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…

Advertisements

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:
Continue reading

Redefinition #24.7.365-7.11: Headbang

Headbang: verb

That moment when you’ve spent the day accomplishing every tedious task on your to do list including but not limited to laundry, dishes, vacuuming, dusting, taking out trash & recycling, straightening out the damn rug that’s always lopsided and actually gorilla gluing that shit to the pad underneath, finally changing all closet knobs in kid’s rooms because one has been broken since you purchased the house in May, showering and putting on real clothes and maybe some makeup, spending 1/2 hour on hold waiting to speak with IKEA customer service to find out if an item could be placed on hold until your husband arrives because he is driving from one IKEA to another because he’s not very good at planning ahead in his personal life {with a few exceptions that may or may not be explained in another post} and he’s actually quite surprised that the one item he wants isn’t available THE WEEK OF CHRISTMAS and his honest surprise doesn’t surprise you at all, but IKEA is a first come first serve store and shipping on that item costs 4x the price of the actual item so he drives to the next state and next IKEA with your 4yo while you continue to meal plan and make a shopping list for the upcoming holiday that you are hosting, cook dinner, set dinner table, get child’s CCD costume ready for the play that you just learned about this morning even though the play is tonight and you’re the parent from the other faith of your interfaith marriage, text fervently with class parents from public school trying to figure out if you were supposed to do anything for the class winter party or if there is even a party since the class parents haven’t mentioned anything about the supposed party that is on the calendar for tomorrow but your children have said isn’t happening due to “too many allergies” in the class, take a deep breath, wrap and hide all gifts for the next round of “holidaze”, clean up, realize you actually got it all done and are ready to celebrate but just as you’re leaving to go pick kids up from school, the doorbell rings and you see yet another package from UPS that contains things that need to be wrapped while your husband backs into driveway with 2 IKEA boxes in the trunk that will need to be assembled…

 #soclose #nicetry #bangsheadonwall #holidaze

(This #redefinition brought to you by P&BS {Parenting & Baloney Sandwiches} and sponsored by Murphy’s Law Firm, the only firm you can count on for true accountability.)

CWK #247365711: The “Playground”

Lady J: Mom, can we play on the beach playground?

Me: What beach playground?

Lady J: You know… The green and brown one. It’s right on the beach. The one with the climbing things and tunnels.

Me: There’s no playground on the… Wait, you mean the drainage pipe? Sure… Why (the heck) not. (I feel like getting berated by complete strangers as to how I should raise my children anyway.*) Let’s go!

Lady J: Thanks, Mom! You’re the best mom we’ve ever had!

(That last part always amuses me, no matter how many times I hear Lady J say it…)

*It should be noted that I was only berated by one complete stranger as MY children happily played on the “playground”. But that’s for another post at another time…maybe

  

Oh Sh*#! 8.7.14

While watching The Goonies as I cook dinner, Lady J enters the kitchen and whispers, “Mom, what does shit mean? Because Chunk says it a lot in the movie. Like, a lot, and I just don’t know what it means.”

All I can think is, “Oh SH*#! This is the beginning of the end.”

From her tone I can tell she knows it’s not an appropriate word, and my initial thought is to respond harshly with the standard, “We DO NOT use that word. It is a bad word and I don’t EVER want to hear you say it. Understand?”

But a flash from my own childhood played in my head. I was standing at our front door, maybe around 8 years old. I asked what the word Hell meant. It was an honest question that I really didn’t know the answer to. I have no idea where I had heard it and I had no idea that it was an inappropriate word to use. So I asked. The reaction I got was less than explanatory, though I never said it again in front of my parents, as a child.

So I take a step back and answer her with honesty, “It means poop. But it’s not a nice word and you are not allowed to say it. It’s rude.”

“Is it like ‘hate’ and ‘stupid’?” She questions with translucent innocence.

“Yes,” I reply.

