Teaching Moment

The boys are getting older & we’ve been exploring ways to have those various ‘talks’ you are supposed to have with your kids as they get older.

We covered the basics about where babies come from a few years ago.

The “babies grow in Mom’s uterus & are either cut out or pushed out of her vagina” bit. The boys were so fascinated by that, and their theory that babies bungee jump, (that’s what the cord is for) and Mayhem’s concerns about ninjas (since he misheard ‘vagina’ as ‘China’) and their assumption that they were both together in the uterus and Havoc decided to leave first & it took Mayhem another 15 months to decide it, that they never asked how babies GET there.

Obviously they are just there, hanging out, waiting to be born.

DH doesn’t recall ever being told about sex by his parents. They left him to learn about it from his older siblings & middle school sex ed.  My parents never told me anything either. My Catholic school didn’t offer sex ed until 12th grade.

Rather than leave things that long, when I was about 9 or so, they bought a collection of books called “The Life Cycle Library” which came with 4 books – female body  & sex development, male body & sex development, pregnancy & a Q&A book for parents. My parents left all 4 books in plain sight in the office.

The end.

They never mentioned the books at all. I read them. They knew I would. They COUNTED on my reading them. If I hadn’t read them then my parents would have been forced to at the very least acknowledge & point out the books to me, which is perilously close to giving me an opening to ASK QUESTIONS.

And we wouldn’t want that.

A few years later a 1965 copy of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask was also left out where I would come across it. This was much more in depth and in addition to the basics also covered things like, positions, sexual deviancy, abortion (illegal at the time of printing), homosexuality (not grouped in with deviancy) & various diseases you can get by having sex.

Eye opening to say the least. And only 15 years out of date when I first encountered it.

My parents were married in 1965, which gave the book a weird vibe for me. Did someone give it to them? Was it a gag gift? Did they actually need it?

I adopted my parents approach and never mentioned it because I didn’t want to give them an opening to explain where it came from.

We decided to try something similar with boys.

Only we’d mention the books & ask if they had any questions. Maybe even read some with them.

After much dithering I purchased Where Did I Come From by Peter Mayle (of Year in Provence fame). It has cartoon illustrations, gives detailed, but not overly detailed sexual information & is a light & easy read.

Though I admit it hadn’t occurred to me explain to the boys how an orgasm feels (tickles).

None of my sex books ever told me how an orgasm feels.

I had to read romance novels to find that out.

The book explains about how sex works, touches on why people might want to do it & then moves on to pregnancy & birth. Nothing is given any particular emphasis, its just a chain of events – this, then this, then this.

DH & I read the book the day it came & then left it on the sofa.

We asked them if they had read it later the next day & did they have any questions. Havoc said he read it & asked questions about umbilical cords and if it hurt a lot to push out a baby. Mayhem said he started to read it but stopped “because it was inappropriate”

I asked what was inappropriate about it and he said there was a picture in there of a man & a woman in a bathtub together!!

And there was in fact a cartoon drawing of a man & woman in a tub.

So DH sat down with Mayhem and read the book and had a conversation about why it isn’t inappropriate in this book & did he have any questions. He didn’t. He told Havoc that he came from a different egg & sperm than Havoc, so we know he was listening.

But he still thinks they were conceived at the same time.

When I was a kid, I grew up in a neighborhood where the bulk of the kids were between 2 years older than me and 4 years younger. The bulk were with a year of me. All our moms belonged to the book of the month club. The Life Cycle Library was a book of the month offering & when mom got it so did every other mom with kids our age. The books were presented in different ways, not everybody got all the books, some people were read to, some were told to read it & asked questions, and a couple others were just abandoned to fate like me. But within 2 months ALL of us had at the very least read the one specific to our gender, so we were all on the same page. There was none of that “what will my kid be saying to their classmates?” worry for my parents.

Different story here.

I have no idea what their friends know, who told them, if they have been told anything and what their parents might think about it in general so there is a bit of concern that my children will be the ones to explain to their friends that a man might love a woman so much he wants to be as close to her as possible and the closest he can get it to put his penis in her vagina and move back & forth until semen comes out and then the semen meets up with an egg and a baby is formed.

Yeah. I’m looking forward to THAT phone call.

Later this year we’ll move on to puberty books which hopefully will be less fraught.

Puberty is more straightforward for boys right?

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3 comments to Teaching Moment

  • “their theory that babies bungee jump”
    That’s what that thing is for! Of course, it’s all starting to make sense now…

    I have 3 daughters so I’m afraid I’m not much help in the boy department but Where Did I Come From was the firs book I bought (that, The Naked Book and Hands Hands Finger Thumb) I loved it as a kid and couldn’t wait to share. The illustrations are brilliant.

  • Love their thought processes :) as the mama of 2 grown boys I’ll just say ummmm puberty straightforward, not so much but I left that mainly to their dad talking to them, after all he had experienced it lol and even now they want to know as little about the mechanics of being female as possible

  • I love the boy’s initial reactions best! We approach the sex discussion as an ongoing dialogue. One of the initial puberty books we purchased was “what’s going on down there?” the boys edition.