A friend told me recently that their daughter had gotten her period for the first time ever, and just…didn’t…mention it. OK. That got me Thinxing. As in, I’d been meaning to order some period underwear for myself to try, and then learned there were right-sized options for tweens — meant to order those for my girls — and then got distracted. Until I was reminded. Oh right, and when was the last time I spoke to my own kids about this? Yup, that too.
My kids are 8, 10 and 12 as of this week. And while open-minded and always open to conversation, I hadn’t really taken the time to intentionally have long, well-thought, informed conversations with my kids about body development, puberty, periods and sex (other than when it comes up conversationally), since well…back when we read the Little People books on things like ‘what we call our private parts’, and ‘why we call them private’, and ‘this is what they do’ and ‘your body is your body’. Since then, it’s been ad hoc. It’s been answering random questions as they arise. And with so many things to focus on simultaneously, well, I for one, dropped this ball for sure.
Once reminded, I did what moms do: I phoned a mom friend who is a bit ahead of me and asked…”are you on this? And how?” She shared a few books, and the fact that she reads them with her daughter. Thank you, J!
Right after I ordered that short list of books, I wrote to my 10-year-old daughter’s closest friends’ moms, and said “hey, are you on this?”, and shared my new short list of books. What I got in return, thankfully, was another list, one for the boys (oh right, them too,) one for kids in general (better yet), and one for the adults (thank you!)
Let’s Talk About Sex: Books + Resources For Parents & Kids
In considering our own short-and-growing, recently collected-lists-of-books-and-resources, I noted the void. In our little family, gender identification aligns conveniently with gender assignment, so far. We do have non-binary conforming friends, transitioning and transitioned friends. We have heterosexual, bisexual and homosexual friends, and friends at all the points on the spectrum of sexuality for that matter. And while I’ve had the privilege of sitting through very interesting talks on gender assignment, and its neutrality and range, my children have the privilege of living with friends in real life who have been brave from very young ages, and live their true selves in their young lives, which is to say that what I learned in a talk, my children seem to just know through their own experience with friends.
And they too help bring me up to speed, regularly — my kids, my kids’ friends, and my kids’ friends’ parents. I do not yet have any experience in working through that, as a parent, with my own children — but I note the void in our own books and resources here. This is not the end of this conversation—this is not a conversation where we leave that void, void; rather this is a conversation starter…one that will absolutely be continued and broadened. And I’m starting this with my personal life and my own binary, gender-conforming kids, and tagging a personal note to circle back to resources on this broader topic one day, too. We’ll happily take a volunteer if anyone wants to partner with us on that—and if we don’t find one right here, we’ll work to find a willing voice in our community.
I’m writing this post, in the same way as we start many conversations around here; it’s not so much a “here is the answer” as it is ‘here’s what’s on my mind’, and ‘these are my own questions and a few resources I’m looking at.’ I’m new at this. I was hoping for a book or two, and my mind was expanded by just a few of my friends. So I guess my hope, given that this blog is nothing shy of a tremendous resource, is that those of you who have either gone before us and/or maybe even are experts in this area, will engage the rest of us, and share some more resources and great ideas for how to have these conversations, better. For now, for those who are also new at this, here’s where I’m starting these more intentional conversations with my own kids.
Also, please note, that while I linked to the books through Amazon, if you are interested in supporting Black-owned businesses, independent bookshops, and/or an alternative to Amazon for whatever your personal reason might be: Uncle Bobbie’s and Semicolon Bookstore and Gallery through Bookshop.org both also seem to stock the majority of these books also and have reasonable shipping. Most of them can be located through a simple search on their sites. When I peeked to be sure, I found that Uncle Bobbie’s is local to Philly, and we like that, but Semicolon (Chicago) does seem to have slightly better prices, and we like that too.
Let’s Talk About Sex | For Parents
When a friend recommended these two books, I paused, and had a back-it-up mom moment of reflection. As previously stated, I’m new at this, so yes, some fresh perspective on addressing these topics specifically with children, but geared toward their adults is helpful. I’m working my way through both.
