i imagine that every parent thinks about the time in their kid's life when they will have to have "the talk." when the kid will ask ever so innocently, "where do babies come from?" the parent hopes to push that conversation as far out into the future as possible to avoid the awkwardness of having to explain about the birds & the bees.
my mom explained things to me when i was 7 because she'd discovered that there were some rumors going around amongst my little group of friends & she figured it was better that i should know the truth of the matter than leave me believing that boys stick penises into girls belly buttons & then babies come out.
i remember being shocked & dismayed when she told me the real deal & i was very distressed when i heard her say nipple. and the word penis coming from my mom's mouth was almost more than i could bear. i was mad at her for telling me, but at the same time, i felt wise & mature. and no amount of remonstrations from my mother could prevent me from sharing my newly acquired knowledge with several of my friends. i felt so smart & powerful because i knew a true & titillating secret that the rest of them didn't know and i'd gained my information from a reliable source - someone who'd clearly had the sex & had 2 children to prove it.
once i became a mom i figured that i would share the knowledge about how bodies work & the secrets they hold when brooke was old enough to ask the questions. i was prepared to be nonchalant and matter of fact about it. however, i wasn't prepared for my 3 yr old to accuse me of pooping my panties when she caught me in the act of changing a pad. we only had one bathroom & she was in the tub, so i needed to share the space & i thought i was safe by closing the curtain. i forgot that she had fully functioning fingers & knew how to rip that curtain back herself. i stammered & protested that i most certainly did not poop my panties, but she insisted; she said, "yes you did, mommy! i see dat poopy right in dere!" at that point, i sputtered out that it was blood, not poo. um, this wasn't going in the nonchalant, matter of fact manner that i'd intended! i made myself shut up then & thought for a few seconds & then explained in as toddlery a way as possible what periods are & that every female has them once she hits puberty around the age of 12.
i thought i'd handled that acceptably & it would be a closed topic for a while. i thought wrong. a few days later, we were in walmart & i was foolishly letting her walk rather than ride in the cart. she was strolling along & hollered back over her shoulder, "mommy, how do babies get out of the mommy's beddies?" i thought i'd heard her wrong. nope. so i decided to be very clear. i leaned close to her ear & said "through the vagina." of course then she looked at me with her eyes wide open & a disbelieving look on her face as she yelled "NO! babies don't come fwum vaginas!" gulp. how did we end up having this conversation here? i just wanted to pick up some popcorn & cheese & get back home! why am i discussing vaginas with my 3 year old at walmart?! then she burst out laughing & yelled giddily, "not fwum vaginas! fwum Jesus!" all righty then. let's yell Jesus & forget all about vaginas for the remainder of our shopping excursion.
we watch a lot of animal planet and the main thing that animals all seem to have in common is that they're interested primarily in two things - finding food & finding booty. the camera folks don't zoom in for close ups when the lions, baboons or meerkats are mating, but they don't entirely gloss over it either, so brooke has seen some cutesy, flirtatious animal behavior followed by humping. many times. i've debated if i should turn the channel when such things come on, but it's a fact of life & she needs to learn about it sooner or later, so maybe that's as good a way as any.
one day we were watching a teeny bopper show on nickelodeon & there were 2 young adults being all coy & flirting with each other & my sweet little 6 year old looks over at me & says knowingly, "i know what they're doing. they're mating." wow. it was as if she could see into the mind of that 20 year old guy & see his wishes coming true!
last year she was watching animal videos on youtube & she said, "mom, come quick! you've got to see the cutest fox video ever!" as i approached the computer she followed that up with, "i found lots of videos of foxes mating! aren't they so cute!?!" that was the day that i decided to tell her what was actually happening physically when the mating occurred. i only applied it to animals, but she's a smart kid, so i'm sure by now she's figured out that it applies to people too. she's a very logical girl when it comes to such things & she's not squeamish like i was, so maybe there won't have to be a big, awkward discussion about the nitty gritty details of it down the road. maybe she'll ask for clarification on certain points later, but i don't think she'll be shocked or appalled or disgusted like most kids are.
would anybody else care to share their amusing/uncomfortable stories of how their kids came to know about the dirty little facts of life? or maybe how you learned the shocking truth!