Unprepared Parenting Moments
When I was young, I thought that parents knew what they were doing. I thought that parents pulled from a vast store of knowledge about every situation. I firmly believed that they were never surprised by anything and certainly never had to resort to adlibbing.
Oh, how naïve I was.
A couple of weeks ago, we heard that an indoor trampoline park that is coming to the area was going to be featured on Undercover Boss. Hoping to catch some sneak peeks of what fun we might be in for – and show them to the kids – we turned it on. During the program, one of the employees mentioned about how he was born a woman, has been living as a man, but needed some surgeries that he couldn’t afford to complete the process.
Yes, the kids heard this and yes questions ensued.
Let me first state that I have nothing against gender reassignment surgery. In fact, I think it’s great that we live in an age when someone who feels more comfortable as a different gender than they were born as, can make that change. I also don’t think the show was “at fault” in any way. The “transgender subject” shouldn’t be swept under the rug and ignored for fear that some small child somewhere might hear it.
The fact of the matter is that I just wasn’t ready to explain this complicated subject to my six and ten year olds. We haven’t even had “the talk” with the ten year old yet. How was I going to explain this?!!
I’ll admit that I resorted to the old standby of punting the question to the other spouse (“Ask your mother!”) and distraction hoping that they would tire of the question. I even put them to bed that night hoping that the question would be forgotten by morning. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. JSL was still asking if they chopped off her boobs.
Side note: He’ll take any opportunity he finds to say the word “boobs.” He really seems to like that word but in a potty-talk, not a sexual sort of way. He also likes saying “poop” and is experimenting to see how much cursing he can get away with. (The answer is none, but he’s still testing to see if there’s a loophole.)
The questions finally receded into the background after a day or two. Am I proud of the fact that we danced around the question instead of giving a detailed answer? No. Then again, I don’t think our six year old and our ten year old – the latter of whom is actually about 6 socially due to Asperger’s Syndrome – are ready for that sort of thing. I certainly wasn’t ready to give them a proper answer.
Hopefully, a few years down the line, I’ll be better prepared to talk to my boys about not just sex in general but the many complexities. Until then, perhaps I need to hone my adlibbing skills.
NOTE: The “Emoticons: Question face” image above is by nicubunu and is available via OpenClipArt.org.