I just had my first sex (or S-E-X) talk with our oldest, who is nine years old. It came out the other day that kids are talking about it at school (apparently, it's *all* they talk about!), and I thought it's probably time to open a dialogue about it with her. My own parents never said a peep to me about sex, it's a wonder we have four children! I want our kids to know they can talk to us about these things, and I also want them to know it's a healthy part of any loving relationship, and if she's talking about it in the schoolyard, it's time to talk about it at home.
When Maddy first brought up 'S-E-X' the other day, she told me her friends say you have to 'do it' to get married (they're in grade four, people, grade four!). She then told me she knows that's not true because we (her father and I) are married and we have four kids, and we've never done it (!!!). I did what I could to stifle a laugh, our other children were with us at the time (4 and 7), I wanted to discuss it further with Maddy, but alone, not with an audience. She was clearly embarrassed about it, I didn't want her to be anymore uncomfortable than necessary (OK, I lie, I was also trying to minimize my own discomfort too!).
In terms of 'where babies come from', we have always been open with our kids about the science behind baby-making -- from an early age, they've known that a mommy has eggs in her belly, and a daddy has seeds in his penis. Daddy puts the seeds in mommy 'with love', a baby grows for nine months, then the baby comes out of mommy's vagina (or sometimes the baby is cut out of her belly). The only thing I've never known how to broach is the 'how' behind it all (when my kids have asked "How does Daddy put his seeds in you?", I've never managed to come up with a better answer than "With love" because I don't know how to explain the mechanics without blushing!).
If I think back to my own childhood, I can recall my first discussions about S-E-X with my friends, I was in grade five, so I suppose not much older than Maddy is now. I'll admit, I surfed Amazon looking for books yesterday, my first instinct was to order a book and give it to her -- talk about the chicken's way out! However, I suppose throwing a book at her really won't make her feel like opening up about it down the road when she needs someone to talk to. The opportunity presented itself tonight when she was in her room alone, doing her homework. I asked her if she has any questions about sex, and she turned three shades of red, her reply was a quick 'no'. I told her I just wanted her to know it's something that people do when they're in love, and that Daddy and I do it, if we didn't, we wouldn't have four wonderful children. At this point, looking thoroughly disgusted, Maddy exclaimed "I'm glad Daddy had is seeds taken out so you don't have to do it again -- you don't do it anymore, right?". I laughed and said "yes" (at this point, we were both blushing!), and tried to emphasize it's a way two people can show love for each other.
Oh, and didn't the floodgates open up then! No questions? Ha!
"What do you wear when you do it?"
"Where do you do it?"
"What position do you use?" (can you even believe she asked this? Grade four, people! And no, I didn't answer.)
"Have you done it this week? Last week? Last month?"
"Do Gramma and Grandpa do it?" (at this point, I fully sympathized with her, there are some things *I* don't even want to think about!")
Between each question, she hid her face in her pilow, or groaned 'ewwww', and told me it's an inappropriate conversation. She also told me her teacher tells them to 'visualize' things they can't understand, and she doesn't want to visualize anything anymore!
The conversation wasn't exactly flowing, it was definitely awkward for us both, however, I wanted her to know that if she has questions, I'd rather she asks me as opposed to the kids at school. I've heard horror stories from customers who are high school teachers about what happens now (two teachers have confirmed it's not an urban legend!), it would seem times have changes since we were in high school! I have no idea how I went from being the mother of a bouncing bundle of joy just nine short years ago to the mother of a child who talks with her friends about S-E-X, but I certainly don't want to bury my head in the sand and pretend she's never going to grow up! I just hope that as she gets older, and the topic gets more relevent (God, no!), she's comfortable enough to talk to me about it.