Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Recommendation

I know I've recommended this book before, but I can't help it! It's designed to be read in stages--from diapers to dating--so I'll be coming back to it again and again as Henry grows. 

We've been following the book's advice to label the parts of the body using accurate terminology. Henry is particularly interested in learning new vocabulary, so it's felt like an easy and natural time to help him learn about the human body in a non-shameful way. 

Since Henry is rapidly approaching his 2nd birthday (at the end of February), I went ahead and read the chapter on "The Preschool Years: Ages 2 to 5." Lots of the content was too advanced for where we are, but a couple things stood out:
  • "During the preschool years, you will have many more opportunities to provide a beginning sexuality education to your children...Anticipating some of these potential teachable moments will allow you to give your messages about sexuality in a calm, relaxed way."
  • With regard to using accurate names for the body parts: "Try to be calm and matter of fact. You want to try to convey a message that all the parts of the body are good and special, and that all the parts of the body have their own names."
Also, the section on preschoolers recommended the following books when introducing a new baby into the family:
  1. How You Were Born by Joanna Cole
  2. How Was I Born by Lennart Nilson and Lena Katarina Swanberg
The books feel a little outdated, but they seem helpful nonetheless. I think it's really important to start the conversation about these topics while it's easy and comfortable. The longer we wait, the harder and more uncomfortable it's going to get.

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Carrie said...

I bought that book the first time you recommended it, and I did like it. On Saturday, I had a proud moment when, for some reason, body parts came up at my mom's house with my almost 4-year-old. He said something about his penis, and I said, "What do I have instead of a penis?" He proudly stated, "'gina, because you're a girl!" Close enough on "'gina". :) Then he went on to discern correctly who has what of his dad, Grammie, Grandma, his brother, and Grampa. He also told my mom he grew in my "uterus". And it was all matter-of-fact. :)

Julia said...

Just out of curiosity, do you use "anus" as well? For the sake of consistency it makes sense, but then again even adults rarely use the technical term, so it seems odd.

Sara E. Cotner said...

I'm glad you like it, too, Carrie! I skimmed the sections about how to handle children who touch their genitals or explore naked play with friends. I thought the book gave very helpful advice for responding to all sorts of situations.

Hi, Julia! I sometimes use the word "anus" with Henry like when we're wiping him during a diaper change or cleaning him in the bath. More often, I'm referring to his whole butt.

As a side note, the book recommends the word "vulva," but I use "vagina" instead. I don't care if vulva is more accurate; I never hear anyone using that term and I think it's confusing.

Carrie said...

I'm with you on vulva vs. vagina, Sara. That word is rarely used, and I think we need to give our kids words that can be used to effectively convey messages to the average person, even if it is at the expense of technically perfect words.

Carrie said...

And as to anus, I never use that word, especially since there is very little need to label that part of the body in common parlance. We say bum or butt ("did you fall on your bum?", eg). I don't think the book needs to be followed EXACTLY. I think the point is that we shouldn't be calling body parts ridiculous names in order to make ourselves feel more comfortable labeling body parts (ie, "cupcake", "wee wee", etc.).

Julia said...

Haha "cupcake".... I guess somebody out there is saying that but it seems strange.

I think the idea of saying "butt", or "bottom", or some variation makes more sense in that situation, since that's the way people actually talk. And I agree about "vagina" too. This book sounds really interesting though!

Lexie said...

I'm not sure if you've already discussed on here how/where you're planning on delivering your next baby, but my midwife loaned us Welcome With Love by Jenni Overend to read to my 23 month old. It is a story about the homebirth of a younger sibling, and my daughter is fascinated by the images of the baby being born and is always excited to point out the "'acenta" [placenta]. I'd highly recommend it if you're planning a homebirth!

Also, a belated congratulations on your pregnancy. :-)

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