Yesterday, Coraline and I were watching some Felicity. It's generally very G rated and frankly I'm winding down from Buffy marathon. I was barely paying attention to the screen but I heard someone tell someone else they were gay, I barely looked up to see who it was. Coraline was sitting next to me and this conversation followed:
Coraline " Mom, I'm Gay"
Coraline " What does Gay Mean?"
Me: "It means happy"
Coraline is 3.5 years old, I am fully aware that this is a teaching moment. I am not that person who shelters my child from knowledge, right? I am all accepting, all giving of wisdom, all full of life experience and hippie/hipster/attachment parenting/new thinking....right! I am in the cool parent group..."my daughter knows the word vagina" etc. You know what I am saying. And then you are faced with a question and in the moment before you answer, you rethink everything all at once.
So here is what I thought and why I answered the way I did.
This is not a teaching moment. This is not that moment you have prepared for where you will spew your carefully thought out descriptions of what homosexuality is and why how you can't choose who you love and how some people don't like other people based on their preference.... No. Not this moment. You know why? Because she is 3. She doesn't know what sexuality is let alone distinguishing between types. Why should she know that? How will that help her in her life at this moment? Why would I needlessly confuse my child? Why would I stress her out? She asks her sister and father daily if they will marry her, this is her level of knowledge when it comes to coupling.
I'm not keeping her in the dark, she once randomly told me that some families have two mommies and some families have a mommy and a daddy. She understands some basic level of arrangements. Enough for a 3 year old. I am worried that there is an entire generation of parents that have taken this "knowledge is power" thing way too far. They are bombarding their children with a weird liberal agenda starting from day 1. Which makes me sound like Charlton Heston defending my right to own a gun, which is so so far from who I am. I am a liberal agenda, I swear. I just don't want to push it onto my child when she is 3.
Coraline was asking a passing question that she was barely interested in at the time. I answered with an age appropriate answer that satisfied her response in an accurate way. I'm sure it won't be long before she comes home from school with some idea that will lead us to sit down and talk things out. Just like she has for some reason decided that boys don't wear makep. This is not an idea she got from this house. At every mention of this idea, I open a dialog and talk it out so we realize that if boys want to wear make up they can, and just because it isn't the most usual thing, it isn't wrong.
If my daughter is gay, that is great. I honestly don't care. I don't care so much that I don't think about it. What I do think about is that I'd like very much for her to stay in the dark about sex and sexuality as long as possible. Because as a parent I want you to remember... you can't take knowledge back. You can't unknow things. You can't regain your innocence.