STDsSo, earlier this week, while minding my business, my 6 year-old decided to start reading. Of course, I like to see/hear this-- she is a mathematical genius, often preferring math problems to picking up a book, so hearing her choose to sound out the words around her, I was pleased. However, I sensed early on as she started sounding out words she read around the room that we were heading into murky waters. Particularly when she started sounding out words on some of the folders lying around in my room. I am a youth facilitator and a pack rat and have hordes of folders from past workshops I've facilitated. One workshop that I've done this year was on STDs.
"What is STIDS?"
My eyes opened (I was napping) and I knew immediately what folder she was looking at.
"Um, that is an acronym. It is read S-T-D."
"What's an acronym?"
"An acronym is when you have letters that stand for words."
"So, what words do the S, the T and the D stand for?"
So, I will be honest. I have facilitated reproductive health workshops for the past ten years in various capacities, working with elementary school-aged children to adults and I have to say that I was never stumped so badly for words until this very moment. I have done parent workshops for parents on how to bring up the dreaded topic of SEX with their kids, but, this moment with my own very curious 6 year-old was that damnable chicken coming home to roost.
And, after exhaling, a quick mental scramble for words and such, I entered the scary waters of conversation where the balance between TMI and "what you need to know" is a maddening chess game that you don't find out the results from until after the child is grown and you hopefully don't have any tell all books written about you on how you ruined their childhood.
So, let's just say that I answered A LOT of questions once my 6 year-old found out the S stood for sexually in STD. The explanation of the word led to other questions my little one had been holding in about this curious world around her. Of course the famous question little ones have about kissing and pregnancy was among the bunch.
She has been having a lot of questions, I realize, because first grade isn't like it used to be. She has classmates who talk about having "nervous breakdowns", kids who talk about the medication they are on and teachers who explain to the class what hair weaves are and how they are grown ups way to play make-believe (Long story). So, yes, my child has a experience I wasn't privy to at six.
I take her with me often when I facilitate workshops with youngsters and most recently when I worked for 8 weeks with the youngsters I mentioned in an earlier post. I was working with these kids for a poetry slam they competed in this past Thursday.
My daughter loved being around these kids and started to feel like she was a big kid too when she would come with me during these sessions. She related so much that when they won the first place trophy on Thursday, she didn't understand why she could not bring the trophy home with us.
"Mommy, make sure you get the trophy now so we can go home."
"Um, that's not our trophy. The kids won it."
"But, weren't we part of the team?"
"Um..." I was not liking where this was going.
To make a long story short, she had to be led out of the building crying.
In the car, I had to explain that trophies are won usually in competition. She did not compete on stage, therefore, she does not get any part of that trophy. I told her she could win her own awards if she decided she wanted to stick to the things her dad and I have enrolled her in this year, including Tae Kwon Do that she recently stopped going to because she always fell asleep on the way home from school (and I never had the heart to wake her up.)
She grumbled something or another about how that's not fair and when she gets home she is going to make her own darn trophy.
I admit, I couldn't stop chuckling to myself about that one. A girl has to do what a girl has to do I guess.