I’m very excited to welcome Emily of Our house, now a home as a guest writer this week. I hope you enjoy her experience having the dreaded “talk” with a child. Don’t forget to head on over to check out her blog and to follow her on her social media channels listed at the end of the post!
So I had THE question asked of me by my 6 year old daughter. You know the one — the one that turned me into an awkward and uncomfortable teenager. “Mommy, how does the baby get in a Mommy’s belly?” she asked me while we were drawing at the art table. Her brothers were napping, so this Mommy and daughter bonding just took a whole big turn.
I panicked. What do I say? What is age appropriate? I wanted to give her the right information; she came to me. I should be happy. I knew that this was one of many hard questions to come and if I ignored or deflected away from the answer she might not come to me for the next question. But I didn’t want to scar her. I mean, the logistics of baby making is not the most enjoyable conversation. Especially to my sweet, smart, inquisitive, beautiful, innocent 6 year old.
I just let my instincts fly with this. I have gotten three children to grow, blossom, love and learn for 6+ years on instinct alone. I can do this. I let her lead the way. I answered what she asked, and when she stopped asking I tied this conversation up with a little bow by saying, “If there is anything ever you want to know, ask me.”
What did I say, you ask? This is a hard one. I am talking about my experience with my child and what I was teaching her. But I feel that everyone will have different priorities and comforts when it comes to what their children will and should know. This is by no means a judgment on how to do things, or a lecture. This is just me, a Mommy sharing an interesting and realistic experience with you all. Take what I say as a way to jump start a conversation, or shake your head and call me crazy. We are a very straight forward and liberal family. My kids ask questions of any kind and we don’t say “because.”
For example, “Why is the earth round and we don’t fall off?” Cue the discussion on gravity and the motion of the earth. “Why do we have blood, and why can I see it in my hands (the veins)?” Here comes the discussion on the central nervous system, how our bodies work with the blood, our lungs pumping it. Yes, we go there every time. I want my kids to know that there is so much to learn and all you have to do is ask.
Well, Nora asked. She knew the real basics: a baby grows in a Mommy’s tummy and then the doctor takes it out. I had C-sections so this is how it was discussed in our household. But somehow, somewhere she felt that there was more to the story. I assume that because she prompted for more information, she was ready to know more.
We use the correct terminology for the human anatomy: elbow, nose, butt, toe, penis, all of it. To them it is all parts. There is no peepeeing from your weewee or whatever. So I began by explaining that the woman has eggs in her tummy area. She is born with them and then when she becomes a teenager they start getting ready for her to become a Mommy when she is an adult. And the man has sperm, and he uses his sperm to make the egg turn into a baby.
I know, awkward. I don’t know why this topic is awkward to discuss. But it is. Always is. We all never develop past an 11 year old in health class giggling at the pictures of a person’s body. Animated or not, it was icky and weird. I thought I was in the clear with this discussion because then she went into asking me how she got Daddy’s small dimples and my hair. I explained genetics, a small dose of it, explaining the egg has 50% and the sperm has 50% and when they come together they make 100% and the baby becomes part of the Mommy and the Daddy.
Then she asked, “How does the sperm get into the egg?” Oh goodness, well then….. “Well, the Daddy puts the sperm in the Mommy to find the egg.” I was not using the word…you know…S-E-X. For some reason I felt that it was still too early to bring all of that up. I felt that keeping it mechanical was the best course of action. And I chickened out. I don’t want her to look at me accusingly when she hears what you have to do, and the fact that I did it. I am her Mommy, her sweet, fun loving, cuddles and hugs Mommy.
So I kept it to the point. She seemed satisfied. For now. I also explained that babies also come out of a woman’s vagina, to which her response was “Ewwwwwww, that does not seem OK.” I agree, it does not. Preaching to the choir over here, lady. No matter how many people are born this way it seems so, so, so wrong to push a baby out of something that small.
After that discussion she began quietly coloring. I let her sit and mull it all over. Then she asked me how her two aunts Heather and Elissa (who have been married for over ten years even though they were just allowed to legally marry) will have a baby. So I explained adoption further. It is something she knows about, and I explained gay couples can adopt. Or they can borrow an egg or sperm to have a doctor help them make a baby.
Like I said, we are very liberal. Love is love, a family is a family, our kids switch between marrying Brooke or Cole in this house. No emphasis on gender. But I could see how she was worried how everyone can have kids. I was proud of her for thinking of these things. She truly blew me away with some of her questions and responses.
I then asked if she had anymore questions. She paused, smiled and said, “Why are boogers green?” I smiled and realized I had no clue, she got me. I guess I did not have all the answers. But after that we went back to coloring and talking about random stuff with the words booger, butt, and stinky thrown in. This is 6 year old humor; don’t judge. I will talk about anything for those lovely giggles.
Once the kids were all awake and eating a snack I Googled having “the talk” with your kids. I wanted to make sure I had said enough, had been appropriate, and I wanted reassurance I did not just mess up my kid. I found out I did it all right! Go me! I let her lead, I only answered what she asked, I kept it basic, black and white, I did not shy away, and I reassured her that it was fine to ask me this or anything else. I was shocked by some people on forums or other places stating they just told their kids they would find out when they were married. Or that God puts the baby there. Look, we are Christian, we go to church, we read a children’s bible to the kids, and they go to a religious preschool. I believe in heaven and God that created us, but I take a more spiritual approach. He took care of our soul, our heart, our spirit, our warm and fuzzy pieces. But we are also realists. We all know that God did not put any baby in my belly. I could make a joke about men thinking they are that awesome, but I won’t. Just let that sit…
If my boys don’t ask questions I don’t know how I will handle it. When do I bring it up? I guess when the time comes I will know how to handle it. Mama instincts will kick in again. But I do want this to be a conversation I have with them. All three of them. I want to explain healthy relationships, protection, STDs, all of it. If they don’t get the information from me, they will get it somewhere. Possibly wrong (we have all heard the fable of the can’t get pregnant in a hot tub thing, right?), but most importantly, I want them to know that NO TOPIC is off limits.
I am here to guide them, teach them, show them life. Give them the absolute best start to them finding their way. I am helping them become full grown people, allowing them to discover who they are. And part of them being those things is falling in love, lust, crush, dating, and eventually S-E-X. Horrible and hard to imagine my little, tiny, perfect children will be that grown up one day. But I want them to be informed. On all topics, and that includes the mundane of why boogers are green, how a car drives, where we get our water from, teaching them about recycling and keeping the earth healthy, and the not-so mundane of how babies are made.
I realized that this “talk” I have known would come will be a multiple step, possibly never ending discussion. There will be even more questions. How the Daddy puts the sperm in, which she did not ask yet. Why people do that, and then many more about our bodies, how we grow and change. This one talk that I figured would be over and done is actually a lifetime discussion. A never ending talk. Maybe by the third it will be cut and dry: lay it out, no issues, let’s get ice cream and chat kind of thing.
But I was proud to know I had laid the foundation for Nora coming to me, knowing I am there for anything she ever needs. I also know she will have the right information. When my husband came home from work I triumphantly stated, “I did it. She asked THE question and I answered her.” He said, “Glad it was not me.” Thank you for the support, oh dear husband. Maybe I should have “the talk” with him too?
Have your children asked this yet? How did you handle it, or how are you planning on handling it when the time comes?
Emily at Our house, now a home creates lots of DIY projects, has been known to grab old and ugly furniture from the side of the road, and may or may not have dumpster dived (one time…). She also is a mom to a crew of three littles. Any and all randomness that comes with raising three young kids, having a husband and dog, DIY, furniture redos, room makeovers, and decorating on a budget is fair game. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus.