The bloggers of Fred Parent were asked if we’d like to chat about how we teach our children about where babies come from. Sounds like fun to me!
Frankly, I don’t see why there’s such a big fuss about talking to your children about sex. Maybe this is because I took a course in college called Biology of Women. I learned things about the female body, male body, and yogurt that I never could have imagined. That course ended with a hand-drawn picture of someone’s erect penis projected onto a movie screen at the front of the class. The picture was signed by one of the professors. Ugh.
I try not to think about that. I’m a very visual person and…Ugh.
Anyway, I was thoroughly prepared to teach on this subject. I simply give my children information, bit by bit, as they grow up. Being pregnant naturally facilitates conversations about how babies come into this world. I answer questions honestly, keep calm, use proper names for body parts (mostly because all the slang terms are stupid), and give as much information as I feel the child can handle. No sweat. In fact, I wouldn’t miss these conversations for the world. I think people ought to know exactly how the human body does this sex thing and how babies are birthed.
All was well in my little family life class, until one day I was walking down to the kitchen after quiet time and Polar Bear called from his room, “So, Mom, how’s your uterus?” It took a second for me to realize what he was asking.
He said, “Mom I figured out how the sperm gets to the egg!”
What exactly had my seven-year-old been reading?
He had found the magazine I was given while I was pregnant with Cookie Monster. It covers the development of a baby, month by month, from conception to birth. It’s a good resource to show a child how a sibling looks each month and talk about what’s going on in mommy’s swollen tummy. However, I thought the picture and description of the couple conceiving their child was a bit too much for young minds. Ditto on the picture of the woman screaming in pain while her labia bulged with child. So, I paper clipped those sections closed and that worked just fine…
…until Polar Bear decided to unclip the pages.
So much for sharing the information bit by bit. I explained everything in a matter-of-fact manner and I answered his questions casually, as I always had. Yep, the daddy’s penis really does go in the mommy’s vagina. Yes, that does seem like an odd way of going about the business, but that’s what God decided would work best. Yep, it is interesting. Yes, it does hurt a bit to push that baby out. It would be cool to see a new life born. Yes, dear, that really is how you were born.
I congratulated myself on handling that grenade with finesse and walked down the stairs with just enough time before dinner to tell my husband about my interesting day.
Cookie Monster was far less curious. When he was about 10, Hubby gave him a talk about how a baby gets in, how the baby gets out, etc. Cookie Monster said that was all very strange and thanked Hubby for letting him know.
Last November I noticed Strawberry’s best buddy was looking much more developed than my dear eldest daughter. Strawberry is only 9, but I decided that her BFF could very well start her period soon and if I wanted Strawberry to learn about these things from me, I better speak up.
So, one day I sat down with her and told her it was time to talk about babies. She got all excited because she thought I was pregnant. I explained Sweet Pea is still quite young. She said, “Oh, yes, you are still feeding her with your breasts. Mommy, when will I get breasts?” Great segue, right?
I explained how her body was going to change in the next few years. She was doing great, asking questions that were leading us right down the path I wanted this conversation to take. I was thinking, “Man, why do people sweat these conversation? It’s no big deal. In fact, I’m pretty good at it. Teaching about sex beats teaching about place value any day.”
Then she asked, “So, mommy how does the daddy’s sperm get to the mommy’s egg?”
I said, “Well, they have sex.”
Strawberry said, “Oh, I know all about that. I saw two people having sex, just the other day.”
I thought, “Son of a Motherless Goat! When did that happen?!”
I said, “Oh, really? When did that happen?” See, the key is to always be calm, like this is any other conversation. Even if your 9-year-old is telling you she’s already witnessed the act. EEEK!
She said, “The other day when Daddy took us to Walmart.”
I said, “Oh, huh, that’s interesting.”
I thought, “AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! Why didn’t Hubby mention this? Surely he noticed? No, I bet he didn’t notice. WHY didn’t he NOTICE?! Surely, that didn’t happen at Walmart. Then again, People of Walmart…I’m never taking my children there again! How could Hubby not notice?! Gah, I’m going to smack that man!”
I said, “I’m surprised Daddy didn’t mention that.”
She said, “Well, mommy, you were there too. You saw them. They were leaning against a car.”
I said, “Ohhhhhhhhhhhh… honey, they were just kissing.”
Then I explained what sex really is. She decided it’s kinda weird and explained to me that all the boys she knows smell funny, so she’s pretty sure she’s never going to do that. Then she laughed and said, “Definitely never in the parking lot of Walmart!”
That is an excellent plan.
Of course, having one slightly formal chat doesn’t complete that child’s education. I still have occasional chats with Polar Bear, but he and Cookie Monster tend to have Hubby field their questions these days. I recently overheard a conversation about butt hair, so I am really ok with them talking to him now. Strawberry has asked a few questions since our talk and I answer them as I always have. It’s an ongoing process and I’m glad to be the teacher and the mom so that I’m available nearly any time to chat.
I’d still rather teach about sex than about place value.
Seriously, what is so stinking hard about remembering place value?