Monday, April 14, 2014

Mommy Mondays: No Filter

I've been considering writing this post for a while, but after the hell of potty training, I'm slightly less likely to share every embarrassing parenting moment on this blog.

But only slightly, so here goes.

Recently, Jack has been asking questions. The tough ones. It probably started right around his fourth birthday and it doesn't look like it's going to end any time soon. In fact, one of the more difficult topics came up today, at Target. Here's how the convo went:

Jack: "Where are Great Grandma and Great Grandpa?" (side note: This is not the first time he has asked me this since my grandparents died last year. It's just the first time that my evasion technique failed miserably.)

Me: "Uh, they're gone, sweetie."
Jack: "Where did they go."
Me: "Far, far away?"
Jack: "So we need to get on an airplane and go see them?"
Me: "Weeeeell... We'll talk about this in the car."
Jack: "I don't want to talk about it in the car."
Me (glancing sheepishly at the woman ahead of us in line): "They died, sweetie."
Jack: "Why?"
Me: "They were just really old."
Jack: "I'm dead. I'm really old. My legs don't work. Can I have my new toothbrush now?"

If I was a religious person and believed in heaven, I guess this whole topic would be much easier to deal with. I suppose I could tell him about heaven anyway (after all, I know for a fact Santa isn't real and I happily go along with that), but to me this seems like a much weightier thing to lie about. Jack knows what "dead" means to some extent (thanks to all the dead flies in my parents house in Montana), but I haven't had to explain the finality of death yet, or why things die. I'm dreading that conversation. Maybe it's time to buy a gold fish...

Then there are the other awkward topics that come up fairly regularly (and generally at the least opportune moments). I made the mistake of telling Jack that the baby is growing in my womb and for weeks afterward it seemed like it was all he could talk about. Every time he spoke to a woman he felt compelled to tell them about my womb and ask about theirs. That was special. I have been avoiding the topic of breastfeeding like the coward I am because I'm afraid he'll start asking women inappropriate questions about their boobs. I know it's coming, so I may as well put it off for as long as possible, right?

There are also questions about what fat means, or ugly, or (worst of all) why it's rude to talk about people's skin color in front of them. It was super fun when he asked me why our concierge was brown a few weeks ago, in front of the concierge. I know this is typical of a kid his age, especially one who has spent the last year and a half in two of the least racially diverse places on earth, but that doesn't make it any less awkward.

For now I'll probably continue to avoid difficult topics when I can and try to confront them honestly when I can't. So what if my kid thinks his baby brother is going to pop out of my belly button or that he crawled up into my womb? It's bad enough that total strangers have to be made aware of my uterus. I'd like to keep other parts of my anatomy out of it, thank you very much.

For the most part, I love that my kid has no verbal filter. Every question stems from a genuine desire to understand and learn about the world around him. And I'll be honest, it makes for some pretty hilarious conversations. I'd just prefer they take place in the privacy of my own home, not the stall of a public restroom.

What about you? How do you handle uncomfortable questions from your preschooler?

1 comment:

Lynne said...

He and Zoltan should get together! A little while back a friend of Z's had his birthday party at the church the family attends. The whole ride home we got to talk about what church is, why people go, God, souls, religion and miracles. Zoltan hasn't really shared his opinions but Alex is firmly rooted in the following: flying horses are possible, Leprechauns are possible, God is not. Terry of course was so proud. I think I want a do-over.