11 September 2007

The Importance of Making Sex Talk

Brief introduction and some blog business:
This is the story that inspired last week's panel on talking to kids about sex. I have a little bit more experience than I implied. Sorry. The panels are not exactly non-fiction. Speaking of panels, I will still be bringing you experts from around the world, but on a biweekly basis. Weekly was just not working, coordinating flight schedules, not to mention grave digging was becoming unmanageable.

Upcoming panels include:

Toddler Nudity - with special guest speaker Ruth Handler!
Sleep: Why Won't They Do It? - featuring millionaire author Jennifer aka Binky Bitch!

Stay Tuned!

Last summer, on an hour long car ride, Matilda asked me where babies come from. So I told her. They grow in a mother's womb, for nine months, until they're ready to come out, and then the mother gives birth, and works really, really hard to push the baby out, and then there's a baby.

But of course she wanted to know how it got in there. So I explained that each tiny little baby is made from two parts - the egg from its mother and the sperm from its father. The two parts combine to create a baby, and then it grows, etc.

But then she wanted to know how the two parts got together. So I told her. The mommy and the daddy have to have something called sex. When two people really love each other... I went all the way. She listened quietly. She knew already what a penis was and a vagina, and who had what, and she listened as I explained as discretely and simply as possible how the two come together to fetilize the egg and create a baby.

I'm sure that some people would say that I gave her too much information, perhaps you, dear reader, would count yourself in their number. But there are two reasons why I gave her all the facts at the tender age of four:

1) I explain everything to her. Sometimes she remembers what I tell her, sometimes not. This is okay. I believe that learning is a process that is both gradual and cumulative. It is not necessary for her to understand everything right now, but that doesn't mean she shouldn't hear it. Much of what I tell her she will ask about again, I do not expect her to retain every detail of what I say, but say it I do, for better or for worse. And she listens, most of the time. In fact, only once has she stopped me and it was during a walk in town when I offered to explain what a courthouse was. She didn't care, didn't want to know, and told me not to tell her. So I didn't. But when she asks, and she does want to know, its my job to tell her, even if it makes me uncomfortable.

2) I do not want either of my daughters to think of sex (or their bodies) as something secret and shameful. I know it might seem a bit early to be thinking about their self-perception as teen aged girls, but in a world full of Bratz dolls I think it can only help to encourage them now to be knowledgeable and proud of themselves and their bodies. (This is one of those beliefs in which I have faith. There is no solid proof that it will work - yet, call me in ten years.)

So that was last summer. We have not spoken of this since, for which I am grateful, but also curious - how much does she remember?

Flash forward to a couple of weeks ago. Matilda and Freya have just watched Disney's Peter Pan in which the Darling family has three children: Wendy, John and Michael. As they sit eating dinner, their conversation centers on the possibility of a third child in our family.

Matilda: Freya, what do you think it would be like if we had three kids?

Freya: Yeah, good!

They look at me.

Me: Uh-uh, no way. No more kiddos for us. We like you two just fine.

Freya: (with that evil look she does so well) Maybe there's a baby in your tummy right now, Mommy.

Me: Mmm, no.

Matilda: (in her best teacher voice) No, Freya, Nell and Steve would have to make sex to get a baby, right Mom?

Me: (both proud and trying not to giggle) That's right.

But she continues.

Matilda: They've made sex two times, one time for me, and one time for you.

At this point I had to leave the room to avoid spitting water all over the table and freaking my children out with hysterical laughter. So I did. But there you have it folks, the true story of one mother's efforts to teach her daughter about sex.

I swear I didn't say anything about "making sex" only for procreational purposes, but what the heck, a small misconception like that can only help in later years, right?


Blue Momma said...

How about you come have the talk with my Punkin' when the time comes? I'm thinking the whole babies everytime you have sex thing might reeeealy help with the keeping it in his pants!

He's only three, but I'm preparing for it mentally already!

Jessica said...

I love it--I try to explain things as honestly and fully as I can to my Sunshine too. Hopefully it will pay off...but I am dreading the sex conversation with a vengeance. Yikes.

Jen said...

"make sex"

Oh man, that's funny.

I totally agree with you on your straight facts approach to handling the sex talk. I personally think it's the best way to go with kids. So, you know, if you could just come over and explain things to my kids I would really appreciate it. I can't even say the word "vagina" without stammering.

Cathy said...

Too funny!

I remember when I finally figured out why my parents locked their bedroom door on some nights.

I would hear it and just criiiiinge.

Cathy said...

The lock turning, I mean.

Not the sex.

Oh, The Joys said...

You mean you make the sex for FUN?


Jennifer aka Binky Bitch said...

I used to make sex, now I avoid it at all costs. Good thing Mathilda knows it's ONLY for aking babies!!

thordora said...

Ah sex....the one thing that will eventually keep your children out of your room forever....

We're very open about it, and sometimes the context of "hey, do you have a penis?" comes out so very weird and wrong...

Jenn said...

I've had the in-depth sex talk with both of my daughters, I approached it like a biology course and they seem to get it.

Living on a farm helps them understand sex even better. The critters are FAR less worried about who sees them "make sex" than I am!

andi said...

Apologies for the late comment...

That is hilarious. You are a brave woman - giving her the full explanation. And I plan on telling my kids that mommy only had sex twice. You're right - it can't hurt.

Queen of Shake-Shake said...


Parker asked me today how girls pee when they don't have a tallywhacker. I told him through a uretha and he was ok with that!

Ewokmama said...

I needed that laugh!

Krista said...

Sorry, I just had to share that story with my husband when he wanted to know why I was laughing so hard!!!
Kids say the darnedest things...

She says said...

OMG! Until I was something like 10, I thought that my parents only had sex 3 times -- to conceive my two brothers and I.

AND, I thought it was some kind of clincal messy procedure that they kinda just did in the bathroom because, ya' know, it's easier to clean up there...!

Too funny!