Convos with Kids: Old School

The scene: Malt Shoppe

Young server to Max: Excuse me sir, but you need to remove your hat when inside this establishment.

Max complies.

Max, after thinking about it: Mom? Why do I need to take off my hat but Jordyn and Kennedy don’t?

Me: That’s a great question! It has to do with some very old school rules on etiquette and manners. Men had to remove their hats when entering a building and women didn’t. I’m honestly not sure why or when it originated. We should look it up.

Max: Well I don’t think it’s fair.

Me: I honestly don’t disagree with you. In fact, when I was in high school, my teacher made a guy in my class remove his hat but not me. They got into an argument over fairness and he wound up getting a detention for arguing with the teacher. I felt horrible even though it wasn’t my fault.

Max: Yeah. But you probably should’ve taken off your hat too. But that still doesn’t make it fair or change the rule.

Kennedy: Well, ya know, boys can go topless at the pool and girls can’t do that so that’s not really fair.

Jordyn: But would you really want to be topless?

Kennedy: No. I don’t want anyone to see my nickles, but why is it ok if boys show theirs?

Max: Maybe it’s because boys don’t make milk in their breasts.

Jordyn: True. True. But usually only moms with babies make milk. Like our mom stopped making baby milk because we don’t need it anymore.

Max: Good point. So why do boys even have nipples?

Kennedy: Maybe it’s just for decoration.

Jordyn: Maybe it’s so they look more like women.

Max: Maybe the next level male people won’t even have them.

Jordyn: Mom, is that possible with evolution?

Server, approaching carefully: Um, can I get you anything else?

Me: An expert in history and evolution?

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Convos with Kids: Parental Guidance

The following conversation took place at a family event while the other adults sat across the table, enjoying their own conversation…Thanks for the help…

Max: I’d really like to see that movie Little

Me: You mean the one where a grown up turns into a child again?

Max: Yeah. It looks like it’s SO funny.

Me: I agree but it’s not for you.

Max: What? Why? It’s rated pg13 and you let us watch pg13 all the time!

Me: The “pg” stands for parental guidance. Daddy and I do our best to guide you to appropriate movies. While Marvel and DC movies are pg13, we think you’re ready for the content. The content in the movie Little is a bit too mature for you, so no. You can’t watch it yet.

Max: Then can I see Deadpool? It’s a Marvel movie.

Me: Absolutely not. It’s rated R and the content is 100 percent not appropriate for you.

Max: Is there kissing?

Me: More than kissing.

Jordyn: Like sex?

Me: Yes. And horrible language, and a ton of gory violence.

Max: Like the f word?

Me: Worse

J: Like s-h-i-t?

Me: Way worse

J: Worse than h-o-e?

Me: Yes. And how do you know that word?

J: From Penelope*

Me: Do you know what it means?

J: Penelope said it’s when a girl has sex with a lot of different boys. Like if Amelia* had sex with Griffin* and then with Adam* and then…

Max: Or it’s a tool. Like for digging in the garden.

Me: It is a gardening tool. And yes, Jordyn, that is a terrible name to call a girl who behaves that way. Name calling is never ok. And besides, while you may not agree with her choices, they are hers to make. She is in charge of her body, just as you are responsible for yours.

J: Is there a word for a boy who has sex with a lot of girls?

Me: There is not a mean word for boys who make those choices. In fact, quite the opposite. While girls are often insulted for that behavior, boys are often celebrated.

Max: Well that doesn’t seem right or fair. I’m never calling a girl that. Girls need to be respected too. Plus, I still don’t understand why anyone would do that a lot.

Me: I’m proud of you for recognizing that, Max. That’s very mature of you.

Max: So now can I see Deadpool?

Me: Nice try, Bud.

*All names of children have been changed to protect the identity and privacy of my children’s friends/peers

Convos with Kids: Lenten Shabbat Recipes

Kennedy: Wait, are we having salmon for Shabbat dinner?

Me: Yep

K: But why? We usually have chicken for Shabbat.

Me: It’s lent so we can’t eat meat on Shabbat for a few weeks.

K: But you’re Jewish

Me: Daddy is Catholic so we respect his religious practices

K: But salmon is meat! It’s fish meat!

Me: According to Judaic law & Catholic law fish isn’t considered meat. I don’t know why so please don’t ask until I’m not driving and can google it.

K: But why?!?! Fish are animals so salmon is fish meat!

Me: I’m so glad you pressed the issue. I realize that it makes no sense. I think it’s because fish don’t produce milk. I know there are more details but they escape me for now.

K: Fine. But I only like salmon sushi or bagel & lox. Not cooked salmon!

Me: I hear ya. But this is what I’m making for dinner. You don’t have to eat it, but that’s what I’m making, along with asparagus, rice, and spinach salad, like I said before. You can eat whichever part you want but I’m not making you a special dinner. You know I don’t play that game.

K: Well, can I have goldfish instead?

Me: One, Goldfish are generally pets and not food. Two, I already told you we are having salmon. Three, what are you talking about? We don’t have goldfish.

K, looking forlorn, folds her arms and sulks: We do in the snack closet.

#touché

Happy 3rd Lenten Shabbat! The first week I defrosted corned beef until I realized it was lent so I ordered sushi via Grubhub. Totally worth the last minute save. Yum! Last week we had dominoes pizza at a Cub Scout pack meeting and it was deliciously not nutritious and I enjoyed every bite.

This week I finally got it together. Below is this week’s recipe. Hope you give it a try and let me know what you think.

Spinach Salad: 5 minutes prep to table

Rinse, drain, and toss the following into a bowl

-baby spinach

-chickpeas (garbanzo beans)

-salad cut hearts of palm

-marinated artichoke hearts

-chopped baby cucumbers

-chopped apple

-Italian seasoned crumbled feta or crumbled blue cheese

(No additional dressing is needed because of the marinated artichoke hearts and cheese but I’m sure a balsamic would be lovely if you must)

Rice:

I usually use brown rice or quinoa but got out voted this week. I season my plain white rice with Jane’s Krazy Mixed-up Salt, and add fresh chopped parsley* right before serving. High in bad for you carbs, but zero net gluten. Pick your poison. (*Pro tip: Make sure you floss after brushing if you add the parsley…but also because you should floss after brushing anyway… don’t be lazy. Your gums will thank you.)

Asparagus:

Tried something new this week. Mixed reviews from the peanut gallery, but I LOVED it! Hashtag nomnoms

-bake asparagus* in a shallow pan at 375° for about 10 minutes (I spray a touch of oil on the bottom to prevent sticking and season with a bit of krazy salt but neither are necessary, though quite delicious) I like my asparagus bright green and crunchy. If you like yours more well done, keep it in longer.

-sprinkle shredded mozzarella on mozzarella and place back in oven just long enough to melt cheese

-drizzle balsamic glaze atop cheese & asparagus

-live life to the fullest and enjoy every bite

*Dog owner pro tip: save the ends of the raw asparagus and chop into treat size bites for your pup. It’s delicious, nutritious, and helps clean teeth and freshen breath.

Salmon*:

-Season with juice of 1/2 lime, 1/2 lemon, and old bay

-Grill…or bake if you must.

*We use wild caught Alaskan with the skin on and the kids (ok, us too) LOVE the crispy grilled skin. High in good fats and omega 3s though the charbroil may or may not be carcinogenic so there’s that.

Dill-Dip

Blend the following in a nutri-bullet or whatever whatever gadget is closest… (though all ingredients can also easily be mixed by hand)

-Juice of 1/2 lime & 1/2 lemon

-1 avocado

-1 container of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

-1 bunch fresh dill

-fat free 1/2 & 1/2 (maybe 1/4 cup?)

-old bay to taste

Serve atop or to the side of salmon. Also makes an awesome dip for fresh veggies. While Kennedy may not have had the salmon, she loved the dip and is looking forward to including it in her snacks and school lunches, though she did mention that it’s probably not best with goldfish.

Convos with Kids: Condiments

The following conversation is part of a larger ongoing child-driven conversation about puberty and everything that comes with it. We consistently answer all questions with age appropriate honesty and use correct anatomical language. That being said, most of these conversations catch me off guard and are quite awkward, albeit highly entertaining. Enjoy 😉

Jordyn: Mom, what’s a condiment?

Me: A condiment is something you use to add flavor to your food like ketchup, mustard, relish, or mayonnaise.

J: No. That’s not it. You know how I have that book about how babies are made?

Me, realizing she meant condom and not condiment and trying to keep my cool: Yep. We haven’t read it in a while.

J: Well the book said something that goes over the penis and I didn’t get it.

Me: Yes. That’s a condom. It’s a latex cover that goes over the penis to prevent the man’s sperm from entering the vagina. It can prevent pregnancy and can also prevent people from accidentally getting each other sick through intercourse.

Max: So a condom is a penis cover and condiment is a food cover. They’re synonymous!

Me, chuckling: I think you missed the point, Dude.

Max: So then is a condom a synonym with a balloon since they’re both made out of latex?

Me, laughing and thinking back to my childhood when one of my sisters may have made (extremely slippery and highly fragile) water balloons out of some condoms she found in my parent’s bedroom and my father’s subsequent reaction: No. Not even a little.

J: Well anyway, I was looking through the book last night about the S-E-X part.

Me: Okaaayyyy…

K: Mom, does S-E-X spell six?

M: Uh! Kennedy, the number six is S-I-X. S-E-X is sex.

K, upset with Max for correcting her: Well I don’t know what that is!

J: Kennedy, sex is when a man’s penis goes into a woman’s vagina to make a baby.

K: Eeeewwwww. I am NEVER doing that!

Max: Me neither. That’s gross. Besides, I don’t want to have a baby.

Me: Well that is totally respectable and absolutely your decision to make. Your bodies, your choices.

J: So the book said that sometimes people have sex even when they’re not trying to make a baby.

Me: Yeeessss….That’s true…

Max: But why? Why-in-the-world-would-anyone-do-that?

Me: Max, I’m honestly not ready to answer that for you right now. Let me think about the right way to discuss it with you and we can come back to that another time.

J: But that’s what a condom is for?

Me: Yes

Max: But not a condiment.

Me: Correct. Hey! Let’s clear the table and finish getting ready for school!

Convos with Kids: Birth Control

Before sharing, please know that we all struggle in some ways and I am acutely aware that many of my family, friends, and readers have struggled with family planning and pregnancy. I want you to know that I see you and I feel your pain and sorrow with you. I am here/hear for you, in anyway that you may need.

That being said, while I have had my own share of adversaries, for whatever reason, pregnancy (and getting my kids to eat well) have not been part of my own personal struggles.

The following awkward yet honest conversation took place over breakfast:

J: Kennedy, you know you were a fluke.

K: I am not a whale’s tail!

J: No. I mean an accident. Mommy and Daddy didn’t mean for you to be born.

Me: Whoa, J. Hold it right there. I think you need some clarification. First of all, Mommy and Daddy may not have planned to get pregnant with Kennedy, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t want her when we found out that I was pregnant with her. In fact, we didn’t really plan for any of you. You all just happened, and we were very happy when we found out about each of you. We were very lucky that it was so easy to get pregnant with each of you. For many women, it’s not that easy and it can be very sad for them.

J: But weren’t you on birth control when you got pregnant with Kennedy?

Me: Yes. But didn’t you ask for a little sister?

J: Fair point.

Max: What’s birth control?

Me: It’s a way that can prevent a woman from getting pregnant. It can also prevent people from getting sick from each other. Some kinds even keep people healthy. There are many different kinds of birth control but most aren’t a guarantee. There’s still a chance a woman can get pregnant, hence, Kennedy.

J: What kinds are there?

Me: Well, I walked into that one…So let’s start with the basics. First, there’s a condom.

Kennedy: What’s a condom?

Me: A condom is something that goes over a man’s penis and catches his sperm so it can’t go into the woman’s vagina.

Max: Cool. But I don’t have sperm yet.

Me: That’s true. But you will when you’re older.

Max: Well I’m not sure that I want my penis in someone’s vagina. Even when I do have sperm.

Me: Well that’s excellent. But should you change your mind, please talk to Daddy and me about it first.

Max: Ok! But not today.

Me: You got it.

J: Is that what you and Daddy used? That conga thing?

Me: No. A conga is a type of dance. A condom is the word you’re looking for.

Max: Con-dom… that’s like condominium! Do you hear it? Condom-indium. Do you think that’s the root word?

Me: No idea. We’ll have to look it up.

J: So what were you and Daddy using?

Me: I was taking birth control pills. It’s a medicine that a woman can take everyday. It tells her ovaries not to release an egg.

J: So your ovaries didn’t listen?

Me: Well, there are different kinds of pills with different medicines, depending on what your own body needs. I was switching from a pill that was safe for women who breast feed to one that was for those who don’t, since I had stopped nursing Max. It takes time for your body to adjust to new medication and that’s when Kennedy came to be.

Max: I really miss breast feeding.

K: I do not. But I do wish Mommy would by chocolate milk. That’s the best! Even the almond kind.

Max: That is an excellent point, Kennedy!

K: Well fank you, Maxwell.

J: So are there more kinds of birth control? Like how do you know you and Daddy won’t have any more babies?

Me: There are lots more kinds. We know because after talking about it for a long time and deciding it was the best decision for our family, Daddy had an operation that prevents the sperm from getting into my body. It’s called a vasectomy.

J: How does that work?

