Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Birds and the Bees

There, I have warned you. If you are a more gentle reader, please stop here . . . although, now I am certain you will all continue on due to the pull of human curiosity. I did ask Mike last night if this post was "too much." He perused it briefly, rubbed his eyes, and commented that it was a bit more eye raising than usual, but he would have to read it in the light of day to make any sure judgements . . . of course now it is the light of day and he is at work, and I, well I feel like posting . . . so let's hope this should not have been stopped. If so, blame my husband for not keeping his wife in line better.
I once read that the best way to teach your kids about sex is to simply answer questions as they come up – honestly but with out necessarily giving way more information than they are asking or are ready for. The idea being that there will be no need for ONE big talk because you will have had a series of enlighteningly lovely discussions. Although, it occurs to me that at some point some explaining will need to be done whether or not the right questions have been asked.

After my biology days and once having to substitute teach an actual class for my Anatomy professor on the very day that the subject was male anatomy and function, I have become fairly scientific in my explanation of most things. (That might explain why Abe at age 3 or 4 commented, “Wow, that baby sure has a lot of pigment!” when he first met my sister’s Haitian son). My kids have asked questions here and there as to just how on earth babies get out, and how they start. They know the answers to these things, and they think it is great that babies start as a tiny egg because – hello! An egg? Even though it’s waaaay smaller than a chicken egg and looks nothing like a chicken egg – still, an egg. They also know that genes come from moms and dads; and kids are a mix of their parents. I think I’ve explained these things perhaps a bit more openly than some think right, but also in a way that they have never seemed disturbed, though they have found aspects to be surprising -- possibly silly. Still, with all this knowledge, they have not yet wondered how all these various things come together, which is just as well at this point.

I was discussing this very topic with a few friends today (when and what to tell kids) while our children wailed at being stuck in various parts of the McDonalds Playland we were at. Moms love to do that when they’re together. No, not just ignore our children when they are stuck in tunnels, tubes and slides (hoping against all hope that if we ignore them long enough they will figure it out and we won’t be forced to climb in there for a slithering claustrophobic feeling rescue) – but they like to talk about subjects like: when to teach your kids about the birds and the bees, nursing, certain things that can be lost at the onset of labor (if you don’t know what I am referring to, it’s all for the best. Mike thinks the word is awful – and he’s right) and basically anything else that would send most husbands scurrying from the room.

I told them that the funny thing about my kids is they have asked far more detailed questions about chickens than humans. They like to know that not every egg you eat might have become a little chick and this has lead to a discussion on the necessity of roosters in the chick producing business. Surprisingly, they have specifically asked how something from the rooster gets connected with the egg (and they have never wondered such craziness about us humans). I tried to tell them (though I was able to be very fuzzy in the details while maintaining my honest policy because while I have seen many a rooster in action, I have never been certain myself just what goes on under all those feathers and flapping – I took ornithology in college, but they must have neglected that part of the bird’s anatomy). In any case, they think it is weirdly hilarious that something from the rooster actually gets into the hen when all that leaping is afoot. I don’t know if hilarious is the best approach, but it’s something. My friends laughingly pointed out that I have truly taught my kids “the birds and the bees.”

When I relayed that comment to Mike, he told me that under no circumstances was I to relate any of their sexual education to the habits of bees as that would mess them up for sure. And, if you know much about bees, you can see this is a good point. He then went on to tell me a little about the queen termite and her role in this whole business. Thank goodness it isn’t “the birds and the termites” because I found this information most revolting and wished I hadn’t heard it -- which has brought me back around to the sage advice I mentioned at the beginning of this post about giving answers to such things only as questions are asked!


Liz said...

I had the "birds and the bees" talk with my mom on one of our camping trips as a family, and it's funny because she actually used the chicken and the egg fertilizing to explain how babies are made, but the whole time I remember thinking "eggs and fertilization-that's great, but what does it have to do with sex?" It wasn't until later that I figured out how sex played a role.

BS and the Kids said...

Ornithology??? I mean, who even knows what that is, let alone has taken a class in it. You just are too much of a smarty pants. And your kids are just going to be smarty pants as well. And I don't even know how an egg is fertilized by a rooster, your kids are going to show me up!!! Love the explanation. You will get a few more questions I am sure when this next baby is born. Good luck with that.

Perla said...

mucous plug. hahaha. have mike read that.

very funny post!

Mugsy said...

O ho ho that was some good laughing out loud to myself! I just love the way you write. And I love th "weirdly hilarious" because I can just picture the kids saying what you say to them and then laughing in a "weird" maybe nervous laugh.
Man tha was some funny reading. I just love it because I am relating in one way or another to every word!

Kelly said...

Hey I just learned that women get sent home from the hospital with some sort of squirt bottle after giving birth...I only can have C-sections, how was I supposed to know about plugs and bottles?

Nancy said...

Oh Shannon, you are right. Shudder.

Kelly, yes, your mother must have forgotten to tell you about the squirt bottle in the birds and the bees talk. Hehe. J/K, but yah, those bottles are quite the lifesaver after childbirth.

See, women love to talk about this kind of thing.

Tash said...

BEST POST YET award. yeah bman cringes when those two words are linked together
mucous + plug
then he says we will never be able to have any more kids
he has used that empty threat like 1000 times
thanks for enlightening
but frankly I was never sure how the whole chicken rooster thing occurred either...YOUR NEXT ASSIGNMENT

Gracie J said...

Maybe you should tell them what the Black Widow spider does after she mates? That should comfort them a good deal (or perhaps get them to stop asking questions altogether).

It's funny that Ana is not at all curious about this type of thing. That being the talk of "birds & bees". Perhaps because she's never seen me pregnant and doesn't have siblings? She knows plenty about other things like tampons and bras having grown up around me and my sisters, poor girl.

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