These are the last days of school. I’m trying to make the most of them with my youngest by having our morning one-on-one time while waiting for his bus. We did just that today, just talking and waiting as the rain fell.
All I was trying to do was play a little math problem solving game with him, and lo and behold, it turned into the beginnings of THE talk.
I was not going to write about this funny conversation with my youngest child, my eight-year-old boy who is a bit worldly thanks to big brother and sister.
However, Blogher and Venus Embrace are putting bloggers up to the challenge of writing about tips of how to have a talk about sexuality with your kids for a $50 Visa Card giveaway, I would take them up on their opportunity.
So, there we were waiting for the bus when my son asks how old his grandparents, my parents, were when they got married, and how old they were when I was born.
Perfect. Time for a little math while waiting for the bus.
Me: Grandpa was born in 1940 and he got married in 1965.
Son: So… he was 25.
Me: Right. Okay, Grandma was born in 1943-
Son: So Grandma was 22.
Me: That’s right. And I was born in 1968.
Son: Didn’t grandma and grandpa want to have kids right away?
Me: Ummm….maybe, but it takes some time to have a baby.
Son: Why? I mean, why didn’t they, right after the wedding, drive up to a hospital and say “We want a baby, please?”
Me: It doesn’t work like that….
Now, I have to say, I had these conversations a little earlier with my oldest two, who watched my belly grow when I was pregnant with my middle and youngest children.
My youngest, however, never had the opportunity to be around a pregnant woman on a daily basis, so these questions had yet to come up.
The conversation continued:
Son: So just HOW does it work? Does a mommy one day look down at her belly and say, “C’mon, belly, give me all you’ve got!” and then the belly grows and then POP! A baby comes out?
Me: No, um. It takes longer than that. It takes nine months for a baby to be born. You see, a mom and a dad have to lay very close…..
Son: Oh, they have S-E-X??
Me: Yes. (Just what does he know? I wondered. But I didn’t prod.)
Me: You see, a woman has an egg inside of her and a man has a seed, and if the seed goes into the egg, in nine months a baby is born.
Son: AN EGG? Like a Chicken?
Me: No, not like a chicken.
Son: Was I Born this way?
Me: Everyone was born this way. And every thing.
Son: Were trees born this way?
Me: No, but most mammals are born this same way.
….. and so on.
After having three kids, my best advice about THE talk is:
- Be calm. Be matter-of-fact. Don’t brush off any questions.
- You don’t have to have THE talk all at once, but take it up gradually
- Only give them just the right amount of information they need and don’t expand. I didn’t get into the complications of birth control, sex before marriage, having babies between same-sex couples, in-vitro-fertilization. WHY? An eight year old just needs the basic facts.
- When they stop asking, it means they’ve had enough information for now.
One thing’s for sure: I will take out a few books for him on the topic at the library. One good source I found was a blog post by Story Pockets, a blog written by the Children’s Department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pa.
Every day, my kids leave me things. Things that are not exactly presents, but that are always present in my presence that I need to take care of while they are in school and expanding their minds.
My dear children,
Must you leave your socks on your bedroom floor?
Can’t you throw away your rinsing cup after you brush your teeth and not leave it for me to throw away?
Kids, I really appreciate that you make your own lunch, but must you leave me your crumbs on the cutting board, the opened peanut butter and jelly jars lingering on the counter?
Must you leave me at my wit’s end and make me say things that I SWORE I would never say when I became a mother???!
At approximately 7:30 this morning, I had received no less than three text and voice mail messages both on my cell phone and land line from my daughter whilst I was in the shower and getting my youngest ready for school.
“Mom, I left my lunch home and I have no money and I have track practice and I’m going to be hungry so can you pleeeeaaase bring my lunch to school?”
One more present left behind for me, the mom.
Okay, I bring the lunch to my high schooler, because that’s what moms are for.
But then, for all the world to see in the high school’s main display case.. what’s this?
My daughter, my sloppy, beautiful brilliant, talented daughter, is featured artist of the week in her high school: I shot the following on my iTouch through the display glass so forgive me for the amateurish glare:
Today, the hallways of high school, tomorrow… SoHo?
Thank you, daughter, for being my present. I can almost excuse the dirty socks, and the pencil shavings, on your bedroom floor.