When and How To Discuss the Birds and the Bees?John Cave Osborne
As the triplets get older, they come up with an ever increasing number of questions. Many of them pertain to the baby inside Mommy’s tummy. “Is the baby a girl?” Kirby will ask. “When will the baby get here?” Jack wants to know. “Will we have to share our toys with the baby?” Sam wonders.
All those questions are a-okay in my book. Certainly easy to answer. After each such one, I breathe a sigh of relief while wondering when the tough one will come. Because I fear the day when one of our wee threesome puts his or her pudgy hand on my wife’s belly and casually asks “How did the baby get in there?”
When the day does come, I hope that I handle it half as well as Amy Suardi handled it. She wrote a wonderful feature yesterday for Babble that I strongly encourage each and every parent to read. Aside from being delighted by Suardi’s charming account of how she answered the dreaded question from daughter, I was also enlightened by several aspects of her approach — most notably her decision to tell her daughter the truth in candid terms despite the fact that her little girl is only 5 years old.
Yet Suardi’s account proves that such a tender age is not too young to handle the truth about the birds and the bees. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense to tell your kids whenever you feel they are ready. And if they ask, odds are they’re ready. Regardless of what age they are.
Besides, if you continue to avoid the topic you’ll end up like that poor kid in my fifth-grade class who (true story) thought you made a baby by “holding hands and touching butts.”
Boy am I glad I wasn’t that guy. I knew way before fifth grade. But now that I think about it, I don’t remember exactly how old Iwas. Nor do I remember, for that matter, my parents ever sitting me down and having “the conversation” with me. Being the fifth of five kids, maybe I just picked it up from my older siblings.
OH. And from that book, Where Did I Come From. Have you ever heard of that one? It’s a classic. I must have read that thing a thousand times. Have you ever read it? If so, maybe you’ll remember the following excerpt. Talk about cutting to the chase:
MAKING LOVE — It’s called making love, because it all starts with the man and the woman loving each other… It’s a difficult feeling to describe, but if you can imagine a gentle tingly sort of tickle that starts in your stomach and spreads all over… When you’re feeling tickly you wriggle about a bit. It’s just the same here, except it’s a special kind of wriggling. The man pushes his penis up and down inside the woman’s vagina, so that both the tickly parts are being rubbed against each other. It’s like scratching an itch, but a lot nicer…
Now you may be thinking: If it’s so nice, why don’t people do it all the time? There are 2 reasons. Good as it is, you just can’t do it all day long. And the 2nd reason is that something really wonderful happens which puts an end to the tickly feeling, and at the same time starts the making of the baby…a tremendous big lovely shiver for both of them… (You know how it is when you have a tickle in your nose for a long time, and then you have a really big sneeze? It’s a little like that.) At the same time, a spurt of quite thick, sticky stuff comes from the end of the man’s penis, and this goes into the woman’s vagina.
Whoa. Talk about TMI. Though, technically, experts really do encourage parents to use the words “penis” and “vagina” when discussing the birds and the bees. But breaking down the big O? Probably not for me.
Nor does it sound like it’s for Suardi. In fact, she couldn’t even bring herself to use the biological terms. “Well,” she tells her daughter, “if you really want to know, a mommy and a daddy take off their clothes and the daddy sticks his pee-pee in the mommy’s wee-wee.
“Yeah,” Suardi admits to her readers, “I know I was supposed to use anatomical terms, but it sounded weird enough already.”
I’ll tell you what’s not weird. Suardi’s wonderful essay. Simply reflecting upon it will help me whenever it is I field the dreaded question. Or, for that matter, whenever I decide to head said question off at the pass. To read it, click HERE.