being a mom
My Five-Year-Old Son Knows What A Period Is
If thereâ€™s one thing that every parent can agree on, itâ€™s the challenges of going to the bathroom by yourself after you have kids. If theyâ€™re not babies screaming because youâ€™re leaving them alone, theyâ€™re toddlers or preschoolers barging in because they need to wash their hands, or to get a drink of water, or because their favourite toy in the whole wide world is, naturally, in the cabinet under the bathroom sink.
So Ben wasnâ€™t even two and a half when this scene, which probably repeats itself in homes all over the world daily, happened: I was in the bathroom when Ben came inâ€¦and noticed the pad I was wearing in my underwear.
A few weeks before that he had given himself a pretty decent scraped knee, so he knew what blood looked like. I could see the wheels turning; his brow furrowed. And with a trace of worry in his voice, he asked, â€œMommy, whatâ€™s that?â€
My husband and I had always said we would be open with our kids about sexuality education. We have always used the anatomically correct terms â€“ vulva, penis, testicles â€“ rather than nicknames. When I was pregnant with AliciaÂ only a few months before, we had explained that an egg from Mommy and a sperm from Daddy had combined to make the baby that was growing â€“ in Mommyâ€™s uterus, not her tummy.
But when I imagined the first really awkward question weâ€™d have to answer, Iâ€™d sort of imagined it would be, â€œHow did the sperm get to the egg?â€ or â€œWhy does my penis get hard sometimes?â€ and not â€œWhy is there a bloody something-or-other in your underwear, Mommy?â€
So there I am with my pants around my ankles and a choice staring me in the face. But while I was somewhat uncomfortable with having this discussion quite so soon, the choice was easy for me.
â€œItâ€™s a pad. Iâ€™m having my period.â€