Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Birds and Bees in Chinese

I've been wanting to approach the PG-version of this topic with Ping for months. I first broached the subject with Ming's mom, wondering what her opinion was on discussing womanly issues with her granddaughter. I was desperately hoping she'd be up for the task, but I was quickly shot down.

“There's no need for that! She's too young! No need!” she assured me.

“But she could get her period soon. I got mine when I was eleven,” I rationalized.

“Impossible!” she declared. And that was the end of it.

Next, I turned to Ming for support, but he pretty much shared his mother's sentiments. Periods, sex, babies. . . no grade-schooler needs to learn about such matters! I asked him if anyone, at any point, had taught him anything about these things. They hadn't, which is probably why when we met, at 29-years-old, he thought people got AIDS from kissing. I didn't want Ping to be that kid. The clueless one who thinks you can get pregnant from a toilet seat or is convinced she is dying when her first period arrives.

Once I became pregnant, I felt like it was the perfect opener for discussing these issues with Ping. But my nerves kept getting in the way. How was I suppose to talk about this, and more importantly, how was I going to do it in Chinese? I told myself that as long as we had The Talk before William arrived, all would be well. Now that my due date is no longer some obscure date in the fairly distant future, I am feeling a push to get stuff done. The period + pregnancy conversation could wait no longer. The stars were aligned: Ming was at work. Ping was done with her homework. I was feeling motivated.

But I wasn't sure where to start. I can vaguely remember my own mother sitting me down on her bed one night when I was about 8. Out of nowhere, she explained the facts of life. I wasn't sure I could go It's Not the Stork, as well as I stack of tampons and pads. And Fei Fei. What better way to describe anatomy than by using your own dog!
photo by Beastyd74
via Photobucket
about it that directly, especially with the language obstacles I was facing. I needed props. First, was the trusty Children's Sexuality book (yeah, they make those) I had purchased back home,

With props in hand, I called Ping into our bedroom. My nerves quickly dissolved and I suddenly went into teacher mode. I started out with a simple question, asking her how her body and my body differed. Other than height, she couldn't think of any other major differences, which gave me an opening to explain. . . well, I won't go into details. You've probably had The Talk before and don't need it again from me.

While I didn't go into the fine details of everything and didn't even delve into the topic of sex, we were able to cover the basics about periods and a bit about how babies grow and are born. Ping seemed pretty comfortable with it all. Her only question was what umbilical cords are for. I think it's safe to say that she let me off easy! With the initial talk behind us, we are up and open for future dialogue. I think next time might be a little easier, maybe it will be in English.  

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