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Category Archives: Parenting

Mommy, What’s ‘Gay’? Oh boy…

Yesterday, when college football player Michael Sam went public with his sexuality (and honestly, I hate that…straight people don’t have to announce they are straight, right?), it was a big news topic. Without getting into the story itself, on why he did it now, the timing, etc, I want to talk about the blip in the radar it had for my kids.

My 7 year old was reading the headline on the screen, which said something to the effect of ‘Football player Michael Sam comes out as a gay man’. He read the line, and turns to me and says, “Mommy, what’s ‘gay’?”

I froze for a second, but not because I didn’t want to have the conversation. On the contrary, I was glad he asked. His 5 year old brother was right there, so they both patiently waited for me to answer, with inquisitive looks on their faces.

We believe in answering our kids with real answers, not just deflecting ones, because the more knowledge (factual knowledge) they have early on, the better off they will be later in life (in our opinions). First I tried bringing up the people we know that are gay. We have a female cousin that is married to a wonderful girl, my husband’s brother has a brother-in-law that has had the same boyfriend for some time now. Our boys are very familiar with them, though it never really registered that they were ‘different’ than other relationships (in the eyes of the public, anyway). Our next-door neighbor is also a lesbian.

They weren’t really ‘getting it’, so instead, I did some comparisons. I said you know how Mommy is a girl, Daddy is a boy, we love each other and are married? They nodded yes. So I said, ok, well if Mommy was gay, then I would love a woman and marry a woman, and if Daddy was gay then he would love a man and marry a man. I asked if they understood that information.

They both contemplated for a couple seconds (I could see the wheels working, likely imagining each of us in that scenario), and then simply said, “Ok!”, and then went on to ask me the next question on a completely different topic.

They had no qualms. No concerns. No issues with it. They just knew that people loved people, and men can love men, and women can love women in the same way that Mommy and Daddy love each other.

So simple. So basic.

It provided a little surge of pride for me, knowing that we are raising the boys to be tolerant, non-judgmental, and caring human beings. Can’t lie…we’re a bit awesome.

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I Suck at Teaching, this I Know.

Last night, I discovered that I would make a terrible teacher. Well, as far as younger kids go. I can instruct a coworker how to navigate a computer program without visual references, but teaching a kindergartner how to read? Nope. No way.

Yes, I have two kids, and the younger one is in kindergarten. This means the older one got through it fine, and I didn’t nearly have a mental meltdown while reading with him. Why the difference, you ask? Because the older one could already read. Has since he was 4. He picked it up easily, loves to do it, and didn’t require very much letter-by-letter teaching. He is also more like me, where you tell him once, MAYBE twice, and he’s got it. He recalls a word he has read, and knows how to say it the second time without prompting.

This time, though, his brother is not like me. Not like him. (Note: AND THAT’S OK, IT JUST ISN’T AS EASY)

Though my younger one is quite smart (scored easily above average on initial testing for most categories), he takes longer to learn. If he doesn’t get it right the first time, he guesses at the second, worse guesses at the third, and then just proclaims, in an exasperated manner, ‘I JUST DON’T KNOW!’ And I’m all, ‘but you JUST READ IT!’ And he’s all ‘OMG WHY DO I HAVE TO REEEEAAAAAAAAAAAD????’

You see the pattern here. The good news is that he does eventually figure it out, after I point out the exact same word that he read, a few lines prior.

I know, I know, I know, you are screaming at the monitor HE’S ONLY 5, GIVE HIM TIME!

I KNOW! It is something that I have to remind myself, and I have to actively force myself to be more patient, praise him when he gets it without help (and with), and just accept that a ten line poem may take fifteen minutes to read, and possibly some tears along the way.

It also helps if his dad helps him with his homework more often than I do. He has far more patience.

#motheroftheyear

I should really end this by thanking teachers everywhere, especially ones of younger grades, where they are introducing entirely new things on a daily basis. I’m glad you can do it, because I sure can’t. So, thank you, endlessly.