Awkward Conversation.

This is a two-parter. E is a curious and forthright girl. I suspect part of her personality comes from being half-Korean and half-German-Canadian. She has seen her parents choose the best of all cultures and is not hindered by any qualms from any culture.

E: Are you married? (Kids ask this a lot. They are curious and they want background, whether they voice it or not.)
Me: Yes (I tell them I am, because for all intents and purposes I am. I just didn’t buy a dress or have to feed and chat to a lot of relatives I don’t like).
E: Do you have kids?
Me: Nope.
E: Will you have them?
Me: No, I don’t want them. I like teaching you kids a lot, though.
E: (Thoughtful silence)

Fast forward a week:

E: My dad divorced his wife and married my mom because his first wife didn’t want kids. Now he has us. Because my mom wanted kids, too.
Me: He’s lucky to have you, and so is your mom.
E: My dad says that if you don’t want kids you can take pills and stuff.
Me: That’s true. There are a lot of options.
E: But my dad wanted kids. He could have them.
Me: (A little exasperated, but hoping to give some information, but not too much, to a ten-year-old. Obviously.) Lots of people want kids, and they’re lucky to have them. But sometimes the things the dad brings to having kids don’t go right, and sometimes what the mom brings doesn’t go right, and it’s tough for some couples. Your parents are lucky to have you and your brothers.
E: But they can adopt, right? If people can’t have kids?
Me: Of course they can.
E: (mollified) That’s good.

These were awkward conversations for me. I hope I didn’t give inappropriate information. But at the same time, the child needs to know that not everyone yearns to reproduce, and that some do, and can’t.

I think. Am I right?

3 Comments to “Awkward Conversation.”

  1. By clara, October 26, 2010 @ 11:39 pm

    Totally right. 1. information is important and knowing that not everyone does life the same way is CRUCIAL 2. you were respectful and gentle about imparting the information and gave her just enough that if she is curiouser she can find out more (maybe) or just be aware that everyone is different and there are as many reasons to breed as there are not to breed.

    It never ceases to amaze me the things – the family business – kids will talk about with people. It has made me very aware of what I say around my kids lest I hear it repeated to the person in line behind us at the bank machine, ya know? Between them and the Internet, I’m back to my Safe Closet for telling secrets.

  2. By Liz, October 27, 2010 @ 10:07 am

    Her disclosure was one of the freakiest parts. I mean, I don’t think I’d tell a kid that I categorically rejected a whole other person in order to create that kid.

    Then again, I am a pill-taking non-breeder, so my values are probably skewed.

  3. By clara, October 28, 2010 @ 9:11 pm

    I hear you.
    It might have been something she overheard. Busybody Aunties, Dad on the phone, that sort of thing. A surprising number of people either forget their kids are in the room or talk as though the kids are deaf.
    Although, that said, there are some people who take their kids to the same preschool as me that just boggle my effing mind with the things they say. So.

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