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From the mouths of babes comes... WHAT?!?!?

My friend has a 9-year-old stepdaughter. (The "step" is utterly irrelevant to either of them, but important here, because it indicates that 1) he is not her only paternal figure, and 2) they have not known each other her entire life.) She's an adorable blonde moppet, smart as a whip and cute as all get-out -- and she uses both to ruthless advantage.

Recently, my friend told me that out of the blue she made the following pronouncement:

"Dad, when I get my period, I want to use pads. Tampons sound too uncomfortable."

To his credit, he handled this with amazing aplomb, dignity, and tact. (I believe ice cream was employed as a diversionary tactic.) He answered her calmly and reasonably and respectfully (once he finished scraping his brains off the inside of his skull), then took her for ice cream.

(I find myself suspecting she was after the ice cream all along, and knew that this would work.)

But it's little stories like that that make me so damned relieved that he's the one with the daughter, and reaffirm my decision to not have children of my own. There is absolutely no way I could have handled that without being reduced to even more of a gibbering idiot than I normally am.


Comments (20)

He should have told her not... (Below threshold)
dex:

He should have told her not to worry, they'll teach her all about in the 5th grade. That will give her a couple of years to stew over her decision. By then a couple of her best friends will be pregnant and he'll really have an opportunity to teach her something.

That's the thing about chil... (Below threshold)
Imhotep:

That's the thing about children, they teach you not to 'react suddenly', hear what they have to say, and you must do it all with a straight face!

This practice from home has worked wonders for me in the business world.

She wasn't asking a questio... (Below threshold)
goddessoftheclassroom:

She wasn't asking a question--she already knew the info.

I NEVER discussed such personal things with my dad, despite being very close. There are some topics that were kept private, i.e. between Mom and me (I grew up in the 70s). Now, thanks in part to public education, everything's out there for discussion. As a teacher, I have to scrape my brains off the inside of my skull when I overhear some of my students' conversations.

Hmmmm.Yep. She wa... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

Yep. She was after the ice cream.

To me that doesn't seem lik... (Below threshold)
Jay:

To me that doesn't seem like a big deal.

Which must mean I am already well prepared for my daughters to be that age.

She knew what she was doing... (Below threshold)

She knew what she was doing. His regular distraction method must be ice cream and she knew it.

And?I have two dau... (Below threshold)
Starboard Attitude:

And?

I have two daughters, aged 10 and 16. My step daughters are 12 and 14. I get questions like that all the time.

"Go see what your mother th... (Below threshold)
MikeTheLibrarian:

"Go see what your mother thinks." gets you out of many such tricky questions and statements.

You do not have children be... (Below threshold)
paul a'barge:

You do not have children because you are terrified of having an intelligent conversation with a child?

Doesn't that border on the self-involved?

goddess, as the father of a... (Below threshold)
dex:

goddess, as the father of a past and present nine year old I can tell you that they think they have all the info, but when they make such a statement one had better seize the opportunity. Since many children get ice cream instead of direction from uninvolved parents, public schools are nearly forced to step in. Look at teen pregnancies and those little multi-colored bracelets. TV and poor parenting are the real culprits.

Not only did I not know wha... (Below threshold)
Peg C.:

Not only did I not know what a tampon was at that age, I had no idea what sex was until I was 11. At which point my response to my mother was along the lines of "You have GOT to be kidding me." Of course I lived in suburbia, not on a farm, and was pathetically ignorant. Which IMHO is a good way to spend one's childhood.

Yeah, Jay, we're all gratef... (Below threshold)
Adjoran:

Yeah, Jay, we're all grateful you didn't have children . . . lol.

But it's easy to take these things too seriously from a child at a young age. The kid was really looking for reassurance that everything will be all right when she starts bleeding.

You remind me of the fellow whose young son asked him, "Daddy, where did I come from?" He took a deep breath, sat his son down, and talked calmly and rationally about every aspect of childbirth. Finally, relieved that it was all over, he asked his son, "Does that answer your question?"

The kid said, "I guess so. I was just wondering . . . Tommy says he is from Cleveland."

;-)

How the heck could he reply... (Below threshold)

How the heck could he reply to that? "Good thinking"? "I'm proud of you"?

How to reply? That's easy:... (Below threshold)
Starboard Attitude:

How to reply? That's easy:

"Ok, that sounds good. You probably have a few years to make that decision, and your mommy could probably give you some great advice if you ask her. She knows a lot more than I about these things, because don't have a c*nt you f*cking little sh*t!"

Now, while many will read t... (Below threshold)
Stepdadonlyinlegalsense:

Now, while many will read this, take to heart that I didn't actually deflect with ice cream on this one, ( the ice cream was when she was 7 and asked me why women can kiss each other with their tongues but men can't) I actually told her very good advice, didn't make her feel silly for asking, and I was proud she was comfortable telling me her opinion. It also reminded me how older cousins can blab a lot to younger relatives. However, for those who worry about what I said. Remember that despite the out of the blue surprize, I DID NOT crash the van we were in at the time ( a testament to my ability to focus and concentrate at milestone moments in my fatherhood experience)

How about "That's your choi... (Below threshold)

How about "That's your choice."

Actually, I quite agree with his stepdaughter. And that's all I'm saying about that.

If you are missing out on h... (Below threshold)
Ric:

If you are missing out on having kids due to the fear of a question like that ...

I am going to question your manhood friend. :-)

I've often said that if som... (Below threshold)

I've often said that if someone doesn't want to have children they shouldn't have them but it's hard, really hard, not to say "But stuff like that is the FUN part!"

My husband was scared of his baby girl for about two days, about as long as it took for me to recover from giving birth and tell him to get his head out of his back-side. Parenting is learn-as-you-go. It seldom comes in bits so big you can't deal with them. By the time you've done all the doctor stuff having the kid, delivery, diapers and body fluids... a remark about tampons over pads is chump change.

Synova is exactly right.</p... (Below threshold)
Starboard Attitude:

Synova is exactly right.

In fact, there are worse things most people hear from their 9-year-olds, especially if they have older siblings.

It's all good.

If menstruation is an issue, it's likely you'll never make it to fatherhood in the first place. But, if after wiping the vagina and anus of excrement for two years doesn't break the ice a little, then watching them play with themselves as they go to sleep from 4-6 will (before they become discreet). Then you can watch them learn to dance, fall in love with Johnny Depp, and shop for training bras. There is a continuum of behavior that prepares fathers so "pads or tampons" barely generates a response.

Wait until you hear 10-year-olds talk about who has boobies and who doesn't. Who has hips and who doesn't. Blah blah blah.

I guess Jay just isn't cut out for fatherhood.

Just glad I had a SON... (Below threshold)
Taf Morgan:

Just glad I had a SON




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