Me: A doctor cuts the tube that connects the testicles to the urethra so the sperm can’t come out.

J: So you can still get pregnant but Daddy can’t make babies?

Me: Yep. Pretty much.

Max: That’s ok. You can still adopt me a 17 year old brother. I’m ready. And I can show him how I can fart with my armpits like this!

Laughter ensues and life goes on…

Awkward Convos with Kids: A Natural Continuation

The following conversation is a natural continuation of previous conversations we've had with the kids regarding human bodies, reproduction, and how it all fits together. These conversations each begin with child lead curiosity and are followed by age appropriate discussions using honesty, real words for anatomy, and answering their questions, no matter how awkward or uncomfortable it may be.

This is not the first conversation we've had on the matter, and will not be the last. We believe in education over ignorance and communication over silence.

That being said, this is what I woke up to this morning:
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Convos with Kids #247365711: Maybe

K-Mad: Mom, can we watch a movie when we get home?

Me: Maybe

K-Mad: That means sometimes yes, sometimes no. 

Bud: No. That means no. 

K-Mad: No, Bud! It means sometimes yes and sometimes no!

Bud: Nu-uh! When Mommy says, “Maybe,” she always means, “No.” You don’t know! 

K-Mad: That’s not true! I do so know!

Lady J: Actually, he’s right, K-Mad. You haven’t been around as long as we have but trust us, maybe is mom code for no. 

K-Mad: Daddy? When we get home can we watch a movie? 

CWK 24.7.365-7.11: On Dementia 

(The original convo took place on January 14, 2014. Thanks “Facebook memories” for this gem 😉)

A group from a nursing home was at the community center while I was there with Lady J & Bud. One woman was particularly drawn to the kids and wanted to play air hockey with them. After leaving the kids were wondering why she was playing with her hands and why she didn’t know the rules, among other behaviors. A conversation about getting older, more forgetful, and dementia ensued. This was the end of it:

Bud: Oh gee. I hope I don’t get de-men-ta

J: That’s ok if you do, buddy. You won’t remember anyway!

CWK #24.7.365-7.11: The F Word

Lady J, timidly: Mom? What does fuck mean?

Bud: Heh, heh. Fuck.

Me, more than a bit dumbstruck: Where did you hear that word?

J: Stewart* asked me if I know what the “F” word is and I told him, “No.” Then Mathew* spelled it: f-u-c-k. I told them I didn’t know that word, but I could sound it out. Mom? What does fuck mean?

Inner-momologue: Oh Fuck! Crappity crap crap fuck this shit and the asshole who mentioned it to a second grader and now my kids know it, even though I’ve probably fucked up a few times in front of them too, FUCK!

Me: Well, first of all you should both know that it is a word that is rude, disrespectful, and will get you sent to Mr. Wollensky’s* office immediately, should you say it at school. In school, it’s worse than “stupid” or even “hate”. It will also get you sent to your room at home.

J: I know that, but what does it mean?

Me: Well, most adults use it when something goes wrong, like “Oh no!” or, “Oh dear!” 

J: Why wouldn’t they just say, “Oh no” or, “Oh dear” then? Or even, “Oh my goodness?”

Me: Sometimes, in the adult world, things go so wrong that a stronger word comes to mind first. It’s not polite, but it happens. 

Bud: Fuck! I can’t buckle my seatbelt! Heh, heh, heh. 

Me: Bud, you may not use that word. Not even to repeat it. Next time, it’s a timeout. No warnings. 

Bud: Poop. Well, I guess that’s ok. 

J: But, Mom, if it just means, “Oh no,” then why is it a bad word. What does it really mean?

Inner momologue: Fuuuuuuuuuck!

Me: I honestly need to discuss this with Daddy before telling you the real definition of the word.

J: Why do you need to talk to Daddy about what a word means?

Me: You asked a great question and I want to answer it honestly, yet appropriately. It’s a word that has some pretty grownup meanings and I want to make sure Daddy and I are both present for this conversation…

… The conversation we had at dinner included explaining that the word “fuck” was a derogatory word that often referred to disrespectful references towards outer appearances and inappropriate behavior. In their language we used terms such as “bucket dipping” and “bullying” and made sure that they knew it was a word that is never acceptable to use towards another person nor to be accepted in a humorous manner when directed at another person. We let them know that anyone who refers to them using that word is not a friend and that they may stand up for up for themselves, while they also have an obligation to stand up for others if that word is used against them and to report it to us, a teacher, or another trusted adult….I hope it fucking worked….

#innocencelost #herewegrow #convoswithkids #thefword #sothathappened

*all names have been changed