“Guess what?” Sophie asked me, leaning in close. “Susie and Jimmy sexed.”
“They did what?” I asked, hoping that she was mispronouncing “text.” Maybe they got ahold of a cell-phone and sent a text-message, even though they’re only in kindergarten.
“What does that mean?” I was trying to keep my voice calm and neutral.
“They kissed each other here,” she explained, pointing to her crotch. She shivered and giggled.
Well, well. Probably I should stop blogging I-didn’t-expect-that-this-soon, since it seems to be such a common theme, lately. In kindergarten.
I thought for a minute, then decided that when Soph is hearing about sex from others is the time when she should hear it straightforwardly from me.
We happened to be crossing the street, in our crowded downtown, but that seemed as good a time as any. I said, “You know, Soph, sex isn’t just kissing,” She asked what it is, I told her, and then she gave the age-appropriate reply: “That’s icky.” I told her it might not be icky when she’s older, and eventually she’ll be old enough to be in love and have a baby, and that’s when sex will be appropriate — but not until she is in love and ready for a baby of her own. The whole conversation took about two minutes.
We’ll have this conversation again, I hope. As long as she’s talking to me and looking to me for information, I think I’m pretty comfortable with that.
What I’m not so sure of is whether I should let anyone else know about this piece of five-year-old gossip. I’m using pseudonyms here, of course. I’m friends with Susie’s mother and grandfather: should I mention it to either of them? I know I would want to know if someone heard this about Soph, but I also know it’s not an easy piece of information to share. Alternately, do I simply tell the kindergarten teacher? It could be a warning sign of some deeper problem in that household, and even a sign that one of the kids is acting out some sort of abuse the kid has experienced. Or it could be nothing at all.
UPDATE: I told the teacher, she talked to all families involved, and it turns out that, in her words, “some experimenting was indeed going on.” And now all the families who need to know, do know.