The facts of life… preschool version

I always considered myself lucky that Connor was so young when I was pregnant with his brothers. He understood that they were growing in my tummy because that is what we told him. He would kiss my belly every single day so he could give his brothers kisses. And he knew eventually there would be real babies to hold and play with. But he never questioned the why’s or how’s of getting them here. Until today…

Of course all of my boys know that they grew in my belly, we have even talked about how Benjamin and Alexander got to grow in there at the same time, something very special. So today as we were driving home from preschool, Alex randomly announced that he used to grow in my belly. And then Connor asked if the doctor had to cut them out of me, how did they all come out? And I suddenly had no idea what to say…

I tell my children the truth, always. I don’t dumb things down, I explain them carefully in terms that they will understand. They are incredibly smart, they all retain information wonderfully. I have always told myself that if I want to continue to nurture their growing minds, I cannot be afraid to talk about “big people” topics with them, even if I have to find creative metaphors to help them understand big concepts. And it has always served us well in this lesson we call life.

So now what? I never had a C-section, so no, nobody was cut out of my belly. But how do you appropriately broach the subjects of female anatomy and childbirth with a 4 year old and two 2 year olds in the car, all while still trying to concentrate on safe driving???

Fortunately, one of those life lessons we have been open and honest about since the beginning are the basic, physical differences between boys and girls. More often than not, the kids are playing in the bathroom while one of us showers, or they barge into the bathroom without a care, so they have seen what makes Mommy and Daddy different. We don’t make a big deal about it, it is what it is.

So I started there, in my little impromptu, taken completely off guard, chat. I reminded Connor that he knows that girls and boys are different, and told him that babies come out from that area. But in all honesty, I failed. I was distracted by driving, by not having an answer prepared, by not wanting to take the chance of saying something that could scar my children for life… I floundered. I didn’t really know how best to approach the subject, and I didn’t have the time to collect my thoughts. Not a proud teaching moment by any standard.

I was quite literally saved by the bell, or rather the car transporter truck. Connor spotted it, shouted out, and suddenly we had a distraction I so desperately needed. “Yup honey, good eyes, that is a big car transporter, awesome!!” Subject changed successfully…. thankfully.

This could have been an awesome learning moment for Connor. Instead, it became an important learning moment for me. It’s never too early to start thinking about those conversations that you think won’t happen for several more years. Because they just might happen tomorrow. I need to be ready for it, so I can be sure to give my boys the right answer, the honest answer, the age-appropriate but thorough answer. They are unbelievably smart. They can handle it. And I would much rather have that door be open, so that they know they can always come to us with those kinds of questions, and never be turned away.


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