Friday, February 11, 2005

Mommy? Why do you have so many boyfriends?

My daughter is a thinker.

She'll think and think about something, and then suddenly, when I least expect it, she'll ask me a question.

And a lot of her questions recently have been focusing on boys and girls.

First of all, she wants to know why I have so many boyfriends. Of course when she says boyfriends, she really means boy friends, but it can make for an awkward moment in the Commissary.

She wants to know if Shamus is Patrick's boyfriend, because Shamus was at Patrick's house when she called him on the phone. She wants to know if Patrick has any girlfriends.

She wants to know why Mr. Mark would want to move in with his friend. "Is it a boy?" she wanted to know.

Now, as a parent, you are constantly balancing your kids need to know things with their level of understanding. I've heard so many parents go into deep explanations when all the kids' really wanted was a simple answer.

A great example was when my daughter's friend asked her mommy where her baby brother came from. The mother got all flustered and actually started explaining about pregnancy. And the little girl stopped her and said, "No, Mommy. I mean, is he from Texas?"

I've been guilty of it too.

So, I told her that I just happened to have a lot of friends who are men, but that I have a lot of women friends too. And I told her that men and women, and boys and girls, can all be friends. She wasn't buying the boys and girls part. She's five.

We have had a few talks about how all people are different. How people come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. And we've also talked about how all families have different rules. And by rules we really mean values. And we've talked about how that is okay.

And with all these recent boy/girl questions, we've also talked about how just like everyone looks different, and acts different, people love differently too.

So I'm starting to wonder. When is it time to tell her what "gay" means? When is that magic age when she is old enough to understand, but young enough that she hasn't been affected by other families' values of what is bad or wrong? Or, well, queer.

What do you guys think?

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