Anyone who knows me* knows that I’m a terrible liar. You’d think I went to Catholic school with the guilt trip I give myself for lying. And kids ask some seriously difficult questions. I’ve found it’s easier to just tell the truth than to try to make something up and stick to it. Also, I feel kind of bad misleading these little innocent girls knowing that someday they’ll figure out the truth and I’ll feel guilty that their little dreams are crushed. So it’s easier to just crush them now when they won’t remember it, right? Here are seven truths I’ve chosen to tell my kids.
- Where babies come from. Well, maybe not how they are made, but they know that babies grow in a mother’s uterus, although they still say “tummy” because it’s just easier to say! They know that babies get out through the vagina. We haven’t really gone into C-sections because I didn’t have one and explaining surgery seems a little gross.
- All about breasts. Around here they used to be called “nursers,” but now I insist they use the proper name. They know what they are used for – feeding a baby (and sometimes getting out of a speeding ticket. Just kidding).
- The proper names of private parts. We don’t have any cutesy names around here, just plain scientific terms. Have you ever heard an 18-month old say “penis?” I think it’s pretty hilarious, but I might be weird.
- That no means no and your body belongs to you. If my kids don’t want to hug someone, I will not be forcing them or making them feel guilty about it. If my husband or I are tickling or hugging one of them and they ask us to stop, we do. We want them to know that their directions regarding their bodies should be respected.
- That characters are really just people wearing costumes. I spoiled this one early on when the older one was scared somewhere. And now she knows. And tells everyone. This might even apply to Santa (we’ll see in December). Yikes.
- That we’re all a little different. My daughters know that men can marry men and women can marry women and if you don’t want to marry anyone at all that’s just fine too. We are all a little different and special in our own ways.
- That sometimes I have no idea what I’m talking about. If I don’t know the answer to something, I tell them. I don’t make anything up and I assure them we’ll try figure it out together. Unfortunately, this applies to magic, the tooth fairy, mermaids and unicorns. When they ask about one of these – like, Does a unicorn** really have a horn, I usually answer that I have no idea because I’ve never actually seen a unicorn, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t real.
*Exaggerating doesn’t count – I do a boat load of that.
**Did you know unicorns are the official national animal of Scotland? For real. Look it up!