Our curious boys are starting to ask significant questions about babies and how they get in a mommy’s belly.
I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the need to tell an eight-year-old, who still believes in Santa, the Elf on the Shelf, and the Tooth Fairy, about the Birds and the Bees.
It used to be that they were curious about the differences between boys and girls. Large once (at a packed movie theatre line in Manhattan, of course) reached up, touched my boob, and asked “why do you have these?” Hubby told him, “everybody has them. You have them.” Large’s response? “Not as big as Mommy’s!” We explained that girls have them so that they can feed their babies when the time is right.
I nursed all our kids, so eventually this all made sense to him. Naturally, he was a little inquisitive when we brought Small home, but both Large and Medium seemed to accept the idea that Mommy was feeding the baby. No big deal.
And as far as differences go, we have explained that when they go to a friend’s house for a sleepover and the friend has a sister, we wear pajamas, not just our skivvies, and act appropriately. Just because we all pee with the door open around here (some of us by choice, and some of us because there is no friggin’ privacy anywhere in this house) doesn’t mean we do so in mixed company.
Lately, however, the questions have been coming more frequently. We want to keep those lines of communication open and we have told the boys that they should always ask us if they need an answer instead of discussing it on the bus or on the playground, etc., because Mommy and Daddy are always going to tell them the truth.
I’m afraid the time has come. To tell them The Truth.
I’m persweaty already.
We fielded a lot of questions when I was pregnant with Small.
- How did the baby get in your belly? Well, when Mommy and Daddy love each other and decide they want to have a baby, the Mommy gets pregnant.
- How come the babysitter doesn’t have a baby in her belly? She’s not married.
- Uncle Justin’s not married and he has a baby. Dammit, Justin!
- How is the baby going to get out of your belly? When the time is right, Mommy will go to the hospital and the doctor will get the baby out.
But recently we’ve been getting more detailed questions as their little brains process the logic behind all our previous answers.
- Where’s your penis? Girls and boys are different. Girls don’t have penises.
- Why do you have hair there? Because I haven’t had time to get a wax.
- Do Mommy dogs have babies? Yes
- Then how do their puppies get out of the dog's belly? Um, they go to the Vet.
- Do you have a baby in your belly? Nope. Just fat. Thanks.
- How come you don’t have a baby in your belly right now? Our family is complete already.
- How do mommies get babies in their belly? Remember I told you? When mommies and daddies love each other . . .
- But don’t you always love Daddy?
We also discovered the other day that Large thinks the doctor gives Mommy a shot and then she gets pregnant. Learned that one on the bus.
So I think it’s time to offer some clarification.
Personally, I learned the details from a friend in 4th grade. Her parents had sat her down and explained it all and I remember thinking that her parents must have thought she was mature enough to handle it. I went home and asked my mom, but . . . crickets.
I was in high school before my mom left Ann Landers Talks to Teenagers About Sex on my bed. Because when you think Sex, you think middle-aged-advice-columnist Ann Landers. She had checked it out from the library. I read it from cover to cover in one afternoon and took it back downstairs to my mom, who returned it the next day. We never spoke of it again. That was my complete lesson in sex education.
I don’t want my boys learning from some kid on the bus who doesn’t have all the facts. And I don’t want them learning from a teacher who is required to use technical terminology deemed appropriate by the public school system.
It is OUR responsibility. I want to treat the boys with respect and help them realize they can ask us anything. I’ve got to put my own issues aside. I’ve told Hubby we either need to do it together or he needs to Man up. (Because I know if we do Rock, Paper, Scissors I’m SO gonna lose.)
Stay tuned . . . this could get interesting.