~"Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell- the name will carry."~ Bill Cosby
I think that it is normal for every parent to look back on their own childhood when raising kids. To take the successes and failures of your own parents and apply it to how you raise your children.It's finding the balance that can be hard. I struggle with it constantly. It isn't that my childhood was terrible. It wasn't. It is more that my mother was very proper-exceedingly so. In other words-none of us existed from the chin down or ankles up. It was "Sans Genitalia" house. Puberty and all the adventure that it brings was handled with a booklet-from the church. Which basically said everything that you were thinking, feeling or possibly doing or thinking about doing was WRONG. Sex was for procreation! NOT recreation! Behave as if the blessed mother were in the room with you-always...all others WILL go to hell-with the possibility of blindness and hairy palms. Although, by the time I reached puberty-things had changed. Sex ed. was taught in school..which meant that my mother didn't have to involve herself(or her pamphlets) at all. Which I think greatly relieved her-because,If she didn't have to know-then it didn't exist. This was not easy for me. I had questions..concerns...worries. But I knew that asking my mom would be a mistake. I think that I took years off of my mothers life when I just happened to(unthinkingly) say "Fallopian tube" out loud one day. (go ahead say it...it kind of rolls off of your tongue..Faaaaalllllllooooopian..see?) She turned and said "WHAT did you SAY?" in that way that mothers have when there child has said or done something entirely improper. So, I responded as any child whose well being felt threatened would. "Nothing!"I said quickly...and that was the extent of education at home.
I have tried to do things differently with my kids. I have to admit-it is really hard. I was raised to be a prude..so, discussing these things sometimes kills me. It has gotten easier over time and with each child. For instance, I hardly ever snicker when I say the words penis or vagina any more.(although they aren't as fun as Fallopian tube) I try and be as honest, straight forward and open as possible. Which is no mean feat-especially when you are standing in front of the feminine hygiene display in the store-and your four year old wonders in that voice four year olds always seem to have in public "PADS FOR LADIES?" "WHERE DO THEY PUT THEM?" or "WHY ARE YOU GETTING TAM POONS? CAN I HAVE SOME?"(I have learned to just keep walking in those situations-they'll catch up...and hopefully be distracted by something else. I always plan to discuss these things later at home-but then of course- they aren't interested) But I have persevered. Right now, I have a fourteen year old and a twelve year old going through the joys of puberty. One has asked me many many interesting questions...and one I have had to actually sit down and make sure of what he knew. They are so very different from each other..and it makes me laugh. Sam, is very private about things.. sensitive even. ( He likes being the oldest because it lets him say things to his brother and sisters like "You'll understand when you are older.") Oscar on the other hand is very open and at times rather bawdy...especially when he knows it will make you uncomfortable.
"Mama! Tell Oscar to get off of me!" (me- not really paying attention)"Oscar get off of Sam."...."Mama! Tell him to stop it!" ..(still not really paying attention) "Oscar-leave Sam alone.".."OSCAR! Get off of me!..MAMA make him stop!" (got my attention now) "What is he doing?" "He keeps trying to kiss me and hold my hand!" "Oscar-leave Sam alone." "But I LOOOOOVE him!" "Oscar get off of me!" "Oscar quit it-leave your brother alone." "But I'm just practicing."..."Get off me Oscar".."But I'm practicing for when we get married!" "WE ARE NOT GETTING MARRIED!".."BUT I LOOOOOVE YOU SAM! "Oscar, come on-we are brothers..brothers don't get married"..."LET. ME. KISS YOU!"... "Mama!!!!" "But I want to kiss him!"...At this point, I'm laughing too hard to do much of anything."Sam-he's just messing with you-Oscar quit bugging your brother"..eventually Sam saw the humor in it-and Oscar left him alone. Oh how I wish my mom were around for it though...She would have loved my kids..although I think that Oscar would have aged her..on purpose.
I think that all kids are born with personalities intact. Of course their upbringing is going to play a role in who they become as adults. But I think that basically they are who they are and there is not a whole lot that you can do to change that. (at least in a happy household) My kids are good people and I am enjoying(mostly) watching them grow up..raising them up. Although I still struggle with reconciling bits of my childhood-especially in the choices I make in teaching them. Everyday is an adventure...mostly good.
My nine year old has been coming home with "interesting" questions lately. She's been hearing "things" on the playground at school. Since I have always told my kids to "ask me anything-I'll always tell you the truth"..she has had no qualms whatsoever in coming to me. *sigh* Sometimes I wish I could just give her a pamphlet.