Late this afternoon my (mostly) lovely eight-year-old and I were lying in my bed reading. J, a biography about Ben Franklin for a book report and I, a trashy magazine my MIL gave me. At one point, J told me that she did not understand something. Now this book was geared towards fourth graders, at least according to the library. But since the book is almost 15 years old, what was considered fourth grade then is pretty much third grade now, so I thought it was just right for her. And it certainly did not seem above her reading level, except for a few words here and there she could not pronounce.
But, no. J was not struggling with a word. Rather, J looked at me, read the phrase "because he had gotten a girl pregnant" aloud, and then asked, "How do you get a girl pregnant?"
My heart started pounding, my face got red, and I started stuttering.
I think I said something like, "That is a good question. Hmm. Uh... Well... You know, it is hard to explain and I am just not ready to do it now."
I have said things like "I will tell you in a few years" to her on more than one occasion, and this time, much like those, that answer hardly satisfied. But fortunately after I said it again and brought up something else about the book, she dropped it. Phew.
Look, I don't want to be like my parents, afraid or too uncomfortable to talk about these things. And I do think I will be okay (not great) when the time comes. After all, the kid already knows where babies exit from, which is why she would much prefer to adopt, thank you very much. But I just think eight is too young to know all the details.
In the last few years, she has lost some of that young innocence. She now knows that some people are bad (9/11, shootings), drugs and alcohol can kill (Whitney), people don't treat others as they should (racism), and other troubling things that I can't or don't want to think about. Really, I am not trying to equate those aforementioned things with where babies come from. But it is about losing innocence all the same to me. I just want one more year of hiding the truth.
Can I have that? Please?