People in Chicago seem to be talking sex a little more lately with the newly approved sex education curricula. It almost seems like a movie trailer: "COMING SOON to a Kindergarten class near you! FALL 2014. The new hit. Where Do Babies Come From?"
The new curriculum has touched a nerve with some people. They think a child’s innocence will be lost. Others think it is a great idea. Personally, I am a fan of any and all education as long as the information is accurate and taught to the appropriate age level. Kids are asking all sorts of questions all the time anyway. Trust me.
However, this got me thinking. Will there be versions of the classes for grown ups. In a society that still gets pretty high ratings for a show that is called I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant perhaps there are some adults that could use a lesson in how babies are made (I kid. I kid. sort of).
Yesterday, a friend showed me this video:
Like Julia Sweeney, my husband and I heard somewhere a long time ago that answering a child’s question directly and honestly, even if it is a simple yes or no is fine. Answer the question. We decided to take this approach when talking about everything.
A few weeks ago, I picked up the kids from school. In the car, we were talking about a family friend of ours who is expecting a baby. My oldest (age 5) says, “Mom, how does a baby get inside a Mommy’s tummy?”
First off, I was so thankful we were at a stoplight because I’m pretty sure I would have skidded off the road. Secondly, I thought carefully, and chose my words wisely. Thirdly, I hoped that this car ride went quickly.
“Well,” I started, “when people want to have a family, sometimes they decide to make a baby. After they make the baby, the baby is in the Mommy’s tummy to grow big and strong and gets ready to be born.” There, I did it. Answered a question.
My oldest simply replies, “Oh, ok.”
Whew. Dodged a bullet.
My middle child (age 3) pipes up. “Mommy, how does the baby get out of the tummy?”
“Someone helps the mommy.”
“A doctor, nurse or helper.” This isn’t so bad. I'm just answering questions.
Crap another red light! “They sometimes go to the hospital or a special place, and the baby gets out of her tummy.”
“Does it hurt?”
“Sometimes.” Ok, I fibbed here.
“Because sometimes things hurt.” Also, there are epidurals.
“Does the baby come out of her belly button?”
Red light. “No.”
My oldest again joins the conversation and asks, “Do Mommies need surgery to get the baby out?”
I reply, “Sometimes.” Ok this game is getting old. Also, what is with all these red lights? This is the longest ride home EVER!
There is a little bit of silence, so I decide to turn up the radio and hope “Call Me Maybe” comes on to distract them. It didn’t happen.
My middle child speaks again. “Mommy, WHERE does the baby come out?”
“I told you, the hospital.” Clearly, I’m doing my best to avoid where the baby comes out, because knowing my kids, there will be more questions about how the baby got in there.
“No, Mommy. Where does the baby come out of her body?”
Another frickin' red light! Are you kidding me?! I took a deep breath. “Well, you know how boys have a penis, and girls have a vagina?”
Everyone, even my two-year-old daughter who is in the process of being potty trained says, “YES????”
“Well, a baby comes out of a Mommy’s vagina.” There I said it. Please let that be the end of the red lights.
My oldest says, “OH????”
My middle child says, “WHAT?!?!?!?!”
My youngest says, “Vagina, pee pee, potty.”
I say, “Yep," with kind of a sense of finality.
There is quiet.
We are two minutes from home. Then suddenly, a FREIGHT TRAIN! Oh no.
Finally, my middle child with total anger in his voice yells at me saying:
“Mommy, that is not real! Tell the truth! Where does the baby come out! You shouldn’t lie!”
I stayed calm, and I stated. “I am telling you the truth. Babies come out of their Mommies vaginas. That is the way it is.”
No more questions. I have a feeling that they think I was making this up.
The train passes.
We get home (thank goodness). We pull in the driveway. I unbuckle three kids out of car seats. I send everyone in the house to wash hands, empty backpacks, take off shoes, and coats.
We had grilled cheese, tomato soup, apples and pears. We talked about school, their friends, and what time Daddy would be home. I got them their favorite stuffed animals, and read them a story. We snuggled. I tucked them in for afternoon naps and gave them each a kiss.
We haven't talked about where babies come from again... yet.
They have not lost their innocence. I have not “given them any ideas” They still watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, read Dr. Suess, eat chicken nuggets, play for hours with Legos, horses, dollhouses, and matchbox cars.
I answered their question. I told them where babies come out.
And they don’t even believe me.
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