I'm reading this book called Cinderella ate my daughter by Peggy Orenstein. I'll review the book once I'm done with it but the chapter I was reading put me in mind of some of Y's tough questions. The book says (I quote):
.....Regardless of how we dress them or decorate their rooms, when they are tiny, children do not know pink from blue. Then the whole concept of labeling kicks in - sometime between the ages of two and three, they realise that there is this thing called "boy" and this thing called "girl" and something important differentiates them. But whatever, they wonder, could that be?
......Until around age five kids don't fully realize that their own identities (and their own anatomies) are fixed. before that, as far as they are concerned, you could grow up to be either a mommy or a daddy. And they don't understand that other people's sex stays the same despite superficial changes until as late as age seven.
Moving on to some questions Y has stumped (and regaled) me with.
When I am big like you, will I still be a girl?
Is Thatha (grandfather) my husband?
When I grow up, my husband will be Anna (Ads).
My friend S has short hair. Is she a boy or a girl?
I want to pee standing up like Anna. Why can't I do it?
Why don't I have what Anna has (she is NOT talking about a toy here!)
When Anna wears a hairband, he looks so cute. Why can't he wear a frock? (Why indeed!)
Why did nobody tell me I'd have to answer such questions?!!
Of course, these are chicken-feed compared to the one I got from Ads. He scans the front-page of the newspaper every morning, I knew the question would come and I was surprised he took so long to ask me. However I was still unprepared when he asked me what "rape" was.
Kids don't, simply don't, need to know what rape is at this age. Not boys, not girls. When I read of little girls being violated, I am filled with impotent rage.
Note to self: It's a big bad cruel world out there. Figure out what to tell Ads if he asks you again. I've always answered his questions (even if it took me a couple of days to google and get the answer) and this issue needs to be treated with due sensitivity and caution, especially since we cannot escape the big headlines in the paper everyday. Any ideas, people?