This week my fourth grade daughter watched the “family life” video at school. Already!? Yes. So I gave her a little preview talk since we hadn’t talked about that “stuff” yet. I previewed the video the night before, prepared to talk perspiration, pimples, and periods. Then I saw that it briefly touches on the reproductive system. Crap. I was as brief and basic as possible.
Me: “So you know how I told you that you will get a period once a month, well that’s because you have an egg that can be fertilized each month to get pregnant.”
Her: “Whoa, when I get my period I can get pregnant!?” BIG EYES. Crap- guess I didn’t say that right.
Me: “Well yeah, but that takes a sperm from a man and you don’t need to worry about that for a long time, until you are a grown up.”
Her: Big sigh of relief. “Ok.”
I sat waiting for, “so how does the sperm get in there?” but she didn’t ask. Big sigh of relief from me! I do plan on revisiting this in the years to come but at age nine, I think she knows enough. I finished up the explanation and the rest was rather painless. Being honest or telling too much is a fine line to walk.
Surprisingly though, this wasn’t the most challenging parent conversation we had this week. Last night she asked for our advice. Her friend had brought her dad’s old phone to school and took it on the playground to take videos of her friends. Against the rules, she didn’t know how to handle this. She wants to hang with her friends, but doesn’t want to get caught and in trouble. This opened up the conversation about not doing stupid shit on camera, especially video. It’s hard to explain things in a way for a nine-year old to understand. I realize that she isn’t in the position of trying to earn a scholarship and getting caught, red solo cup in hand yet. But at the same time, she needs to understand that when things get captured on “film” that they can go “viral” and are never private. I do not envy kids having to navigate their privacy in the digital age. We totally freaked her out. I’m not sure if that was the right approach. It’s just so hard not to spread my big mommy wings around her and shield her from all the stupid, bad things. But I don’t. I struggle daily, hands in my pockets, just praying she makes good choices. It’s exhausting.
This made me revisit my post from last year about Raising a Daughter. Such a privilege and such a responsibility. It might be one of my favorite posts that I’ve written. I’m no closer to having all the answers, but I’m reminded that I have a pretty awesome little lady and investing my time and prayer in her sure helps me find my way through this parenting journey.