The birds and the bees
I don’t remember asking my mother about the birds and the bees when I was a little girl. What I remember is how she would show me her long vertical scar on her belly and tell me how she was in labour with me for three long days before my father could produce the hospital money and then she had me by Ceasarian Section. She would tell me how she couldn’t wear a two-piece bathing suit because of her ugly scar. So years later, when I was on the operating table about to deliver my first baby, I asked the doctor to please make it a bikini cut. “Of course,” he said, with a smile on his face. I didn’t know that was how it was already being done at that time. As if that was the worst of my worries.
But kidding aside, it’s not easy to talk to your parents about sex. It’s awkward, for both the parents and the children. I was reading Ann’s post about her 12-year old daughter who approached and asked her about sex. At first she didn’t know what to tell her, but after consulting with her husband, she did tell her daughter what she wanted to know.
None of my children have approached me with that question yet. Well, except that conversation with my youngest son which you will read later on in this post.
I think my 16 year-old son have already learned about this in school. At the beginning of every school year, my children’s schools ask parents to sign this consent form authorizing teachers to teach sensitive materials to students, such as drugs, alcohol and sex. Like Ann, I think it is best for children to learn about these things at home. But if they’re not going to learn these three things at home, I think the school is the second best source, not their friends or some kids from the street. It’s easy for me to talk about drugs and alcohol to my kids but I still feel awkward talking to them about sex. But if that time comes when they ask me, I would definitely sit down and talk to them about it.
I have learned about sex, not from my parents, but from school. I was in grade six when I was first taught about the reproductive system. There were two grade six classes in my school and both classes were divided – boys and girls. Mrs. Jambi, our science teacher, took all the girls from both classes and showed us these huge pictures of the female and male reproductive organs. She drew the pictures on manila paper herself, beautifully and anatomically correct, may I add. Of course there were giggles in the room as probably most of the girls haven’t seen the male reproductive organ (in picture or a real one) before. So we learned how a female menstruates. It was very important as we were at that age when a girl gets her period. And I guess it was also important to the boys when they were taught in the next class, because they were also at that stage when they were experiencing these body changes and they were starting to notice the girls. We also learned how the male transfers his sperm cells to a female, how one of those unites with a female egg and how she gets pregnant.
Where do babies come from?
My children have asked me before where babies come from. I’ve always told them the truth. When I was a small child, I hated it when my mother would tell me, “You’ll know when you’re older.” It just left me wondering all the time. So I make it a point that when my children ask me about anything, I try to answer them the best way I could according to how their young minds could handle it.
On the question, “Where do babies come from?” I’ve always told them:
“A baby grows inside the mommy’s tummy.”
“How do they come out?” would be the next question.
I guess this one has always been easy for me to answer honestly because I had all three of them by C-Section.
“The doctor cut my tummy, but he sewed me back up again,” is my answer. “But some babies come from where the mommy’s pee pee comes out.”
“Eeww! That’s scary,” my youngest son, Ryland, would say.
How do you pee?
When he was a lot younger, Ryland thought that everybody (boys and girls) has a titoy (his term for the boy’s private parts).
“Mommy, do you have a titoy?” he would ask me.
“Ryland, girls don’t have titoys,” I would tell him.
Then one day, we had that same exchange and he added another question.
“So how do you pee?”
“We have something down there but it’s not a titoy. There’s a hole there where pee pee comes out.”
“It’s just like how your titoy has a hole so pee pee can come out.”
He finally got it!
I think it was a few months ago when he told me, “I think I know how mommies have babies in their tummy.”
“You do? How?”
“My friend told me.”
Uh oh, I thought. Both he and his friend were only eight years old so I wondered what they knew. I thought I was going to have that talk with him this early. I’ve seen a Dr. Phil show that tackled this question. I was ready to tell him that boys and girls are like puzzle pieces that fit perfectly.
“What did he tell you? Tell me and I’ll tell you if he was right.”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” he said.
“Please tell me,” I begged.
But he wouldn’t. So I just dropped it. Maybe later on he’ll ask me. But I don’t know. It’s probably easier for girls than it is for boys to talk to their mothers about this kind of stuff.
How do you become a grandma?
The other day, I was telling my kids how I just learned from an email that my elementary school classmate is already a grandmother.
“How did that happen?” Ryan, my 12-year old asked.
“Her daughter, who’s 18 years old, had a baby. So she’s now a grandma,” I said. “And she’s just my age.”
“How will you become a grandma, Mommy?” he asked.
“Well, when you guys get married and have babies, then I will be a grandma.”
“Eewwh, that’s yucky!” Ryland blurted.
“Mommy, do I have to get married?” he asked.
Ha ha ha. Here we go again. We’ve had this conversation before.
“You don’t have to. But I think you’ll want to get married when you are older.”
“No, I don’t want to get married.”
Well, when that time comes when he tells me that he wants to marry some woman he’s in love with, I will remind him about this conversation.