We’ve tried to be very forthright with our kids about everything from chronic illness to fertility to death. We have always intended to extend that policy to sex, as well. However, I still feel like I was just caught with my pants down.
My 8-year-old son was showing his siblings a photography advertisement including a photo of two kids kissing. He said things like, “Ew! Look at that! So gross!”
Then he said, “She’s going to get pregnant.”
Without thinking, I retorted, “Kissing isn’t how you get pregnant.”
Oh yes… he did.
“How DO you get pregnant?” he asked.
Oh crap. I’m not ready for this.
I stalled. “Well, it’s really complicated and very cool. Let me think the best way to explain it.”
Stay calm you fool! Don’t act scared and don’t act nervous. Think, girl!
“Girls have eggs. Kind of like birds, except we don’t lay them in nests,” I began. “We keep them inside our stomachs. Remember how my belly got really big when your brother was inside there?”
He seems relaxed. Keep breathing.
“Well, boy have seeds. They are like little fish and they swim. The little fish…” I paused, then decided to use the real term. “The little fish is called sperm and it has to swim to the egg. If it gets there, it breaks through and becomes part of the egg.”
He interrupted with something about birth marks and how boys and girls have birth marks.
I shook my head. “No, birth mark isn’t the right word. See, there’s this stuff called DNA that says what you’re going to look like and if you’re a boy or a girl. An egg has half the DNA and a sperm has the other half. When they get together, you get a complete set and then they start dividing. It’s really cool. Then after about 40 weeks, you have a baby that is old enough to live outside the mommy’s tummy.”
Please don’t ask how the sperm gets to the egg. Not tonight.
He didn’t. Yet. But I know his little mind is thinking and one day, he will come up to me and say, “So mom, I have a question. How does the sperm get from me inside a girl’s tummy?”
Got any dos or don’ts I should remember on that day?
Edited to add: Great suggestions and book recommendations in the comments! Thanks so much for sharing, friends.