Monday, August 5, 2013

The Birds And The Bees

He is growing up.  Getting older.  In a few weeks he will be starting fifth grade.  Fifth grade!  How did that happen so soon?

He has gone off to camp on his own.  He is feeling his independence.  Slowly, slowly becoming more mature.

It seems that he has developed a much more positive "can do", "never give up",  attitude in the last couple of months as well.  Something I have been praying about for him and will definitely help him in the long run. I know he will always struggle with being too hard on himself (the curse of the firstborn) but I think a positive attitude is everything.

Recently, he has been taking very good care of his room.  Folding his clothes, making his bed, keeping things tidy.  He is given an allowance for it now to ensure he keeps up the good work.  

He had also been begging to cut our grass for months now.  Finally, Todd showed him how to use our push mower.  People, we have a huge lawn. Huge. Todd uses a riding mower but wasn't quite ready to hand that over to Joey just yet. Instead, Joey got a quick lesson in push mowers and then proceeded to cut our entire front lawn. A couple of days later he cut the backyard. He loved it. Loved it! He was hooked. The novelty wore off a bit but he has still cut our lawn a few more times since then.

The kid is growing up.  

And it was time.  

I knew it would be coming soon.  I mean, the kid is going into 5th grade.  I think I knew about the birds and the bees when I was in 3rd grade, tops.  But, bless my dear, sweet, innocent Joey, he knew nothing. Probably another bonus of him going to a sheltered parochial school. The subject just never came up before with his friends or at school.  He really didn't know anything. Not a thing. And it was time. 

There were times when I considered telling him before. Like when I asked him not to say "Humpin' Honeys" even though that was the name on the side of his war plane.  Or when the kids repeated the word "sexy" after they heard it in the car commercial and I told them I don't want them saying it.  I tried to say that it was inappropriate talk for kids and leave it at that but there comes a time when more of an explanation is needed.  

That time was tonight.

It came up completely innocently and when I said, "Maybe it's time we had the birds and the bees talk, Joe." he was very receptive.  Although, I honestly think at first he thought we'd be talking about birds and bees. When I told him that I meant I think he is old enough to know how babies are made he was all for it.  

As I walked him to our library and closed the door (the younger kids just aren't ready to overhear this conversation yet) I said a silent prayer asking for guidance to say the right things.  I grabbed a book off our shelf (It's Not The Stork) for a visual reference and then I began.  

I started by telling Joe that women have eggs that need to be fertilized by a man.  And then I told him exactly how that happens.  I used all the correct terminology (something I had been doing with all of my kids since birth so it never felt weird saying "penis" or "vagina").  I pointed to pictures in the book explaining the uterus and ovaries.  I even talked about puberty and menstrual cycles a bit.  I was comfortable, he was comfortable, and we talked freely.  

Joey told me he thought it was disgusting. I told him that I know it sounds that way but it really isn't.  It is a wonderful thing but it is to be taken very seriously. I explained more about how I feel that God intended for sex to be beautiful, since you are creating a life, and that is why it should be between a married couple. Joey vowed that he would never have sex.  Fine with me.

At one point Joey said, "I can't believe that you and dad had to do that 4 times just to have babies." Dear sweet Joey. He also told me (after I told him about periods and how eggs get old eventually) that he hopes my eggs aren't too old yet because he wants me to have another baby.  Crazy kid.  He always loved holding his siblings as babies. So sweet.  Unfortunately, I believe that ship has sailed.  Four is our magic number (says the hubby). 

I tell you what, people, I could not have dreamed that this little talk would have gone this well. I am so thankful. I let Joey know that he shouldn't talk about it with his friends because their parents probably want to be the one to tell them about it. I also said his siblings are too young to know, and he agreed. I admitted to him that my parents never had this talk with me and that many people are embarrassed to talk about it, but not me.  I let him know that he can always come to me with any questions.  He can ask me anything. I won't be embarrassed.  

He handled it like a man. Actually, probably better than a man. He asked thoughtful questions.  He didn't make silly jokes out of embarrassment. He took it like the little scientist I always thought him to be.  It was awesome.  Very breezy and casual.  Quite a bonding moment, actually. 

One more milestone down.

He is growing up. I can't stop it.  Nor do I want to.


Charmaine said...

Hey Kat :) ten out of ten !

Bijoux said...

You did a beautiful job. My kids all had health class in 5th grade where they learned about reproduction, so I always had the talk with them ahead of tme. But I made my husband do the talk with our son. I still remember our oldest, who is now an RN, asking me if people went into the bathroom to do it because it sounded like something gross and medical! LOL! I had to tell her people do it EVERYWHERE!

Emily said...

