Where we talk about breasts!

That is as forthright as I’m going to get.

Recently, I had a good talk with my 6 year old curious mind about, you guessed it, breasts.

We had just wrapped up playing a round of snap. I was gearing up to get on with the rest of the day’s chores, when Namnam came to me for a cuddle, and burst out laughing while trying to peek into my shirt. This went on for two to three times. Each time she hugged, she would look at my breasts and start laughing.

I asked her, “What happened, Namnam? Why are you laughing?”

She said, “Nothing”.

I asked her again, “What is it, tell me?”

Again, “Nothing”.

I keep my cool, laugh with her and ask her again, “Is it some kind of a game you play?”

She said, “Yes. I am laughing at your ‘this’ (pointing to my breasts)”.

I knew then and there that it was time for one of those talks.

She obviously didn’t know what ‘this’ was called so I decided to introduce the term to her and said with the smile intact, “Yes, THIS is my breasts”.

And continued, “So what game is it that you play?”

That’s when she divulged that she and her friends played this game where they would show off each other’s ‘breasts’ and laugh.

Now, 6 years of parenting have given me a lot of instances to learn how a child’s mind works. Of course, I’m not yet adept at grasping their minds..I’m still learning though. However it doesn’t alarm me anymore when I hear of all the games kids of today indulge in. I had even blogged about one such game here.

So I won’t be lying if I said that I was expecting to be faced with a situation when my kid also might come across a game of this sort at some point of time. And although I have known that there may not be A right way to address such a situation, yet as a parent it would be in my hand to address it in as apt a way as possible.

So..coming back to our talk, when I learnt about this game that Namnam played with her friends I realized that if I had to ensure my child didn’t get any wrong notions about things as basic as parts of her body, I would have to explain things to her in an appropriate and frank manner.

I told her that breasts were as important a part of our body as any other. So they were not something to be made fun of, but something a woman should be proud of.
I said that I was proud to have them because they helped me make her, my baby, stronger when she was born. I went on to tell her her how I used to breast feed her and continued feeding till she was about two. To which she asked if she could be fed like that even now. I explained that breast milk would not be enough for her anymore since she was big now and in need of healthier and more nutritious food..
I said that, she would have them too when she is bigger and when she does, she too must be proud to have them. I told her that one day she may also breast-feed her babies. Her instant reaction was, “Babies? Noway! I will have just one baby…ONE!!” 😀

Well….anyway, I, then reminded her of the conversation we had had once about baby-making. And she remembered all that I told her about how and from which part of me, she was born. It gave me a good chance to remind her that genital area was another important part of her body which she had to guard extremely well. I went on to explain how she must take care of each and every part of her body, not let anyone touch her inappropriately. I was happy to realize that she remembered and agreed with that bit.

I don’t know how well she registered all that I said, but I felt nice to have been able to explain things to her openly. Because this way I could cover topics which were otherwise considered taboo and sensitive, make her understand that she didn’t have to ever feel hesitant or embarrassed to talk about them with me or her father.

This little talk that we had is not such a big deal..yet. I know that. The day is not far when her curious mind will come up with a lot more detailed queries and then I will have to be ready with equally detailed answers. But what this conversation has given us is a good grounding for any future tackling of sensitive issues with frank and open discussions.

I have seen that, when it comes to talking about serious issues like sex, body parts, etc. a lot of parents cringe at the slightest possibility of clarifying their little ones’ inquisitive minds at work. And frankly I didn’t want to be one such parent.

I remember reading in a book on parenting where it was advised that if parents adopted the practice of referring to body parts, especially the genital parts, as their actual terms, instead of substituting them with cute names like “wee-wee” or “mee-mee” when talking to their babies from early on, then it would go a long way in doing away with the stigma attached towards sex or such taboo subjects.

I quite liked that advice, to be honest.

The more you charade words with cute alternative names, the more you build a taboo around them, the more you mislead and confuse your children.

Whereas the partcular practice adviced in the book would help in building a great level of comfort, openness and honesty in the way children and their parents communicated with each other.

I feel that kids of today are exposed to things a bit more explicitly, than the kids of years gone by. So the least we, as parents of today, can do is encourage them to express their doubts or curiosities openly with us, so that they never get misled into drawing wrong conclusions and interpretations, right?

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31 thoughts on “Where we talk about breasts!

  1. About three years ago, when we were busy scouting around to buy a home, my son suddenly pointed to my breast and asked,” Amma…are these your breeests?” I was flabbergasted at the question, least expecting it to pop up in front of our realtor, an Indian guy when I was seriously looking at the staircase placement, LOL!! I quickly pulled him aside and hissed, “Yes, but please remember to ask questions when we get home. This is not the time or place…..” Was thinking aloud more than telling him, I think. We haven’t talked about it specifically, but I don’t quickly hide bras from the laundry like I once used to. They’re simply – amma’s underwear. Yes, It is important to be matter of fact about body parts, their functions and names. Nothing good come out of shushing them, makes them more curious in fact.

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    1. LOL! Breeests!

