It’s all fun and games until my kid asks me about the birds and the bees.

My oldest is a baby girl who is seven and a half years old.  Ahh, I can remember way back in the good ole’ days when I expelled her from my loins, and now she’s asking about them–oh, not technically asking about them.  But I have reason to believe that she’s trying to reconcile the stork theory of child birth with the “doctors cut you open and take out your babies, right?” theory.

First of all, there were no doctors “taking out my babies”.  There was just one board-certified maternal-fetal medicine specialist in that room–the rest were student observers, floor moppers (most important individuals in an O.R., if you ask me), 4 R.N.’s for me, an anesthesiologist for me, a couple E.M.T.’s to observe, two three-person neonatal teams for them (sidebar:  “Neonatologist” is too fancy for spell check to acknowledge as being correctly spelled.  Discuss.), and probably my insurance agent with a clipboard trying to calculate how this $100,000 pregnancy might eventually become financially advantageous.

Anyway, that entire paragraph was me trying to be humorous in order to forget the point of this post.  You would, too, if you knew the point was that the time has come for me to talk to my child about sex.

I haven’t yet looked for a clever, informative book to introduce the seven year old to sex.  I need to, though.  I know this.  It is time.  For her.  It is time for her.  It is.  Everyone needs to learn at some point.  I’m psyching myself up for it.  Yep.  Tooootally #1 on my “cool stuff I’m totally going to do” list very, very soon.

Her siblings–newly four years old–are now figuring out that they have body parts that they can’t always see.  Lauren recently spied herself naked in a mirror and declared that she has “a bum on her front”.  Say what?  Oh.  Uh, I think I get that.  Err.  Um.  Well?  Mm-hmm hey, let’s go get Meow Meow and Baxter and have a pretend tea party, yes?

Then Kyle, also four years old, realizes he has a “thingie”.  I glance away to grab a new diaper and BAM, my kid becomes anatomically self-aware.  I inform him that his thingie is called a “penis”.  He asks me what his penis is for.  “For going pee-pee, of course!” I cheek-pinchingly replied to my sugary sweet baby boy.  “What else?”  “What else?”  “What else is it for?”  he asked.  Huh.  Frankly, it was this conversation which made me the most uncomfortable of all my conversations with my children–and I am definitely not a wimpy mom.  Still I exclaimed, “Hey, that *beep* we just heard means that your iPod is finally charged, woo hoo!”  “Yeah, Mommy!  I want to play Monkey Preschool Lunchbox!”  Word.

And the world is back to where it should be.

So.  Taking suggestions on a birds/bees book for the seven year old.  I cannot emphasize enough how much I am not looking forward to this conversation.  What’s silly is that I bet it goes just fine–she probably knows more than I think.  She’ll probably have fewer “technical questions” than I fear.  In fact, ten bucks says she rolls her eyes and informs me she learned all this from watching Disney XD (I’m not sure what that channel is about, but any channel with an “X” in the name, well….).  If anything notable occurs, I will keep you posted.

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Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl.  Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for muscular dystrophy at Byrds for a Cure.

Comments

  1. Jacque says:

    I was recently pregnant with my third and my oldest who was 4 at the time asked how the baby got into my tummy, how was I going to get her out(which my husband replied, its like taking a poop). She also wanted to know where she was before I was pregnant with her and were the dinosaurs around then? Ohhhh the question in the car on the way to Preschool!

  2. Jenna says:

    I just happen to have been reading about this…
    Here’s what the book Child Behavior: The Classic Child Care Manual from the Gesell Institute of Human Development has to say.

    “Our first suggestion might be to try to think of sex as an unembarrassing, natural subject about which you are really qualified to speak… The chances are that you, as a parent, know the answer to any question your child may ask…

    Feel, if you can, confident and unembarrassed. Believe in yourself. Not what you say but how you say it is what will really influence your child.

    Second, let the child’s own questions be your guide as to what you tell. There is probably no safer rule. If you give only the information the child requests, and for the most part offer it only when asked, you will avoid that greatest error of all–telling too much too soon…

    A third suggestion is not to read too much into the child’s questions. Don’t let your own more detailed knowledge of the subject lead you to believe that he or she wants to know all the details when often a simple answer would suffice.

    Lastly, do not make the mistake of thinking that you have given this kind of information once and for all. Perhaps here more than with any other topic, the child asks and asks again. And you will need to answer over and over again, with increased elaboration and detail as the child matures…

    It is important when giving sex information to avoid bewildering the child. Often in our embarrassment we find ourselves talking around the subject and confusing more than we clarify…

    Simple, direct answers to their direct questions are most effective…

    If you find it too difficult to discuss matters of sex with your child, it may be best to provide him or her with books on the subject. A Baby is Born by Milton Levine and Jean Seligmann; Making Babies by Sara Bonnett Stein; How Was I Born? by Lennart Nilson; and Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle are among the good books now available.”