Monday, September 04, 2006

My Feathers Are a Little Ruffled . . . .

Friday night was family night so we decided to start things off with a Mexican dinner. I was enjoying my dinner when my six year old leaned over and whispered "Am I going to have a Step Mommy or Step Daddy one day?" When pondering the best way to answer this, he continued by declaring "AND I know that you can have two Mommies and two Daddies!" I about choked on my burrito!

This is not about me being anti this and that or what I feel is morally right and wrong. What this is about is the right to decide when I want to share "the facts of life" with my children. We live in an area where I have to go to the ABC store to buy wine. I had to sign a permission slip for the school to take photos of my son. "We are still livin' in the Bible Belt, Ma'am" is something I hear often. So I never thought this would come up without my knowledge!

Do I want to shelter my kids from the world? No. Do I want to decide when they learn about the ways of the world? Please. At least give me a heads up before you share! I don't think that's asking too much!

I'm sad too because we missed the boat. This is a topic we wanted to talk about with David because he tends to worry, especially when it involves the security of his family. He has learned that war means fighting, and fighting can mean dying. His daddy may go to war because he is in the Army. He's not dumb and has put it together. In school he learned that when Daddies go away new ones can come. So he is worried and sad. This is not how we wanted it to be.

What are your thoughts? Do I have the right to be ruffled or do I need do smooth my feathers and move on? I'd love to know what you think!


owlhaven said...

I guess I am confused. All of my adopted children DO have two mommies and two daddies-- their birth parents and their adoptive parents, so I am not sure why you are I misunderstanding? Or maybe you are worried that his questioning shows fear that you and your spouse might divorce?

In any case, I would think that in reassuring him you have a chance both to talk about adoption AND you and your spouse's commitment to stay together...

Mary, mom to many

Michelle said...

I agree with you. It's you and your husband's place to teach him these things. I can't believe how much more my sister has learned at such an ealier age then I did, just because the world has changed so much in the past few years. Kids hear adults talking and they go to school and talk about it to their friends. It is your place, but I guess to be able to do it on your time, you have to start much earlier then in the past.

Amy said...

My son was talking about gay marriage thus the two Mommies, etc. That isn't an issue for me. It's the divorce thing that I wish we had talked about before hand, and had realized she was going to talk about at school. It put insecurities into him and I hate that. As a Mom you try to avoid those sort of things! :( BUT it's also part of growing up and being in the world. But does it have to start so young!?!?!

C2 said...

My first reaction would have been "Oh my god!!! Is there something going on with my husband and I that I'm not aware of?!?! Next would have been "And is it with a man?!?!" Just kiddin'

Being a teacher for 10+ years, it is expected that you do talk about these things with your students. Depending on what age/ geography/ philosophy your school has depends on how this stuff is introduced. I have read books about this stuff to children as young as 3. I am surprised, since you live in the Bible Belt, that it was talked about at all. I have always lived in the liberal Northeast, so I probably have a skewed idea of how this works. I do agree that if it was going to be talked about at school, they should have given you some sort of heads up so you would be prepared to field any follow up discussion, and not be taken unaware as you were. On the other hand, many of these concepts are just learned by observation of peers, or having conversations with their friends about it. You never get a heads up for any of this unfortunately. Just an awkward moment at the dinner table, and posts on your blog saying "Holy cannoli!"

It sounds like you have a very smart and sensitive son, who is very aware of the subtle nuances around him. I would expect more of these surprises in the years ahead. Better brush up on your responses now before you end up choking on a chicken bone. Ah, the joys of parenthood!

Denise said...

I'm in a small Tennessee town, too. I just recently had a religious flier sent home with my kids. I got upset because 1.) it's against the law and 2.) I am the who should be discussing religion with my kids...not the schools.

You have every right to be upset. I would be. The facts of life should only be discussed at school with your prior knowledge and APPROVAL.

I hear "We are still livin' in the Bible Belt, Ma'am" quite often myself. I don't care about old-south thinking. I don't even see how that statement has anything to do with the crap that goes on today.

Amy said...

That makes me think about the time I asked my parents (very matter-of-factly) when THEY were going to get divorced, since everyone else's parents were doing it. I think I was about 7. I know they were shocked, but I didn't really understand why. I was just asking a question based on what I had learned from my peers. That was back in the 70s. I am already beginning to dread hearing about the things my daughter will learn from her peers in school!

--The other Amy B :)

Mel said...

Isn't it awful our children have to know about grown-up things?

When stuff comes up, I guess we just have to talk it through. I also assure my kids that we will NEVER EVER be divorced.