Monday, May 3, 2010

Biology Week Lesson 2: The Talk

Do you remember "The Talk"?
I do. I'll spare you the details, but my brother and I were severely traumatized and still cover our ears and say nonsense words really loudly whenever one of us brings it up to torture the other one.
It was soooo gross.

Maybe you heard from your friends. Or in that class in school. Or maybe you were like me and your parents told you. I'm sure we all have our own ideas about which way is best. And despite, or maybe because of, my experience, I planned on being the one who gave my kids "The Talk". I am a planner, so I even had a plan for this. When it was the appropriate time, Aaron would be in charge of telling the boys, and if we ever had a girl, I'd talk to her. We'd established very open communication with our kids from the beginning, used real language and nothing was ever made embarrassing or weird.
It is just life, and the bodies God gave us.

But here's the thing with kids, nothing really ever goes according to plan.

James was 3. I was pregnant. And he had questions.

He had felt the baby move in my tummy and noticed how big I was getting. (for the record, the above picture was taken hours before Lilly was born. And yes, I was HUGE) 
One day as we drove in the car, he asked, "how did the baby get in your tummy anyway?"

I was ready for this because James is a wonderer. He wants to know why. Always.
I wasn't about to tell him the stork brought the baby or some other such nonsense. (Here's our take on Santa.) 
We're pretty honest in our house.
I could have said, "God put it there," but of course he would say, "how?" So I just told him. 
Kind of.
I told him about the sperm that swim like little fish to the egg inside the Mommy.
I explained how the sperm swims into the egg and together they make a baby. 
I also told him it only happened when he was a grown man and married.
I have no qualms about moralizing.
He sat quietly and absorbed the information.
I was ready for him to ask for more.
But he was satisfied. 
For now.

But that baby was there in my belly and a constant reminder.
So about a week later, as we sat around the dinner table, James picked up the conversation just where we'd left off.
"But how does the sperm get in there?"
He'd been thinking.

I looked at Aaron, fully expecting him to field this question as per the plan.
But Aaron's eyes were as round as dinner plates and he seemed unable to speak.
Some help he was.

So I told him.
It was very basic, but the truth. Pretty full disclosure.
When I was done, I asked him if he had any other questions and he was quiet for a moment.

And that, was that.

We haven't talked about it since.
You see, he just needed to know the biology. It was just science to him. Nothing gross or weird. Just the way things work in this amazing machine called the human body.

(me leaving for the hospital to have Lil)

I think that is why women "in the family way" used to stay hidden away inside the house. 
No one wanted to deal with those awkward questions. But there was no hiding that big old belly. 
So we had to deal with it.
It was just one more piece of excitement in this adventure of parenting.

Some of my friends have asked me questions about "The Talk" because they haven't had to have it yet. 
An important note: while we believe in full disclosure with our kids about this, we recognize other parents may not. We made sure to clarify that there are things we talk about only at home, with our family, and not with our friends. There are some things that are private.

For me, the biggest thing was to stay calm. Even if your kid is 3, it is easy to feel awkward or uncomfortable when discussing this stuff with them. I assure you, I felt pretty flustered when James asked and scrambled around for a moment trying to find the right words.
But, it really wasn't a big deal. And now, of course, it is just a funny memory.
And I think I'm going to make Aaron do the talking next time.

This job of raising kids, it's not for wimps, is it?
Love from,


Desirae said...

I love it! I, too, believe in full disclosure, (and pushing the morality issue, although with a 16 and 17 year old boy, now all I can do is hope and pray!) However, being a school nurse, I often come across "situations" and my children always know when that happens since I NEVER miss a change to add little plugs whenever the situation presents itself. In fact, my kids now roll their eyes and say, "Geez mom, you're not going to go THERE again????" Yep, I am, and EVERY chance I get, and hopefully one day, unexpectedly, my voice and advice will pop into their head at just the right moments.
Keep up the "talks". We always referred to those talks with your Uncle Fred as "family discussions"!!!

Erin McDonald said...

I am so glad my "talk" came from Justin! Praise the Lord for the class at public school! I am glad you are taking care of all that now when they are young but just remember how wretched it was to hear that kind of stuff from your mom when they get a little older! love you! and hey can I send my kids over so your kids can get them the talk I will know that they are getting good info?hee hee!