Monday, April 23, 2018

This Deliberate Parenting Thing!!! Part 2

Here's the concluding part, as promised. If you missed part one, you can catch up here.

So, Friday. Target. Restroom. Periods. Bleeding. Eggs. Sperm... Pretty straightforward conversation, until Alexis blew me away with her next words.

Alexis: "So you don't bleed when you're pregnant? Being pregnant sounds better than having periods. I can't wait to be pregnant!"
In My Mind (IMM): "Wait, what?!! Slow your roll, child!"
In Real Life (IRL): "You can wait. First you get your period. This year, or next year. Nobody knows when exactly. Pregnancy is still far far away."
Alexis: "Yeah. That's true. I have to go to college, get a job, then get married. That's still a long time."
IRL: "Yeah. That's the right order"

That wasn't so bad...
So, we leave the restroom, ready to explore Target. STOP. Is that a 50% off sticker? On KY Jelly? I' never seen KY Jelly on sale before, nor have I ever seen this particular one before. KY Touch? ooooohhh??? Interesting... I pick it up and I'm liking the description.

Alexis: "What is KY Jelly?"
IMM: "None of your business, child!"
Wrong answer, Gbemi. Honest, age appropriate answers.
IRL: "Its a personal lubricant."
Alexis: "What's a personal lubricant?"
IRL: Errrmmm
Alexis: "I know you'll tell me to google it. We'll google it later. What's a tampon?"
She grabbed a box that caught her eyes.
IRL: "That's what we use to catch all the blood from periods."
Alexis: "Like a band aid?"
IRL: Sort of...
IMM: HELP!!!!!! I don't know the answers!!!

We moved on, looked at some clothes, tried on some sandals and ended up looking at dolls. She does this thing where she acts like she's reviewing toys for an audience. She's a natural. She really wants her own YouTube channel, but I'm not ready. I'm not sure I want to let her get caught up with views/subscribers/comments yet. I made a video. Maybe I'll post it on my YouTube channel. Or not. I don't know.

Next we looked at books. I picked this one out
Seems like teen/tween level reading. I'll read it first and decide if she's ready.
So we're still looking at books and she squeezes her face.
"What's up?" I ask.
"I just saw something that made me mad."
"Mad? What did you see?"
She points to a book with the picture of the president.
"Why did it make you mad?"
"My friend told me he said nasty things about black people."
IMM: Who sent this friend oooooooo?
IRL: Nasty things?"
I ask her, as I wonder which of the many "nasty things" she had heard and how I to respond.
"It's a bad word. I'm not allowed to say it."
I tell her it's okay and she says "He called us sh*tholes"

Once again, I am not ready. I'm mad that all my attempts to shield my children from the goings on have been unsuccessful. Now I'm left questioning my ostrich-in-the-sand approach. Ugh!!!

IMM: Quit centering yourself, Gbemi! Focus!

I was going to start explaining to her that he was referring to third world countries, and not her personally, but I was not sure how to define a third world country to a seven year old.
So I switched back to active listening mode.

IRL: "sh*tholes? He said that? How does that make you feel?"
Alexis: Mad. I already told you.
IRL: "How do you think a person who says hurtful things to others feel about themselves"?
Alexis: "They feel good, because they are better than the people they are saying nasty things about."

That was not the answer I was hoping for. *facepalm*

IRL: "Do you think that a person who tries to hurt others is really happy? Or are they sad, so they end up spreading the sadness inside?"
Alexis: "The president can't be sad! He has everything!! How can you live in the White House and be sad?"
IMM: If only you knew, child. If only...
IRL: "Well, sometimes people have a lot of things but they are sad inside"
Alexis: "Hmmmmmm..."
IMM: She's not buying it. HELP!!
IRL: "I kind of feel sorry for him. He is rich, but inside, he's hurting"
Alexis: "Me too. I feel sorry for him. He's a sad president."

That was how Friday went.
This ongoing conversation is nowhere near over. And I am not ready.
I won't always know what to say, and I am learning that that's okay.
I'm committed to listening actively and responding honestly.
It's a lot easier to be dismissive. To pretend that I know everything. To say "because I said so."
But my goal is to do better. I won't always get it right, but by God, I will try.

I would really like to hear about some of your conversations with children. And if you're thinking about trying this responding honestly thing, let me know how it goes.

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