“Okay. Then I won’t say it. But Mommy?  Chunk says it a awfully lot of times when bad things happen that are also silly. It’s kinda funny. He kinda says it like when you say ‘oh dear’ or ‘oh my goodness,'” she chuckles knowing she nailed the context usage.

“Oh poop,” I mutter, “Here we go.”

She exits the kitchen quietly giggling, “Oh poop…”

#igotplayed

Running With Lady J: 7.3.14

We left the condo at 6pm in a blur of pre-race excitement. The double stroller was packed with water bottles, jackets, and a few non-essential essentials. Bud and K-Mad were buckled in and already cheering for their big sister.

Lady J was dressed to match me, per her request, in her running outfit, pink hat, with a ponytail braid. “Mom, when I’m old enough for a phone, like 7 or 8 or 16, can I get an armband for it like you have?” She was a jumping bean of ecstatic enthusiasm, “Mom, in the race I’m gonna run like this!” She bolted down the hall to the elevator like an Olympic gymnast sprinting toward the vault.

We walked one mile down the boardwalk to the library to register for the race. Lady J was practically bubbling over and racing already. I wasn’t sure who was more excited at this point, her or I. This was our first race together and her first “distance” race.

“Mom, maybe when I’m big enough like in a year or a week I can run in a race by myself and you’ll just cheer for me and meet at the finish line, like when I’m 15 or 8, maybe 9 or 12. Those seem like good ages, ya know, when I’ll be old enough.”

We registered and I pinned our bibs on. We checked, one last time for ‘sneaky pee’ before heading to the starting line.

On our way to the line we talked about what to expect during the race and how it works. I made sure she knew that she could run ahead of me but I would not run ahead of her. I assured her that I could keep up with her, even if she sprinted the whole way, even with the stroller. And I told her there were only two rules she needed to know for the race:

Have fun & Try your best.

I looked down at her, as we took our place towards the back of the small pack of racers lining up and saw that Lady J wasn’t her usual bubbly self and any trace of pre-race excitement was nowhere to be seen.

“Mom, I’m scared,” she looked up at me and spoke with the blunt honesty that most lose as we age, “I don’t think I can do this.” Looking into her steely-blue eyes I could sense the knots in her stomach and feel the flutters of her heart.

And this was the moment. A defining moment that, as a parent, you have a choice to validate or ignore, teach or observe, be present or absent.

The. Moment.

I am generally of the ‘old school’ belief that children need to be taught to just do it, suck it up, follow through, and a whole host of other notions that modern society is just beginning to (hopefully) re-embrace.

But this brief moment deserved so much more attention than a simple acknowledgment and brushing off with a quick, “I’m right here.” or “I’ll help you.” and especially, “Of course you can!”  Although all would have been truthful, none would have been appropriate, nor what she needed to hear at that moment.

I knelt down and leaned in toward her, “Can I tell you a secret?” “Uh-huh,” she answered nervously.  “I am too,” I whispered those three little words into her ear. “You are?” she gasped in total disbelief. “Yup!  I get scared before every race. My heart beats super fast and my legs feel wobbly.”

She reached out for my hand in understanding and solidarity and lined up next to me. “Mom? I think we can do this together,” she put on her shield of bravery, “I know it’ll be awesome in the end. Let’s have fun and try our best, even if we don’t win.” “You got it,” I winked as we crossed the start together.

Lady J sprinted out in front of me, slowed to catch her breath, quickened to a jog, and walked briefly to rest. By the half way point, she settled in to a moderate and consistent pace.

We passed a few participants along the way and were cheered on by bystanders. “Go 321!” the onlookers shouted and clapped. “Who’s 321?  Who are they cheering for?” she inquired. “You, Lady J!  That’s your bib number. They are all cheering for you!”

She beamed, grabbed my hand again, and quickened her pace with pride. “It kinda makes my heart feel funny when they clap for me, Mama. Like it’s getting too big.” “I know exactly how you feel, J.”

We ran the rest of way, holding hands and cheering for those we passed. When we saw the finish line I let go and told her to go and “finish strong, J!”

