I had to endure a very traumatic event this weekend. All parents fear it. Dad’s dread it. I was hoping the day would never come. But, alas, it finally arrived. Amy (if your not familiar with my nicknames for family and friends, see the Cast link on the menu, and try to keep up!) finally asked the right questions, which lead to the dreaded talk. I am still shaking.
First and foremost, you all know that Amy is my one and only, and I have no backups. So I am a bit over protective (look at previous post), and have been very persistent in keeping her naive to some of the oddities and realities that come along with the discovery of sex, gender roles, and all the damage that puberty does to the human teenager. She doesn’t watch movies that have any kind of sex references to them, we avoid those “not so fresh feeling” commercials, and when the general question of “how did the baby get in there” has arisen, we always tell her “we will tell you later” or revert to immaculate conception myths. She knows I put her in her mommy’s tummy, but has no concept of how, and we are perfectly happy with that. After all, I thought kissing is how my mom got pregnant with me until I was 12.
She spent most of the summer with her cousins. Her older cousin, who is now 13, somehow managed to blossom from the cute little rambunctious tom boy into a young woman in the matter of less than a year since we last saw them. My jaw almost dropped when she walked in and looked 19 years old! Her younger sister is already on the cusp on blossoming, and we knew that during the time they were going to be hanging out over the summer, someone what gonna notice something, and questions would be asked. We just hoped that we would have another year before having to answer. Sadly, that was not to be the case.
We went to visit them and their grandmothers house, and decided to take the girls swimming. Her older cousin said that she would be staying behind. When Amy asked why, all she said was that she couldn’t go swimming today. All the way to the pool, Amy asked again and again why her cousin couldn’t go swimming with them, and we kept saying that we would tell her later. Luckily, no more questions.
But this weekend, she marched me and Connie into Connie’s room, sat us on the bed, and said (and I quote)
CRAP! There was no getting out of it this time. (No, she wasn’t wearing combat boots with matching oven mitts….just go with it!)
Well, I figured, I am a teacher. Granted, I teach adults, but this little inquisitive creature in front of me couldn’t be all that different. But, nonetheless, I am a teacher, and I could teach anything! I would just have to use not so technical terms and lots of visual aids. So I cranked up the Internet, Google imaged several cross section of that mysterious female anatomy, considered throwing together a nice PowerPoint, and started my lecture. (Connie helped, of course).
I explained that as boys and girls grow older, their bodies change. (Luckily, I didn’t have to say more about boy parts or boy changes at this point…she was perfectly happy to hear about her own expected changes and leave it at that). I explained that those changes included getting taller, boobs growing, and hair sprouting up in all sorts of weird places, along with all sorts of hormonal responses. I told her she would probably turn into this creature that was torture to live with and she would hate her parents. She promised she wouldn’t (I recorded the statement on my phone to play for her when she turns into an evil teenager). She listened to me calmly and patiently. I explained that one of the changes that a woman has is that she starts having periods every month, and thus was the reason that her cousin couldn’t go swimming, because it was her time of the month for a period. Of course, my little information sponge wanted to know all the details about what a period was. Sigh. Onto the next slide.
Up comes the cross section of the internals of female anatomy. At this point, I began getting a bit uncomfortable, but trudged on. After explaining that there were actually three “holes” on a woman in “that special area” and their general purposes (yes I was using 9 year old appropriate words), we moved into discussing what was at the top end of the “middle” hole. This is where the pictures came in. We showed her the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, and the uterus. She asked where hers was. Again with another diagram. She wanted to know where mine was. I told her boys don’t have them because boys don’t have babies – married women do. So far, so good. No questions I couldn’t handle so far.
And she actually seemed to be okay with the discussion thus far, and at first, she seemed to be okay with this point in the conversation, and we couldn’t stop here. I figured I had gotten off lightly, and I had placated her for at least a little while and I wouldn’t have to go into any more detail.
Then I hear
So we explained that every month, an egg leaves the ovaries for a trip down the tubes into the uterus. She crinkled her nose. In preparation for the arrival, the uterus walls get thick with blood. Of course, she asked why there needs to be blood for the egg. And her mom chimed in at this point and said “In case of fertilization.” Then it hit her what she had said. The room got so quiet that we could hear a pin drop! Holy cow, what if she ask how fertilization happens! Were we ready for that? Could she handle the how babies are made talk? Could I handle the how babies are made talk? I don’t think I took a breath for like an hour, but in reality, it was only 45 seconds while I watched the gears in her head turning…and finally, she said
(Once again, ignore my morphing child! I’m doin this on the fly). Exhale, daddy, breath. So I jump ahead to avoid any more thinking on the potential “fertilization” questions. So I said, if the magic fertilization doesn’t happen, then there is no need for all that blood built up in the uterus, so it has to leave the body.
She thought for awhile, crinkled her nose, and asked where the blood goes. Her mom took over and said that was what the period is…the blood leaving the body through that middle hole, called the vagina. We then spent the next 15 minutes goin over all that female related stuff that is on the special aisle at the grocery aisle, and even showed her how to put one on, just in case, and when it would probably happen to her, and so on. And because her cousin had to wear one of those things, then she couldn’t go swimming.
15 seconds of silence.
We did spend a little more time explaining to her that she was going to hear stuff from her friends at school, and from her cousins, and so on, and whatever she heard, it was perfectly okay to come ask one of us for verification. Of course, we told her that NO ONE was allowed to see or touch her special areas (but, she already knew that). And finally, when stuff does start happening (gods forbid), then she could count on us to be there to help her through it. I will be hyperventilating the whole way during that time, but I’ll do it. Its my job after all.
She said thanks, skipped out of the room, and told her cousins that she wanted to go climbing trees. My little tom boy is still here. Whew. She hasn’t grown up and left yet.
So I survived the talk, part one. I am seriously dreading the talk part two, when we go into detail about the magical fertilization stage, and I thank the gods that she didn’t feel the need to ask. Maybe my child just recognized that I was already on edge about this part, and decided to hold her questions until later…probably when she wants something and uses that want to bribe me to not have to tell her part two. I don’t know what I will do when that does comes, but I think I will start preparing my PowerPoint presentation now! Then after that, I gotta start worrying about when the boys start sniffing around. But I already have the place picked out to hide the bodies. That part will be easy!
Love you, FIPWWW!
(P.S. I borrowed several images from random places on the Internet for this post…if you want me to remove them, just let me know, and I will find someone else who wants to show off their work for free.)
Comments to original post
Josh N Cheri Rodriguez · Works at Oliver W Holmes High School
I love that she was so curious about SCIENCE! j/k Dude more power to you for having the talk. My plan is to keep my little girl in diapers so she never has to wonder why she cant go swimming. I wonder if huggies makes swim diapers for teenagers?
- Dwayne Isbell · Registrar at ITT Technical Institute, East Campus
Why not...they make them for adults! That's a GREAT IDEA...too bad I didn't think of it until you mentioned it...she already know swimming. I'll think of something else! :D
Oh, the humanity! I had a class in school, and got the video about the excitement and going for ice cream to celebrate...Great job explaining!
Bravo! You did an awesome job. I wish they had PowerPoint when I was her age...it would have made things so much easier. I just got the "special" video in school.