      Absolutely agree. There’s no point in hiding things from your children or shushing them. The more you hide the more curious they get. Once Namnam too, while pointing at a strap on my shoulder wanted to know what it was. She was told too that it was “Amma’s underwear” and it was called a bra 🙂

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  2. It goes a long way on how children get information on these things. I remember a slightly embarrassing situation I had put mom in once when we had gone to the super market with an aunt and her kids (my cousins). I was the youngest in them, and I saw a sign for panties, and told her very loudly that I wanted a pair of panties. When she spoke to me about it , I told her that I assumed panties werelike pants. While, this is just a minor thing, assumptions and misinformation from others about genitals and other aspects can much serious effects.

    The school was nice though, it gave us two sex-edu sessions in which all this was covered.

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    1. Very true. Any misinformation or even an attempt to hide information can mislead the children and have adverse impact on them.
      Yes adequate sex education classes in schools also can certainly help children.

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  3. Good on you! Loved the way you spoke to your daughter without embarrassment. I always maintain that it is our own reticence and shame that makes us not approach these topics with our kids naturally.

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    1. Hey Rachna! I’m so sorry to have missed this comment of yours. For some odd reason your comment went to my spam folder. Since I am on a vacation couldn’t log in earlier to approve it.

      I completely agree, its our own reservation and narrow mindedness that make us stay away from discussing such topics of grave importance with our children.

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  4. Well said, Deeps! I read this last night, and suddenly when I wanted to write in, the post disappeared! 😀 Glad it’s back!
    Even nowadays, in fact more so nowadays, when we must MUST talk about all this growing up detailing to our children, there is still a hesitation. Traditional mindsets, sometimes narrow minded elders, and a restrictive society. All of these things do make one really angry! Why can we not, at least, to our own children, be honest? It’s something that really gets me!

    Which is all the more reason I must applaud the way you patiently and beautifully told her, in the way you did. Great job 🙂

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    1. Since I was posting from another network, I wasn’t sure if my post was published. So had to switch it back to ‘Draft’ and publish it again :). Sorry for that confusion, Ushus 😀

      Thank you so much! I completely agree, today there is a growing need to talk to our children more openly, be more honest with them, so we can ensure they are not misled or misinformed in any way. But sadly a lot of us parents still hesitate purely because of narrow mindsets, restrictive societies as you rightly pointed out.

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  5. Loved this post, Deeps. Completely agree with the practical advice you have given here. Kudos to the beautiful, open way you discussed the matter with Namnam, sating her curiosity and teaching her to value her body at the same time. 🙂

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  6. Very well put, Deeps. “The Talk” is important to be delivered early, clearly and without taboo. In fact, the best way seems to be to not make a big ruckus about “the talk” at all but consider it a part and parcel of business as usual.

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  7. DI, you have given me a solution to a problem I have been having with Lil Love. She has a habit of peeping into my shirts too…the troublesome part is tthat she does it in public places like temple, marriages etc. She’ll peep in and loudly announce, “Amminjha, Amma’s amminjha”, leaving me completely embarassed. We have tried to explain it to her in lil ways, but she doesn’t have the patience to stay and listen. I am not sure if it is time to talk to her so openly because she’s just going to be five. With Anu, I could handle her well because she was a bit mature and wasn’t uncontrollable like this one. Would love to hear your take on how to handle her.

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    1. You could probably explain it in the same way I did to Namnam, by telling her how important a part of our body breasts are, in as simple a manner as you can. She is a sharp girl, I’m sure she will understand :).

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  8. How you deal with such queries and issues leaves a mark on children. It all begins at home… the attitude that the child later goes on to imbibe. It’s so awesome that you dealt with it so well 🙂

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  9. You dealt it quite well Deeps….my girls used to feel shy to pick up bra from the laundry…I told them it’s part of our body like all other parts…it’s a normal to have breast…you both will have once to grow big…there is nothing to feel shy about them…….

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  10. Very well said, Deeps! Yes, it is very important to handle these things pragmatically and keeping a very straight face 🙂
    Son keeps saying ‘dick’ – a term that he picked up from school. Naturally, daughter picked it up as well. After a session of explaining the terms, she now goes around talking about her vagina , we have told her the sensitivity of such things and how these things are not normally discussed in public. Fingers and toes crossed now 😀

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  11. You handled it so well, Deeps! The book you mentioned, says it so well, doesn’t it? If we create a taboo over such discussions, we just end up confusing and misleading them. I remember the time when daughter figured out that there is another way of a baby being born(apart from the doctor cutting open the mum’s tummy, like she was born), I explained it to her, and she kind of understood and moved on. I was dead worried about how I would handle it, but it was far easier to tell her the facts in a matter of fact way, actually, like you did.

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  12. Hats Off to u Deeps… the way u handles things with Namnam! 🙂 it has to be done that way.. until n unless u speak up, the child will not be able to understand things important to them…

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  13. My God Deepu, I am so proud of you, you handled it so well, I do not know why? but when you do such things all I am reminded about is your baby face and pigtails at school and how you have grown into such a mature woman, lots of love and hugs to you (())

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