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Curious Little Monkey

March 3, 2010

During my laundry marathon over the last two days the children were prohibited from playing in the family room where the neatly folded piles sat on every horizontal surface. When it was time to put the piles away Monkey was eager to help. (That made me smile and cringe all at the same time as the coordination of a 3 yr. old and a stack of neatly folded clothes doesn’t always mix so well).  He ended up being very helpful, yet curious at the same time.

“What are those?’ he asked pointing to my stack of bras.

“They’re my bras.” I replied as I handed him another stack of clothes to carry out.

I always try to answer his “uncomfortable” questions truthfully with the simplest answer possible. Almost all the time a very simple answer satisfies his question. Occasionally he will ask for more details and then I tell him a little more, but still being as simple as possible. I feel it is important to let the children know about their bodies and often times in trying to “protect” them, parents lie to their children to avoid an uncomfortable topic.

Proverbs 12: 19-20 tells us:

19Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
20Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.

Giving a truthful answer is always the right way. That doesn’t mean to tell your 3 yr. old every physiological difference when they ask how boys and girls are different, but giving them a short truthful answer will satisfy their question and keep you from having to re-explain why you told them something different last time.

When we came back into the room Monkey asked about the bras again. He had clearly been mulling this one over.

“Your bras are for the milk that babies drink, right?” (This is the way Monkey asks about 75% of his questions. He comes up with his own answer and then just wants you to confirm that he is right.)

“Some kinds do help Mommies feed their babies. That’s right.”

And that was the end of the conversation. He just wanted to know what that article of clothing was called and what its purpose was. No need to give the entire history of the bra and how to use every adjustable strap.

I was refreshed to read about a man who also responded to childrens’ questions in this truthful “need-to-know” manner.

Last week we visited the Children’s museum with the three kiddos. It was The Chiefs first visit. He spotted this book in the toddler room where we were able to let the kids run free.

The book is full of letters (most written by kids) sent to Mister Rogers. He published these letters along with his responses to them. It is quite a humorous read. Besides being funny, he models a wonderful way to address the questions of children. Here was one of my favorite letters:

He goes on to tell the boy how his “house” is just for television and he doesn’t live there. When he needs to poop he uses the restroom in the building where he works. Mister Rogers even sent an entirely separate letter to Isaac’s father thanking him for talking openly about things like this with his son. I was amazed to discover that Mister Rogers wrote back to every person (with a return address) that asked him a question. He genuinely cared about each one.

Sometimes I can be so dismissive of my own kids constant questions. But I must remember that they ask only to learn.

What kind of questions do your little ones ask you?

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 3, 2010 4:56 pm

    I love this!

    I, too, get lots of questions from my four. My husband and I share your philosophy of “short truths” to satisfy their curiosity. I pray it also helps build their trust in their parents.

    “Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings
    And the years of thy life shall be many.
    I have taught the in the way of wisdom;
    I have led thee in right paths.”
    ~ Proverbs 4: 10-11

    I have recieved a lot of questions about Mommy Milkies when I have a baby in my arms. But I think the funniest questions I get are the ones about “how does the doctor get the baby out.”

    “Did Daddy help get it out since he put it there?” {I don’t know how that child thought Daddy put it there; we said God did.} “Did it hurt very much when Daddy cut the wire {cord}?” And “push the baby out of WHAT, exactly?”

    By the way, the answer to the last question is “mommy’s special opening for babies to come out.” It really worked. *phew!*

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