Man, can that girl can fly!

“We did it, Mama! We did it together! You were great! Thank you for this awesome race and running with me!” she leaped into my arms with pure joy. Tears of pride and awe fell from beneath my sunglasses for both her achievement and her overt selflessness in her moment of accomplishment.

We high fived other finishers, offering our congratulations and stayed to watch the end of the racers finish. No one cheered them on with more enthusiasm and sportsmanship than Lady J.

Best. Mile. Ever.

The Day Off: 6.18.14

I took today off.

It wasn’t easy since I’m a stay at home mom and I’m down the shore, alone with my 3 young children, but I did it.

I took today off.

Just. Like. That.

There was no babysitter, no massage, no mani-pedi, no pampering, and no quiet alone time, but I did it anyway.

I took today off.

Breakfast was not served today. It was eaten in front of the television and consisted of cold hard boiled eggs, made yesterday, along with the fruit I pre-cut and dry cereal. My oldest climbed the counter to retrieve the cereal, plates and bowls, peeled the eggs for herself and her siblings, and found the fruit in the fridge. The children cleared their dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher, not my hands. I made no effort to get up from the table or put the newspaper down.  They each consumed a full and healthy meal while I enjoyed every slow sip of my coffee.

I took breakfast off.

My 2 oldest to chose their outfits and dressed themselves. They prepared their own toothbrushes and brushed without constructive criticism. They worked together to make beds and get ready for the day. They argued without my intervention and they eventually figured it all out. The only assistance I offered was getting my youngest ready, doing hair, and applying sunscreen. There were shouts, demands, and a few tears, none of which emanated from me. They were less than perfect looking children and it was a less than a perfectly cleaned apartment. We still managed to leave for the playground at a reasonable hour.

I took the morning off.

I walked down the boardwalk while the kids rode their scooters and balance bike. I didn’t carry a single child, helmet, or mode of transportation. I didn’t shout, “Stay to the right!” “Hurry up!” “Come on!” or even a single child’s name.  The kids took turns taking the lead and we made it to the playground alive, despite giving my “momscles” and voice a rest. The view and the sunshine were glorious!

I took our walk off.

When we arrived at the playground, I found a nice shaded area and sat down. I didn’t push a swing. I didn’t play hide & seek. I didn’t run all over the vast area checking on children and searching for their whereabouts. I didn’t even take out my phone to snap a quick pic. There was only the happy sound of my children playing together, playing alone, imagining and pretending, and offering one another help and directions when needed. Despite my overt lack of participation, they had a great time.  It was music to my ears.

I took the playground off.

At lunch I had them make their own sandwiches and plates. Cream-cheese or peanut-butter isn’t so difficult to schmear on a bagel, apples and bananas can be eaten without my assistance, veggies were pre-cut yesterday, and hummus is great for dipping into.  I could not have cared less about double dipping.

I took lunch off.

I left the clean, unfolded laundry in a pile, dishes in the sink, and did not return a single email, text, or phone call.  I made them all nap because it was my day off and everyone should nap on their day off, so that’s what I did.

I took nap time off.

We headed out to the beach after waking. I carried the bag of towels and nothing else. They each toted their own shovel and bucket. I set up a chair near the ocean’s edge, plopped down, and watched them play. I did not jump waves or dig holes. I did not take them out to the “floaters” or assist them in body surfing or boogie boarding. I did not take a single picture or video. I just sat and watched as they jumped waves, chased seagulls, dug for tickle crabs, clams, and China. They laughed, splashed, and made their own memories with each other at a favorite family spot from my own childhood.

I took the beach off.

We had leftovers for dinner. The microwave did all of the work. Dinner was delicious…again.

I took dinner off.

I took today off to have some time both with and away from my kids. They are my work, my worry, my passion, my deep breaths, my inspiration, my exhaustion, and my world.

I took today off: without planning, without guilt, without worry, without absence, without a substitute, without judgement, and without my own critique.

I took today off, and it was fabulous!