We encourage The Kidling to ask good, thoughtful questions and we do our best to answer them with age-appropriate candor. As a pre-reader, we also encourage her to sound out words.
I somehow neglected to see the potential for those two things combined to bite us in our asses.
The Kidling and I were at the local school’s playground one evening in early spring. We ran into a delightful third grade neighbor boy–a bona fide big kid–who invited her to join in a game with a classmate and him. My heart swelled at her joy at being included as well as with my own admiration of those fantastic boys’ parents who taught them to be so gracious to a pre-schooler.
Once my heart settled (seriously, Christine. Get it under control), I started chatting with the other parents. They were all lovely and amazing and I want to be their best friends forever. Like all playground conversations, the topic eventually turned to the question of how to talk to children about the more delicate parts of human reproduction.
What? That isn’t what your playground small talk typically covers?
As I was saying… one of the older, wiser moms suggested a great book, “It’s So Amazing.” The authors cover all aspects of human reproduction in a frank, non-threatening way. I knew I would forget if I didn’t act soon, so I picked it up the next time we were at the library. Even though we have covered a fair amount of the subject matter here at The House, The Kidling was fascinated by the book. She asked for a different chapter every night until the book was due. And yes, we did skip come chapters. She is only five.
We were on our way to one of Our Town’s far-too-many-per-capita frozen yogurt shops Saturday. The Kidling, being a good kidling, began to sound out words to figure out how they are spelled, when suddenly we heard:
“Sss. Buh. Urr. Mmm. Sss. Buh. Urr. Mmm. Sss. Buh. Urr. Mmm. Sssssssss. Buh. Buh. Buh. Buh. Urrrrrr. Urrrrrr. Mmmmmmm. Sperm. Ssssspeeeeerrrrrrmmm. Sperm. Sss. Sperm. Sss. Sss. Buh. Buh. Buh. Sperm. Ssssssssperm. Sss. Buh. Buh. Buh. Buh. Buh. Urm…”*
Yes, this went on and on (and on). No, no amount of telling her that the second letter is “P” did any good. And yes, she had moved on to another word by the time we got to the yogurt store.
It’s so amazing.
* I am religious about quote accuracy, so let me say that I cannot guarantee whether this is, in fact, the precise order in which The Kidling focused on the five sounds in the word “sperm.” But you get the idea.