Monday, November 4, 2013

I've Honestly Never Seen That One On A Spelling List

The other day Adelaide and I were going through her spelling words; specifically, the words she and her teacher come up with to pad her spelling list and make it a bit more challenging.

Normally the teacher gives her a sound: short A, long O, etc, and she and the teacher take turns coming up with words containing those sounds.  Last week their list was comprised of double consonant blends; words like blend and scarf that both begin with two consonants and end with two consonants.

We were just about finished when Adelaide informed me that "I came up with another word but Mrs. C didn't write it down."

"Why?  What was the word?"

"I can't quite remember..."

She hemmed and hawed for another minute while I continued to fold laundry, then began to perk up.

"I know it had something to do with how babies are formed..."

Horror bloomed.

"Oh, yeah!  SPERM!"

I was silent for maybe two seconds while my poor brain processed this, then I began to laugh and didn't stop for a very long time.  Adelaide got a bit upset and embarrassed, but I told her she wasn't in trouble and that she'd just caught me off guard and she settled right down.

Right about now is when I should probably explain that when Adelaide was very young I decided I'd always do my very best to be as honest as possible with her, even when it was tough or uncomfortable (especially when it was tough or uncomfortable).  I do try to adjust some of my answers for age appropriateness to the endless line of questions that have been issuing from her mouth for the past six years or so.

It was this rather inconvenient pact that somehow caused me to one day find myself not only baking cookies with a six-year-old Adelaide but also having a rather comprehensive discussion on sex.  SHE JUST WOULDN'T STOP ASKING QUESTIONS.  For every question she asked, I gave her an honest answer (not brutally honest, though, okay?  More of a soft honest.  I used the correct terminology but I did what I could to not scare her.).  Because of this conversation she's had a somewhat premature working knowledge of human reproduction, which can be a little jarring when certain words (OR MORE QUESTIONS) come out of her little mouth, but at least I know her information is accurate and not a crazy playground legend some kid with three older brothers has been spreading (<----- that's actually happened at Adelaide's school already).  I've also cautioned her with the instructions not to make it her quest to educate her classmates (unless Little Brother strikes again- I don't see anything wrong with correcting erroneous information), not that it seems to come up much in the endless Cheetah and Turtle Shells games Adelaide plays at recess.

I did ask Adelaide what her teacher did when she suggested the word "sperm" for her spelling list (it is a double consonant blend, after all).  She said she smiled like she was trying not to laugh but didn't write it down.

Parent Teacher Conferences are this week.  Should be fun.


  1. It *IS* a double consonant blend, after all!!!! :)


  2. :-) As Emma has gotten older, and we've ventured into these conversations, she's much more likely to say "STOP! I don't want to know any more!"

    I find it interesting that venturing into the topic of sex can indeed sound like a very scary and bizarre thing when we're young. And yet later . . .

  3. I prefer you teaching Adelaide while baking cookies vs. the books Trinity dispersed (in 2nd-3rdish grade?). I definitely remember illustrations of sperm with faces... SPERM SHOULD NEVER HAVE FACES.

  4. My kids always asked questions on this topic when I was driving. And mostly when I was pregnant and driving. My son, especially, was very interested in the mechanics of the process. He is now in college, planning to be an engineer.

    My husband is a biologist doing research on the effects of estrogen in the brain, so in our family it's almost hard to avoid this topic. I think it is excellent to provide accurate (and age-appropriate) information. It won't be too long before Adelaide's classmates are more informed, too. And as you point out, the world is better off if they are accurately informed.


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