Sunday, May 15, 2011

Growing, Growing, Gone

My girl is eleven. Sometimes it seems like she's eighteen. I know that she thinks she is older than she is. At least some of the time. She's an only child. She has grown up around lots of adults. I've made sure that she has had lots of kid time, too. I never claim to be perfect. Actually, I am so far from it. But I feel like there has been a good balance in her life.

She is quite mature and very knowledgeable. This brings me to a story about her. It happened when she was five. And yes, I have her blessing to tell it. She came home from kindergarten one day with a very unusual question. I first need to tell you that Scott was out of town. For two weeks. We had some play time and a snack and then she popped the question. Daddy's carry the eggs, right mom? What kind of eggs, I asked? THE eggs mom. You know, the baby making eggs. I need to let you know that we have always been truthful with Gracie. We told her the appropriate names of body parts right from the get go. We wanted no confusion. Our parents were honest and educational with us and we wanted to pass the gift on. I then said, what made you ask this? Perhaps I should have inquired more. She said because I thought dads carried something else. I said yes, they carry the sperm. That's it, she said. I knew you had told me something different. Yes, I had mentioned eggs and sperm when she asked where babies came from. And yes, I reiterated the whole mechanics of how a baby was made, just to make sure she had truthful and accurate information.

Scott called later that night and I told him the story. He didn't even try to hide the fact that he was glad to not have been home for our conversation. Then a few days later Gracie came home from school with a challenge for me. She pulled an egg shaped piece of paper out of her little backpack. She set the timer on the microwave for three minutes and asked if I could hold this egg on the tops of my feet. This is what the daddy penguins do, but for longer amounts of time. So I played along all the while realizing that I had armed my baby with way too much information the other night. I got a little light headed. Oh no. What if she had gone to school and shared her knowledge with other kids on the playground? Crap. I needed to talk to her teacher.

I worked at the school and found the teacher before school the next day. I told her what had happened. She laughed so hard she was on the verge of tears. In all of her years of teaching kids about penguins this had never happened she said. I believe it, I said. I'm lucky that way. Life went on and we have had fun telling and retelling this story over the years. Now Gracie is taking Human Growth and Development in school. I feel confident that these lessons will reinforce what she has already been taught. It's a reminder that this growing up business happens way too fast. We should embrace it. Whether it is good times, uncomfortable times, honest times and even some bad and sad times. Before we know it our kids will be grown and gone. If we've done our job well, they will always know that they can come to us and talk about anything. Even penguins.

©2011 Ann M. De Broux

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