Oh how relieved I was to learn the child growing in my womb was a girl. Indeed, the real importance was having a healthy child (especially after 2yrs of infertility), but there was a side to me that had been absolutely terrified of having a boy.
What would I, the girliest of all girls, do with a boy?
The thought of becoming a soccer or football mom sent chills down my spine. After all, I'd grown up with older brothers who only cared about dirt bikes, fishing, and hunting, and a dad who never turned the TV on unless it was to watch sports. Every.sport.known.to.man!
It was by the grace of God I fell in love with and married a man whose main passions are his family, all things superhero, and technology.
Honestly though, there was more to my fear of having a son than just testosterone related activities. In fact, I'm a little embarrassed about this, but I know you won't judge, so I'm going to share the truth anyway.
I was really afraid of mothering a son because I didn't know the first thing about their boy parts.
Ridiculous, I know.
I had an irrational fear of not knowing the How To's when it came to the basics of male hygiene, male hormones, male development, and every other thing moms of boys should probably know about.
I thought it would be far easier to mother a daughter, since I already had what felt like a lifetime of personal experience with the female anatomy. I was convinced it wouldn't be a problem to share that knowledge with a daughter. We would certainly have a close mother/daughter bond and would feel comfortable talking with each other about anything and everything.
Are girls really any easier?
The reality is, nothing quite prepares us for the conversations that need to take place with our child, male or female, when it comes to their developing bodies and their growing curiosity. It's so easy to find ourselves stumbling over our words, blushing with a wild shyness, or taking the extreme paranoid parent approach in our message.
I'm sure you've asked yourself one or all of these questions as well:
- Body Odor - When should my child start wearing deodorant to control this sudden onset of massive body odor? How do I tell them about it without hurting their self-esteem?
- Menstruation - How do I explain the female menstrual cycle to my curious daughter standing in a public restroom with me during that time of month? Or the daughter nearing puberty?
- Making Babies - When is the right time to teach my children that babies are the product of a man and woman making love? And answer all the questions that will no doubt follow?
- Modesty - How and when do I advise my children of the importance of covering their developing bodies, even in the safe presence of parents or siblings? It's not really okay anymore to streak through the house nude, dancing, and singing at the top of their lungs after an evening bath.
- Sex Education - My daughter has her first crush. When is the right time to have the don't-kiss-anyone-or-you'll-end-up-pregnant discussion? What? Do you plan to explain it a different way?
A beautiful and amazing friend of mine, is doing a wonderful job raising her three daughters, so I often find myself seeking her advice on things related to my girls and whatever phase we happen to be in. Her latest recommendation was a book I just have to tell you about.
The Care & Keeping of YOU: The Body Book for Girls
When you can't find the words, reading a topic specific book with your child is a great way to properly educate them while opening the door for further parent/child discussion.
This book literally takes girls on a journey from the very top of their head all the way down the body to their toes. Everything they need to know (ages 8 & up) about the female body is mentioned. My only disappointment is that it lacks a large diagram of the internal view of the female body which I feel would be helpful for growing girls to see. Especially as the book explains developing breasts and menstruation.
My daughter and I have been reading The Care and Keeping of YOU together and while some topics are not quite age appropriate for her just yet, she at least has an idea of what to expect in the next few years. This is also a great reference book for her to pick up and read again down the road, whenever questions pop in her mind that she may feel too embarrassed to talk about.
Here are the next two books we have lined up for our shared reading time (all are part of the American Girl series of books):
Check back for a review on them in the coming weeks.
I know many of my readers also have boys, so I thought I'd share there is a book for them as well.
I'd love for you to share in the comments below, some great parenting resources you know of.