You have no idea how much I appreciate you sharing this. I've been wondering when I'm going to have to have that talk with Jack...he's going into 4th grade this year. and wondering how to do it! Thanks for sharing your experience and imparting some words of wisdom!

Kat said...

Charmaine- Thanks! I am really happy about how it went. Couldn't have gone better.

Bijoux- That is hilarious! It does sound very medical, doesn't it?

Emily- It is nerve wracking to think about but it went really smoothly. I think it helped that I have always been pretty upfront and direct and used the proper terms (penis, vagina, etc). I tried to make it sound more medical but that it was also pretty amazing. And I let Joey know that God made it beautiful but that it is a very serious/important thing too and many people don't treat it that way. I wanted to convey the fact that sex isn't a bad thing, it is wonderful, but it is to be respected. I think he got it. Good luck!

I had reservations about sharing this on my blog. I never want to post something that will embarrass my kids when they get older, but I do think that it might help other parents talk about it with their kids too. And I wanted to write it down so that I don't forget it either. It was pretty special. :)

Mom24 said...

GREAT job Kat! Wow! Hmm, want to come give a two for one? It is so hard to talk about with my two youngest for some reason, but you've given me a push to just do it!

Kat said...

Mom24- Thanks! I think the key is to appear as cool and comfortable as possible. They won't know to be uncomfortable or embarrassed unless they pick that vibe up from you. Easier said than done, I know, but I think it is so important for kids to hear the info from mom and dad first so that we can put our morals and values into the speech. That was very important to me. I never want my kids to think sex is dirty or bad but I also want them to see it as something very special, and something to be cherished. You don't see that much in society anymore.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Way to use REAL NAMES, Kat! It's a pet peeve of mine when people don't. Also, good to keep the talk going--I want my kids to learn about all things sex and values here first--goodness knows they'll learn plenty outside the nest.

Tabor said...

High five for handling it so well. Kids learn early from many sources, and of course, do not get it right...they do not get the facts along with the important talk about relationships and responsibility.

Elaine Alguire said...

Alright, you're hired! ha ha!

You're such a good Mom, Kat.

Ben and I actually had a similar conversation yesterday actually but it was because I had to take the kids with me to buy feminine products and he was SO curious as to what I was purchasing. He's a tad younger but very similar to your oldest personality-wise.

Glad the two of you had such a good talk. That is really wonderful. :)

Wisconsin Girl said...

Job well done, and since it went to well it will probably be easier to approach with your younger children when the time comes. Thanks for sharing this, as it is so important. And for sharing the book title. There was another one that you shared not long ago, and without going back I can't remember what it was right now, but I was going to look into it because it sounded like one I should have on hand. You can never have enough books!

Dawn said...

Good for you. I'm glad it went well. I think I'm going to wait until my son is the same age as your Joey, which will be next summer. Thank you for sharing how you did this little talk with your son. It was helpful for me.

Kat said...

Thanks, everyone! Y'all are so supportive! :)

WI Girl- That other book you are talking about is probably "I Said No!" My kids LOVE that book and I recommend it for every parent. It really talks about how their bodies are their own and no one should be allowed access to it. It is empowering for them without being scary. HIGHLY recommend that one.

lime said...

ah growing up. glad to hear the talk went so well.

Cyndy @ Back in the Bush said...

I hope, one day years from now when he and his wife announce their first pregnancy, you remind him that he was NEVER having sex. LOL
You did great! =)

Riahli said...

Awesome! I had that talk with my boys just a little while ago. :) We've always talked pretty freely about our bodies, and used the actual names so the talk wasn't as awkward as I thought it would be. We read parts of "Where did I come from" {didn't feel like mine were quite ready for the whole thing} and a funny one called "Mommy Laid An Egg" {we skipped some pages in there as well, for now}. Sounds like your talk went really well. :)

I also ordered the book "I Said NO!" {as well as another one called "Your Body Belongs to You"} after reading your recommendation in a different post. I had talked to them a tiny bit about it in the past, but not well enough. I liked being able to read a couple books about it, I think it got their attention better, and they listened really well. :) I'm glad that I read through them first on my own though, because it brought up a lot of issues for me {from my childhood} that I didn't expect, and I started to cry pretty hard... it was good to get that out before reading it to the kids. It was such a relief to me to feel like I was empowering them and opening up the dialogue for the future. :) So thank you for sharing that info. :)

Words To Live By

Be grateful for each new day.
A new day that you have never lived before.
Twenty-four new, fresh, unexplored hours to use usefully and profitably.
We can squander, neglect, or use them.
Life will be richer or poorer by the way we use today.
Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could;
some blunders and absurdities crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
encumbered with your old nonsense.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson