A group of old-school-friends-now-best-mama-friends and I chat about motherhood a lot, our personal Brains Trust. We message each other with questions about things big and small, we empathise with each other over motherhood moments, we laugh a lot and we laugh loud, we get together to eat unashamedly huge servings of cake or have a wine together at midday on a Thursday while our kiddies tear around the yard. And we live for each other’s book recommendations. In this season of life it’s either a recommendation for something new for our kids to read, or something for us to read about parenting our kiddies.
I thought it would be fun to collate the recommendations here into a little Mama’s Bookclub, and I’m kicking it off with a doozy!
With all of us having at least one child in primary school, the topic of talking to them about puberty and the birds and the bees came up recently. We all agreed that we wanted to approach the conversation with far less embarrassment than we felt about it and that we wanted to start the conversation in a very simple, matter of fact kind of way. As it should be really. Another friend told me about a book she’d bought for her children - The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made by Fiona Katauskas. I’d gone ahead and ordered it, though I’d tucked it away on a high shelf - one; because I wasn’t sure if my eight year old was old enough to read it yet, two; we wanted to read it front to back before she did, and three; we weren’t sure if we were ready for the inevitable questions.
My eldest daughter knows the book exists and what it’s called. She’s been asking lately to read it, today I said she could read the first few pages and we’d leave the rest for the weekend when her dad was home too. But when her sister woke from her morning nap, she kept on reading while I was busy there. Seeing as she’d already read the part I was cringing over, I said she could finish the rest of it. When she finished she said “I’ve just got one question...” then proceeded to flip back to the page I wasn’t sure she was ready to read and asked precisely the squirm-worthy question I wasn’t sure I was ready to answer. We discussed it more briefly than I thought we would and then she moved onto asking how they knew that babies growing in a woman’s uterus (she’s got all the proper words now ;) were the same size as foods, and was she ever as small as an apple seed?!
Once we (I) got past my awkwardness it was really great. She is amazed at what our bodies are capable of, she’s eight years old and the simplicity of the text, the subtle humour and drawings suited her perfectly. I loved that all the facts were presented without fuss, all of the correct terms were used and how gently it eased her into the whole thing. The book starts with physical gender differences, how bodies change in puberty, explains fertility, sex, baby development in utero and birth. Then it moves onto explain surrogacy, IVF, multiple birth (she loved that), breastfeeding & formula feeding.
What I loved most though was that this book facilitated a conversation I was desperate to have go well, but was really stuck on how to do it well. I never want my kids to feel awkward about talking with me about anything, but I know that starts with me not making it awkward in the first place.
Now I’m on the hunt for a good book presented in a similar fashion, about girls puberty ... any suggestions?