Let’s talk about the birds and the bees. Or how we talk to our kids about them.
I have been blessed(?) with a crazy precocious daughter. She was 5 when DS was born, so I bought her a couple of books for kids about having babies, etc. One of them was very factual in explaining that a baby was like a puzzle, made by a sperm from a man and an ovum from a woman.
Even after DS was born, she would ask to reread the book on occasion. A couple of years later she started asking, “But HOW does the puzzle get put together?” I would give short, factual answers about male and female anatomy and hope she would let it drop. But she wouldn’t let it go.
One day she blurted out, “HOW does it happen? Do you have to touch privates?” Yes, I replied as matter-of-factly as I could. “Can I watch?” she asked innocently. Um, no, I explained. It’s private. GAH.
Fast-forward to last week: she has to make a scrapbook for her Flat Stanley project, so I pulled out the scrapbook I made after our trip to Italy so she could see an example. It was in Florence that we discovered I was pregnant with DD, and there is a picture of me in the scrapbook holding up the positive pregnancy test.
Two days later we’re at Trader Joe’s and DD asks, “HOW did you know you were pregnant and should take a test?” Oy vey. I have always told myself I would be honest about these things, without going into gory detail, so I decided to stay factual.
“When you’re woman, every month you release an egg. When there is no sperm to make the puzzle, the egg gets released from the body as part of something called the menstrual cycle. When your menstrual cycle doesn’t come, it means you might be growing a baby,” I said. I shared no other details. Did I mention we were in the produce section at Trader Joe’s?
That seemed to satisfy her for the moment, and she let it drop. Until last night when, just before bed, she said, “Next time you have a menstrual cycle, can you show it to me?”
Have I mentioned she is 8 years old?!
I explained to her that no, I wouldn’t be showing her my menstrual cycle as it is private. I also told her that this summer we could start reading books on the subject (I already bought American Girl’s “Care and Keeping of You” book; any other suggestions?). Then she asked how old I was when I got my cycle.
“Almost 12,” I told her. “So I probably won’t get it until I’m 12?” she said. “Probably,” I said. “You’ve got plenty of time.”
So here’s the part where I beg you to tell me I’m not royally screwing this up somehow and unnecessarily traumatizing my daughter at an early age.
She’s just SO. DAMN. CURIOUS.
And perceptive, to boot.
How did you tell your kids the facts of life? Any advice, guidance, recommendations?
What else is on your mind today? Chat away!