Sunday, May 3, 2009

'I wonder how God puts the baby inside,' she said

Thursday I talked Brielle into snagging a Del Taco strawberry shake to share. (This delicacy beats anything Starbucks sells and for well under three bucks.)

It didn't take excessive persuasion. But healthy girl that she is, she was helping me justify the purchase as we pulled out of the drive-through.

"Daddy, this strawberry shake is good for you--a little bit good for you."

"Well, yeah, it does have some good things in it, like protein, and calcium, and a little bit of vitamin C and fiber from the strawberries." (OK, so it is a VERY little bit of these latter--but part of the beauty of this shake truly is how many real frozen strawberries they blend in. You really must try one.)

"I know," she said.

She does, too. We often talk nutrients--and lack thereof.

"But it also has a lot of---"

"Sugar," Brielle finished my hackneyed critique for me. "Yeah." A wistful sigh.

"It has a lot of fat too," said I.

"A lot of people like to be skinny," mused Brielle.

A brief fear that our nutritional conversations had begun warping her body image poked its nose into my chest. "Yeah, they do, Brielle." I clung to matter-of-fact-ness.

She took the topic elsewhere, mercifully. "Pregnant ladies are fat and skinny."

"Verdad, niñita."

"They're skinny on top and they're fat in the middle. Because they have a baby inside their tummy."

I breathed a couple gentle laughs.

"I wonder how God puts the baby inside their tummy." (So much for merciful topic changes.)

"You wonder what?" I asked, feeling suddenly desperate.

"I know God puts the baby in their tummy, but I wonder how He does that."

I considered going there, but decided quickly that I lacked the time and preparation to do so competently. (OK, and I lacked the guts too. But honestly, if holding a cell phone to one's ear is illegal while driving, shouldn't having "the talk" with a 5-year-old be too?)

"That's pretty crazy, huh? We'll have to go to the library and get a book about that."


So...any great book ideas, dear friends? Seriously.


toni said...

oh seriously, 'where did i come from,' by peter mayle.
i have a copy if you want to borrow it.

haynesga said...

We bought a series called God's Design for Sex. It is four books that talk about it age appropriately. There is a book for 3 to 5 year olds, 5-8 year olds, 8 to 11 year olds, and 11 to 14 year olds. The authors are Stan and Brenna Jones. The series actually won The Christian Book Award. You should check them out.
Miss you guys already!

MoziEsmé said...

I'll have to remember that delay tactic for all the hard questions! I haven't needed it yet - so far Esme is telling us how things are rather than asking questions. I'll be checking out the previous commentor recommendations in any event.

Michael J. Bennie said...

My cousin, Susan, commented via email. I appreciated her response so much that I asked her for permission to post most of it here (part 1):
"Personally I think we as parents tend to stress over it a lot more than we need to, especially our first time around. At least that's what I remember from my own experience. :) I agree it is so important and relevant to give them a healthy view of something the world continually tries to trash, something beautiful God created for us, but is slammed against from every direction till it's quite difficult to get back to the truth as God created it.

I found a series of books - different ones for different ages - at a Christian bookstore years ago and have found these to be helpful. They are called, Learning About Sex, (a series for the Christian Family, five books). The one I am looking at just now is entitled, How You Are Changing by Jane Graver for 8-11 year olds and parents. Initially we read these together. By teen age I've purchased them and let the kids read on their own always suggesting that we discuss any questions they have, etc. Have found that even at 9 & 10 years old, they like to read them on their own as well as read them together. I like having books as a back up for things we talk about. Then they can look at them later or ask questions they might be hesitant to, cuz they see a picture, etc. I know we found one the girls liked at the ABC years ago that was designed for toddler/ preschool age about Who you are, How long I loved you, Before you were a speck in, God loved you even before you were that speck, that fetus, etc. I wish I could remember the name - the pictures were nice & showed egg developing, growing in uterus, etc.. One thing I've found through the years and heard from other parents is that we sometimes feel we need to give kids everything all at once, all the details, when in reality, just answering specific questions in simple terms is all they want or need, especially while quite young. Basic like God helping an egg from mom & sperm from dad to grow in mom's uterus into a baby. One person told me their mom who was a nurse told them all the nitty gritty details when they could barely talk and it was way too much and way beyond what they could comprehend. They wished it hadn't been done that way...Of course some kids want details and then you have to share those too in terms they understand. I think part of all of this is how we relate to sexual issues with them as they are growing up from infancy. God created boys this ways, girls that way, etc... and not something dirty, etc. In this day and age, safety from predators is such an issue as well. It's too bad to have to tell our kids this stuff early on but no way around that. We had several books about private parts, how to say No, careful with Strangers who could actually be people you know, etc.. So arming kids with information to help them make good decisions is very helpful, especially by the time they are away from home in other environments and not where you can be with them all the time. We've been in churches where problems have come up or a known predator attended, keeping us on the alert for certain - with good reason." (to be continued)

Michael J. Bennie said...

(Susan's comment continued) My cousin, Susan, commented via email. I appreciated her response so much that I asked her for permission to post part of it here (part 2):

"One book I read with my girls in the last year or so was awesome. It's a bit beyond your girls - but not too many years (8 & 9 year olds OK I think). You might want to keep it in mind if you haven't already seen it, Preparing your Daughter for Every Woman's Battle by Shannon Etheridge. It's a two part book, one part for parents and the other to be read to your daughter(s). Addressed all sorts of sexual issues in a positive Christian perspective and brought up so many questions from both my girls. I wished I'd had it to read to them several years earlier. My reading it opened them up to sharing lots of things they were afraid to talk about before and we had the neatest conversations. I had earlier given our son the Every Young Man's Battle and know there is a counterpart for teen girls. This one was specific to young school age girls and preteens though. Oh yes, there are some videos that show life growing in utero that might be interesting to your kids too. I taught A & P at the local college and my kids always wanted to watch the videos I showed my students. That proved helpful down the road too, though many things didn't connect with them or were way above their heads. :)"