Parenting Moments: discussions on anatomy and gender

 My wife and I strongly believe in open communication with our daughter about sexuality and over the years we’ve had many opportunities to do sex education at home. 

Just the other day, The Spawn asked Mrs. Kyle to explain where the baby was going to exit her body.  We’ve been talking about the whole process of pregnancy and childbirth since The Spawn became aware of her mama’s pregnancy.  Mrs. Kyle grabbed a pen and paper and did a quick line drawing of the vagina and neighboring external features and explained where the baby would come out vs. where pee and poop came out.  The Spawn listened and asked a couple of clarifying questions and then,”What about the bump?  the one near the top?  What’s that called?”

Mrs. Kyle went back over the drawing trying to ascertain which bump she was referring to.  The Spawn volunteered to try her hand at drawing.  The result was two concentric half circles with a triangular point near the upper part of the drawing — a sideways view of the labia and clit, rather well rendered.

“That’s your clitoris”  Mrs. Kyle explained.  The Spawn nodded and repeated the name.

Mrs. Kyle, sensing a teaching moment, asked a follow-on question, “Do you ever touch yours?”  The Spawn nodded in the affirmative.  “Does it feel good?”

The Spawn responded with a big, smuggish grin, “It feels good and it’s very stretchy.”  I  exchanged raised eyebrow looks with Mrs. Kyle when she said ‘stretchy’.

Mrs. Kyle continued, “Yes, it does feel good.  It’s perfectly alright to touch it and feel good, but it’s something to do in private, do you understand?”

“Yes, I like to do it in my room sometimes” The Spawn still sported a smile that spoke volumes about the number of times she had experimented, and the success of those explorations.

“Exactly.  It’s something we do in private, that’s absolutely right.”

And with that conversation turned to something much more mundane, like getting computer time and cleaning her room.  I was proud, once again, at the way my wife and I handled such conversations:  matter of fact, informative, responsive to the child’s actual questions.

I had another teaching opportunity on Sunday, during Capital City Pride, and I may have over shared.  Two of the groups represented in the parade and at the park were trans-oriented:  the New Boyz Club and the Gender Alliance.    The Spawn and I were traversing the park, booth to booth, and she pointed to the New Boyz Club sign and asked what it meant, “What are ‘New Boyz’, Mommy?”   

I explained to her that sometimes people are born with bodies that don’t feel right to them, “For example, some people born with girl bodies feel like they should have been born with a boy body.  There are ways to change your body to be more like the one you wanted to be born with.”

I started to say something about people getting surgeries to change their bodies.. but at that point I’d lost her, she was moving on to the next booth, which featured lots of rainbow items.   It may be that I’d gotten too explicit or that she wasn’t interested anymore .  I’ve been slipping in information on gender, gender queerness, anything related whenever I can.  These discussions often start with some observation she makes about me — my facial hair, my boyish haircuts, the way I dress.  Eventually, I suppose, she might realize that her Mommy seems to look more like a Daddy sometimes in the crotchular area.  Little by little the information is accumulating and at some point, I hope we’ll be able to talk more about it.  I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it 😉

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