Monday, January 20, 2014

The Birds and the Bees

When I used to blog over at skirt! magazine I wrote several times about the Birds and the Bees and the Flowers and the Trees. Unfortunately they took down the skirt! blogs but I went in before they did and I saved almost every single one.

This is a picture of me with my kids when they were four and one. At that time I hadn't given much thought to the fact that one day they would be 12 going on 13 and 9 going on 10. That was the furthest thing from my mind.

On skirt! I blogged about having to tell my daughter about sex. It was so much harder than I had ever imagined. If you had asked any of my girlfriends who would be the most comfortable one of us talking about sex they would have told you me. I have always been open about sexuality around my friends.

It was a completely different story when it came to the kids. Starting with my daughter, the eldest, I took the slowest route possible to explain sex. It all started with two books I used to read to them when they were little. When You Were Inside Mommy and Before You Were Born. Both of these made the beginning of the story much easier and one of them said that to make a baby it took a half from the mommy and a half from the daddy. One of them also mentioned that mommy has a special opening where the baby comes out.

As time went by and I explained menstruation to my daughter I could refer to the book and to the half of the mommy. It made it easier for her to understand that mommies have eggs. Of course later she asked me what did daddy have and I told her sperm. It wasn't until fourth or fifth grade that I was finally able to explain the whole story to her. When I finished she looked at me in a very uncomfortable silence and said, "Okay." I was mortified because suddenly I knew that she knew what happened between her father and I.

Fast forward a few years and now I have a nine year old son. I really expected for his father to explain these things to him but somehow I'm the one who has been asked the questions. Since I ripped off the Band-Aid and explained the whole thing through to my daughter I became even more matter-of-fact with my son. I decided that I would answer any question he asked as honestly as possible.

A couple of years ago he was taking a bath and he asked me what was inside his little balls. "Your babies," I answered very matter-of-factly. He looked at me perplexed. "My WHAT?" "Yes, your half of the babies," I replied. "Remember in the baby book when it says that the baby was made with the half of the mommy and the half of the daddy? Well your half is in there." After that silence and no more questions. He just pondered on that.

A few nights ago as I laid in bed chatting with him he asked me out of the blue, "How does the sperm get to the egg?" I braced myself and then I just answered the question as scientifically as possible but of course adding that the mommy and daddy have to be adults. When I got to the end he said quickly, "Okay, that's enough, I don't want to know any more."

So I stopped and I let him ponder on that. I'm sure he will come back with more questions and if he doesn't I'll ask him if he is completely clear. Given that I've never explained periods to him I know there is more that I need to explain. I have been a big mama coward in the past but not any more. I need to answer the questions directly and honestly as I can.

I've told them both that if they ever have any questions they need to ask me. I asked my daughter, "Who do you think knows more about sex? Me or a 12 year old girl?" My daughter replied that I did. "I will always tell you the truth," I told her and I hope that I have.

No comments: