A three-year old is like having a Curious George in your house. They want to see everything, know everything and do everything. Little nosy parkers they are. Every sentence they say starts with a WHY, HOW, WHEN and WHERE. You will get exhausted giving answers, but believe me, their tirade of questions does not end.
I live this every day. My daughter is at a stage where everything around her fascinates her. I am sure it fascinated her before too. But now she has got a voice (a persistent one too) to express her wonderment. At the moment, she is fascinated with babies. Any child of similar age or younger is a baby for her, while she is a big girl now.
I took it as a cue to explain to her a little about how the world works.
I told her, “Once you were a tiny baby and lived in my tummy.”
I am sure she couldn’t fathom ever doing that. But she asked me, “Then, how did I come out?”
“You loved being in my tummy. And you ate, slept and played there. And then you started growing bigger and bigger. Even mama’s tummy grew bigger and bigger. And then one day, you shouted from inside the tummy “Mama, I am big now. I want to come out.” So I went to the hospital and told the doctor to help you come out. The doctor took you out of my tummy.”
She is fascinated with this story and asks me to repeat it from time to time. Not only this, whenever she sees a woman with a big belly, she points at her and tells me “Mama, there’s a tiny baby inside that aunty’s tummy.”
I look at the woman and her belly. Sometimes, she’s right. There’s a baby inside. And sometimes, well, I just pray that the woman with her big belly didn’t overhear my daughter’s remark.
The story doesn’t end here. After having a heavy meal, she looks at her bloated tummy and points “Mama, look, I have a tiny baby inside my tummy.” And then sometimes, she decides she has two babies. One girl and one boy.
I say nothing, but smile.
“Mama, now you will take me to the hospital and then the doctor will bring the babies out?”
I say nothing, but think “If only it were that simple!”
She hasn’t asked me yet where the babies come from. But that day isn’t too far, I can feel it. But whenever it comes, I will be prepared. She needs to learn the facts, the sooner the better.
Tips on how to deal with sex talks with your small child:
- Never hesitate. Your child will catch your hesitation and discomfort. It will make her wonder if she asked something wrong.
- Never lie. Why should you? You did it, right? So what’s the point in hiding it. It’s how the whole world procreates.
- Tell her in an uncomplicated manner. Your child doesn’t need to know all the details. Anyway, she is too small to understand all of it. Tell her in a simple manner, “Papa and mama love each other, and so we decided to have a baby one day. And that’s how you came to us.”
- Upgrade that information with her growing understanding and maturity. Nowadays, children are sexually conscious at a very early age (at 6-7 years) and enter into puberty as early as 9 and 10 years. It’s better we teach them these things before they try to learn from unverified and dubious sources.
- If you are uncomfortable holding sex talks with your child, rope in a friend or a beloved aunt who is close to your child and can talk openly with her.
- Even schools hold regular sessions on sex education. Find out if your child’s school holds it.
My parents never had any kind of sex talks with me or my siblings. I never expected them to. But times have changed now. What my parents did, I don’t what to repeat with my daughter. I am a parent in my own right and want to raise my daughter as per my understanding, knowledge and beliefs. And sex talks hugely feature in them.
What about you? How do you deal with sex talks with your child?