are made as well as you do. It is very important to let other children have special learning time with their own mummy’s and daddy’s like you do with your daddy and I. Let their parents surprise them with the story, can you do that?”… “Yes, mummy of course I don’t want to ruin the surprise for them.”
Of course, I had a quick follow up with her teacher to prepare them for the potential ‘playground revelation’ which fortunately hasn’t come.
So, here are my suggestions based on lessons learnt;
- Have the ‘stork talk’ as soon as your child is ready, you’ll know they’re ready when they bring it up!
- Be as honest as possible as this will limit further questions…for now.
- Appreciate your child’s intelligence. Take them to see the animated film ‘Storks’ which is brilliant (and currently out in the cinema).
- Finally, make sure you embrace the power you have to influence your child’s knowledge and understanding of the world, before anyone else does.
Image credits: www.123rf.com.