It's Memory Lane Monday! Tinkerbell is not a boy. This I found out from Rosie five years ago when she told me she was “missing a bone” and she wasn't talking about a rib. This conversation makes me chuckle (and oh how I miss the days of fairies now that we're in middle school)!
“Tell me about Neverland.” Rosie commands from the back seat.
“It’s from Peter Pan; the place where boys never grow up.” I say, wondering where this conversation is heading.
“Just boys?” she says.
“Um hum,” I say trying to maneuver away from the world’s slowest driver into another lane.
“Well, it can’t be just for boys.” She states emphatically. “Tinkerbell is there.”
“Yes, but she’s a fairy Rosie. It’s different.”
“Yeah, but she’s a girl. Know how I know? She’s doesn’t have that extra bone that boys have.”
I look in the rearview mirror. She’s got a big smile on her face. She crosses her arms, sticks out her chin and gives me that “see, I’m smarter than you are” look.
I am stunned and amazed by my child’s remark. After I get over the “my child did not just say that” moment of shock, it takes every ounce of my strength to not burst into uncontrollable laughter. And then I begin to wonder….
Where’d she hear that one?? Did someone tell her on the playground? Did she hear it at dance with the older girls? Or, is that just her little girl way to explain male anatomy?
I’m a big believer that in order for a child to learn how to effectively communicate, you have to talk to your child as a real person. There’s been no baby talk on my end. No cutesie-wootsie names for anything. We've always called body parts by their real names.
Of course, as Rosie learned to speak, she twisted and turned them into cute little monikers all on her own. When she was two she walked down the hall declaring that “Aunt Cara has a bagina, and Uncle Chad has a bapena” over and over again. We laughed. At least she was close.
As she’s grown older, I've been open and honest with her about the differences between boys and girls. I answer her questions directly and if I get stuck and can’t find an age-appropriate answer, I have a couple of books that I go to for assistance. (She likes to call them the “Big Girl Body Books.” Any time I mention that I need to grab one to answer a question she gives me big “YUCK” and a gesture that looks like she’s about to puke.)
To be honest, for a soon to be nine year-old, she hasn't asked very much. She has a general idea where babies come from and knows about menstruation (she forced my hand on that when she demanded to know the use for a tampon. I thought I did a good job on that one until the next month when I filled my purse with them. She asked why I needed so many when you “only need one a month”). She knows the word sex, but hasn’t pushed for a comprehensive explanation.
Truth be told, we haven’t had any questions I can’t answer. Or any semantic shockers. Until now.
We’re in the car on the way home when she asks about Neverland. I tell her it’s from Peter Pan. The land just for boys where they never grow up.
“It can’t be just for boys because Tinkerbell is there.” she says. I try to explain that Tinkerbell is a fairy so it doesn’t count.
That’s when she declares, “Yeah, but she’s a girl. Know how I know? She’s doesn’t have that extra bone that boys have.”
Once I get over the shock (and the fact that I want to laugh out loud at the top of my lungs), I wait for her to continue. But, she doesn’t. She looks at me with a smug expression. She’s proud that she’s right.
I walk in the house shaking my head. I wonder if she heard that on the playground or at dance. Or, does she really think it’s a bone that only boys have? I contemplate grabbing a “Big Girl Body Book” to tell her the truth, but she’s already moved on to another topic.
At that moment, I let it drop. Actually, I am relieved that I don’t have to give an in-depth biological explanation about male anatomy. I’ll let her stay an innocent young girl a little while longer.
Moms, how have you handled situations like this?