Monday, December 20, 2010

I Don't Want to be Having This Conversation.

Early last week, while digging through my bathroom for some unknown thing or another, Matthew came across some feminine hygiene products that he insisted on knowing the purpose of.  I tried to brush him off, but (you know Matthew) he persisted.  I sighed inside, thought resentfully about all of my well-intentioned theories related to answering kids' questions, and braced myself.

Cringing a bit on the inside but (hopefully) looking relaxed on the outside, I told him a bit about the female cycle, including about egg production (whereupon he immediately stopped my explanation to ask whether he'd been required to use a beak to break out of his shell when he was born - aaahh), what happens to the lining of a female uterus if an egg is not "joined up" with sperm, and what happens about once a month for women.  Blah blah blah.  Matthew was utterly fascinated, wanted to be informed about (and involved in) every part of a woman's cycle, and had (as you can imagine) a few dozen questions for me about menstruation.  I don't think I've ever talked that much about this topic!  I was thankful when the conversation finally evolved into other matters for discussion.

But I should have known it wasn't over...

On Thursday morning, I brought our oatmeal to the breakfast table, and Matthew and I sat down to eat.  I was just lifting the first spoonful to my mouth when Matthew said, in a very conversational and pleasant how-was-your-day kind of tone:  "soooo, Mom, are you menstruating right now?"  He settled in for another hearty conversation on the topic.  Appetite gone, knowing now that it was never going to end, I put my spoon back down and took the bowl to the sink.  That was enough of an eye-opener for me!


  1. that is AWESOME!! oh i needed a good belly laugh today. funny funny funny..i can just picture him asking you that. :)

  2. Too funny- thanks for the laugh (I needed it today- I've been baking...and I'm no Martha Stewart... ugh, enough said!)
    Sarah's favourite thing to play with when she was 2 were my tampons. She would unwrap them, and then proudly annouce "this is my tamper" and "tamp" (stamp) everything she could get her hands on with it! I just smiled and pretended not to be cringing inside! :)

  3. Ah...hilarious (love the beak question) and mortifying. I did not grow up in a home where these conversations were comfortable, and always have to do my best to enter into the curious child's un-self-consciousness about the issue at hand (which is helpful to when a 4 year-old boy asks me whether I share the same body parts as he does - that was years ago, babysitting as a teen - or when I'm with a couple of youth group students, helping a young Burmese Karen girl who speaks very little English try to make sense of her reproductive health homework Q & A worksheet that she brought to Sunday School, looking for assistance (ah, the challenge of defining 'vas deferens' and 'epididymis' and various functional issues, in such a situation) - or when I'm using a public toilet with my 2 year-old niece in the stall, attentively observing every aspect of the situation). Usually the humour of the situation has allowed me to overcome any inhibitions...

  4. oh man! That is one curious boy you have there! I have to laugh at the story, having had more than one uncomfortable discussion myself over the years following questions from my kids!

  5. That reminds me of the conversation I had recently that happened in the food court of the mall that started with the question, "So, do you think that Jesus masturbated?" Things we wouldn't have thot about asking our parents...deep breath required, and then we join in the conversation with our kids that reminds us why we love being parents to kids that ask great questions that show they trust us enough to dialogue about them.

  6. Ha! Very, very funny.

    I'm going to keep on enjoying the fact that my son can't yet talk.