Books About Boy Bodies
What a gift it was, when my daughter’s friends’ moms also included a few boy books in her recommendations. A light went on for me. Yes, I have a son too, and since he’s my eldest, um, yeah-catch-up time. And a few other thoughts went through my mind as well, namely: we’re going to do a book trade in this house. He’ll read his, the girls will read theirs, and then we’ll trade. Because why shouldn’t we all understand one another better, how all bodies work, and how to support our brothers, sisters and friends? By the time we’re through with these, I’m sure I’ll have a favorite. For now, they are all easy reads, so we’re just going for it.
Books About Girl Bodies
The Care and Keeping series was the rec of the first friend I reached out to, and truth be told, I’m that sucker that always just clicks on the marketing pop-up that says, “you might also be interested in this.” Yes, yes I am interested in this too, #addtocart. Admittedly, for no good reason, I was slightly biased against the Care and Keeping books when I realized they were American Girl—but I trust that friend more. And I quickly learned that my no-basis bias was wrong. The books are great and take a holistic approach to everything about your young and growing body. Things that for those of us who have been in our bodies for 40-something years seem super-obvious, but well, there was a time, that we didn’t know all the things that these books manage to touch on. Things I wouldn’t even think to talk about, but are super-helpful. The girls are genuinely enjoying reading them, and we’re just about to move on to the Celebrate book, and looking forward to that too.
Absolutely genius. Where were these genius panties when we were kids? Well, they’re here now. We made little bags of tampons and pads for my 10-year-old’s bathroom drawer, one for her dad’s house, and one for her backpack too, but we also ordered some of these new fangled period underwear. And I ordered some for myself too. We’re still in the trial phase, we’re not necessarily in love with any of them for everyday, but for period days, they are kind of amazing and alleviate what otherwise would be stressful situations, and leaking and would be stains, seamlessly. Size up, but not too far up, they need to be snug-ish to work, right? But if you are b/n sizes, choose up, and for C, who is 10 years’ old, tall, thin athletic build, can fit in an 8, but is more comfortable in a 9, and not quite a 10 in normal clothes, we went with the 9/10 first, and they were too small, so then we told G congrats, you get some too now, and ordered 11/12 for C, and those are great on her with a bit of room to grow. Oh, and the Innersy are cotton, which C and I agree we appreciate, however they aren’t replacement, but rather extra protection. Same with the Anna and Eric set. The only ones that actually are intended as replacement, of these, and which have the absorbing quality, are the Thinx.
*And oh hey…by the way/that way, Thinx, is thinking, speaking, and acting at least about social issues and last week, they made a donation to the NAACP Legal Defense And Educational Fund, and also, as part of their regular mission, they do this: they educate and give back, toward equality. No, this is not a sponsored post, I’m just calling a few things out, where they might need be overlooked, if otherwise not called out, right here.
Books About Reproduction & Consent For Kids
Remember the first time your kids asked where babies came from? Mine are of an age, where that conversation happened earlier on than the consent conversations that thankfully came after. Explaining sex to kids only seems like a challenge until you need to help them appreciate consent. Thank goodness for books like these to help and guide those conversations.
Books About Reproduction & Consent For Tweens + Teens
I’m so relieved that we came across these books in these conversations as well. I personally appreciate looking ahead rather than scrambling to catch-up, and I feel like it’ll only be a matter of time before we get to the next steps of this. For my eldest, we might even be close if not there already, and so we’re starting with Embracing The Awkward (wouldn’t we all have been well-served to have a little guidance in that area back then?)
Are we all singing a little Salt And Pepper yet? Let’s talk about sex baby…
OK, back to reading all the books, and having all the discussions on this and so much more right now, like it’s a mom’s job. Send us your favorites, advice and lessons learned too, please! We’re all ears.
PS: Follow along with me on Pinterest for more Home Inspiration and other random distraction via pretty visuals. xo, A