Kayla and I attended a marriage and family seminar at the Baptist Church in Corpus Christi. The preacher who led the class said the main thing to know about children is that you have to talk straight to them about ‘the business’.
He said to never use cute names for body parts, and not to use pseudonyms for the birds and the bees, which only causes confusion, and creates trouble later on. Especially with daughters, he said, dads must have the courage to tell it straight.
So, our little girl, at five years old, while we were all sitting at the table, surprised us with some awkward anatomical questions. I graciously yielded the floor to Kayla so they could have ‘the discussion’, and I went outside for some pressing work that couldn’t wait another moment, like making sure the grass was still growing.
Later that evening, the little one came and sat down next me on the couch and gave me a serious look. She said she had something important to tell me.
“Yes, ma’am?” I said.
“Daddy, girls have China.”
“Girls have what?” I said.
“Girls have China,” she said. “I know all about it.”
I knew that Kayla had taught her the proper anatomical names, like the preacher told us to do. The little one had obviously misunderstood the terms, and it was up to me to straighten it out.
“That’s right,” I said. “Girls have China. And do you know what they have in China?”
“In China, they have big cuddly koala bears!” I said.
“Oh, I love koala bears, they are so cute!” she said. “What else do they have in China?”
“In China, they have big cuddly koala bears and soft fluffy white tigers and really good Chinese food.”
“Oh Daddy! I love all of those things!” she said.
“That’s right, so always remember, girls have China, and boys have Africa,” I said, hoping to take the discussion in a different direction.
“Daddy,” she said, “that’s not right. Boys don’t have Africa.”
“They don’t? What do boys have?”
“Girls have China and boys have peanuts,” she said.
“That’s right! Boys have peanuts! And you know that you are really, really allergic to peanuts, right?”
“I am?” she said.
“Yes, you are now,” I said. “Really allergic. You will be allergic to peanuts until you are 30 years old. Got it?”