I bought a book for the kids a few years ago that explained sex and how girls and boys bodies change, and more importantly that girls and boys are different, and it is not bad different it is just different different.
My motivation was that Connor was heading to grade 1 and though I did not feel strongly that 7 years old was a good age to introduce this subject, my concern is that his exposure to older kids would suddenly put him in a position where someone spoke about sex or a pen*s or a vag*na and I did not want him standing there having no idea what they were talking about.
Or worse being ridiculed, or fractionally worse him making ridiculous childish jokes about sex.
So I bought the book. <also because I was at a total loss how to bring the subject up without cringing in embarrassment>
The other problem (because there are always so many) is that I was not going to seclude Connor and I into a room and discuss sex, I discussed the book and the subject while Georgia was sitting there.
Often them sitting in the bath or when we drive to and from school is a great time to have these conversations. It turns what often is a slightly awkward moment into a sort of by-the-by conversation and allows me to look out of the windscreen when they say something really inappropriate or that embarrasses me, but I still want to appear like “cool rocking mom!”
Georgia is 3 ½ years younger than Connor, which again is probably not a super great age to introduce this subject. But that being said, when is a really good age?
I have started thinking that if you discuss in the same tone and seriousness of “do you want pink or brown pronutro for breakfast” it is best. It really rolls off the kids and it does not become this blood-red-face-and mouth-gasping-like-a-fish-out-of-water subject.
Initially I thought most of it would go over Georgia’s head, and she really would not be interested. But if she was exposed to the subject in a matter-of-fact-way while she was playing with the bath duck, it would also be fine.
It seemed to work well, and we looked at how babies were made, and what people did to get a baby – slightly unsettling drawing, but my kids did not even skip a beat. I think it did make Kennith cringe when I had the kids say in unison “Pen*s” or “Vag*na” out loud so they got comfortable with the pronunciation and the term. Though I still use the term winkie and moomfie – yes it is sort of counter-productive, but I feel a bit Biology teacher using the word Vag*na!
Kids screaming out sexual organ names is probably not the most natural thing that should occur in any household.
Anyway the book gets hauled out every now and then and then gets packed into the book shelf. Georgia pulled this book out about 5 days ago and this book stays with her, she even sleeps with it at night.
Friday last week she asked/demanded/insisted that the book go to school with her as she wanted to show her friends.
Now even with my limited grasp of social idiosyncrasies, I realized that this might not be the best plan.
I am fine with MY kids being exposed to the concept of sex and the terms, but I could just imagine the shit storm if Cara or Emma went home and told their mom that they saw a picture of a penis, and that they saw where babies came from.
I explained to her that the book really was not going to school. I was fine with Connor and her being exposed to the subject, and discussing it with me because there was nothing bad about it, and finding out what it is not a bad thing. But they are my kids and it is my choice to discuss this with them, other moms and dads might not feel it is appropriate to have their pre-school kids learning this stuff, and that is the choice they get to make.
She threw a tantrum and yelled and stamped her foot.
I felt like doing the same.
I tried to reason with her and eventually grabbed the book, chucked it into the book shelf and screamed at her to “Get in the frikn car NOW!”
I figure once we are driving and on our way to school, I have a good 12 minutes to calm her down and reason anything with her in that time frame.
Last night Georgia asked me to read her a story, and pulled out ‘ye old Sex Book again! Which is not exactly bed time reading, but I was willing to give it a shot. We chatted about pubic hair and wet dreams – which is not exactly Goldilocks and the Three Bears but there you go.
Blundered through that a bit. Georgia does seem to be up to scratch with sperm and how it gets in – she however refers to them as ‘little worms!”
This morning on the way to school, Connor said something about sex. I can’t quite recall the context. He did not shout out SEX, but he said something about babies and sex, in a very age appropriate fashion (as kids of nine do!).
He mentioned that babies can be made when you have sex, and I said yes, but sometimes people have sex because it feels nice and they might now necessarily want a baby. (I did quickly jump in with a disclaimer that those people are adults, and sex is something that adults do, and it is not appropriate for children.)
So Connor nodded, and then said “ but you do not always need to have sex to have a baby….”
And I thought ‘wouldn’t that be convenient’ but waited for him to finish the thought – and then he said ‘because you can adopt…”
So we discussed adoption and that why parents/moms decide to give a child up for adoption and I had to explain to him that often it is very painful for the parents/mom but they are doing it because they love that child and want the best for the baby, and and and …… I was trying to explain it is probably one of the biggest shows of love you can do to put your child’s needs before your own, and give them a life that you cannot give them.
And then I had a cry.
Connor sat there awkwardly for a moment, and then checked that I was not going to be putting him up for adoption …. to which I said “well, not right now” ……………