Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Well, that was awkward!

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.


  1. Oh Susie!!!! I'm feeling awkward FOR you in case you didn't feel enough. But good for you for opening that dialogue, it's so important. And eeeeewwww about the link to 'what happens now'. I've been living under a rock apparently and even though AE's only 3, I'm going to try to stay informed.

  2. Lily was curious about how Gryph came to be, so we talked about the basics (seeds+eggs) and I got a copy of "It's so Amazing" and "Mommy Laid an Egg" and we read them both together, and every now and then I see her reading them again and she asks questions.

    She asked about "hair" after gryph was born and asked "if she had to have it." she seemed relieved to discover it could be removed! Hard questions eh? Seems so fast.

  3. Good for you Susie! I think it's weird that many parents are ok with violence, but not the natural act of S-E-X. That being said, my mother had a great response when I asked her where babies came from at 4 years old. She said that when Mommies and Daddies love each other very much, they can decide to have a baby. That was all I wanted to know. :) When it came up again once I was older, I already knew most of it - lucky for both of us I think!

  4. I keep thinking of that wartime addage "keep calm and carry on" which is what you did.

    I think it is wonderful that your daughter approached you about it, all awkwardness aside.

  5. We have those books too and we gave the first to my daughter when when she was 7, I think. Last year when she was 8 or 9 she requested the next book in the series. She was telling her father about HIV - and getting the details right - when she was 7. We are really open and the conversation about this subject can start anywhere and anytime. Some of the questions are hilarious. Also, the whole EWWWW response can crack me right up. We are also naked openly with the kids and I think that helps with the dialogue. I would really recommend this series. I takes the nitty gritty details and explains them and then you can just answer questions with all the background in place. I feel your pain!
    Heather Ann

  6. LOL Awesome - you handled that great. ;) BTW, Peter Mayle has a couple great books on that and puberty. I have the puberty one already (though haven't given it to boy#1 yet) and have been meaning to pick up the other. He handles the topics with just enough humor to get past the awkwardness, but gives enough detail to be informative. :) Plus the cartoons are hilarious!

  7. Try teaching a whole classroom of kids about it. It's fun.

  8. Brige, do you have to do that? I hope you tell them the truth, lol. A neighbour's daughter (about 15 at the time) came to our house to ask me how much it costs to 'have a baby'. I told her feeding a baby is free if you breastfeed, and if you use cloth diapers, you can get away with spending less than $400 from birth-potty. I assumed she was asking these questions for home ec., but noooo, it was sex education! She said the sex ed. component of their health class was 1 week long, and this was what they were talking about? They were costing out babies? Like two horny teenagers would be about to do it, then they'll go "Oh wait, we shouldn't do this, have you seen the cost of Huggies?". It was ridiculous, lol, and it was a Roman Catholic high school... I was so the wrong person to ask those questions!

    susie ;)

  9. Very amusing..... My husband recently gave our nine-year-old daughter a very similar talk about eggs and seeds with love, and our daughter thought a minute, screwed up her face, and said, "I don't want to put the seed in my mouth..." (how else would it get in your belly???!) This amused us greatly.

  10. We keep a 30 year old book about where babies come from in our kids book shelf and read it every few months, there is always a different question asked. Why does the man have hair? what's the stuff the sperms are in? How come I can only see the vulva and not the vagina? The kids are 7, 4 and 2 and they are interested.