Our family can make anything into a big event or a reason to celebrate. We turn the most mundane aspects of our daily routine into moments to look forward to, in hopes of creating fond childhood memories.
One such moment is our daily trip to take our 4-year-old to her Pre-K class. Every day, we drive out the back of our neighborhood onto a back street (to avoid the morning rush hour traffic through town). On our way, we pass a house that has a huge lot of land that fences in two small white donkeys.
And every day, we look forward to seeing those donkeys.
“Look! Look!..there are the donkeys!”
“Look! The donkeys are laying down. Did you know that Donkeys slept like that?”
Slow down the car: “Look look the donkeys are close to the fence…”
I think Lamar and I get more enjoyment out of seeing the donkeys than our 4-year-old.
And then one day, the unthinkable happened. One of the donkeys was chasing the other one. And he had this thick long object protruding from his groin. It looked like it could have literally touched the ground.
So, on this day. We drove up and I said: “Look at the donk….” and I stopped mid-sentence.
And Lamar said: “Gooooooo!”
And our sweet little daughter was trying to get the words out: ” Mommy…Mommy..what’s that..what’s that …” And by the time she said: “What’s that stick under the donkey.” I came to my senses, broke out of my trance, and put the pedal to the metal.
Needless to say, I was not prepared to have that conversation with my daughter on that day. So, I pretended like I did not see the stick. “What stick?” And dropped her off at school.
But the very next day, she and I were alone. And when we came upon the donkeys she asked: “Where’s the donkey’s stick? And, what was that stick?” She would not let up on the questions about the frickin’ stick. So I finally told her, it was not a stick. It was a penis.
I told Lamar about our conversation, and he about had a conniption. He wanted me to tell her it was a “wee-wee.” He did not want his sweet little baby to know the word “penis” yet.
I told him “penis” was not a bad word and that she was old enough to know the correct terms for body parts. I then went on to tell him the story of how our oldest son (who is Lamar’s stepson) came home from school one day and told my mom and me that he hurt his d–k at school. Our mouths dropped and we asked him to repeat his sentence because we could not believe our ears. He said: “I hurt my d–k on the playground.” He was about 5 or 6years old and he never heard that word at our home. Whoever told him that word forgot to tell him it was not appropriate to say. So he was casually using it with me, and my mom, and perhaps even the teacher that day.
Needless to say, I had to have a talk with him, too.
So, is our 4-year-old ready for sex education? My answer is not really…but she is old enough to know the correct terms for body parts.
Louanne Cole Weston Ph.D., over at Webmd.com, says:
“Parents often ask, “How old should a child be before we start talking about sex?” My answer always is: “Younger than you think.” Here’s why. If you talk about sexual matters from the beginning of a child’s use of language, there never needs to be the big ‘birds and bees talk.’ It’s just a series of small conversations spread out over many years. You, as the parent, become the obvious go-to person whenever there’s a question.
If you become an ‘askable’ parent, you will have offered your child an incredibly valuable gift.”
I totally agree with Dr. Weston. Which is why I am having conversations with our kids while they are young in order to keep the lines of communication open as they grow into teenagers.
When did you have this talk with your kids? Is 4 too young or old enough?
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