Friday, February 22, 2013

Birds and Bees

Yes. This post is going to be about exactly what you think.

Click away if you blush easily.

I warned you.

I was driving the kids to school on Wednesday when we heard the word "sex" on the radio. (I was listening to Morning Edition on NPR. Don't get crazy, people.) Grace looked at me for a reaction and I realized that she was aware enough to be embarrassed about it somehow.

"Do you know what that word means, Grace?" I asked.

"No," she replied. "Do you?"

"Yes, I do. Do you want me to tell you about it?" She nodded shyly and I told her we'd discuss it after school. We got to school, I hugged the kids goodbye.

I texted Brad to tell him what I had gotten us into, and he casually responded, "Okay. Let's talk with her tonight."

I was totally surprised by his willingness to participate and by his calm attitude. I think I'd kind of hoped he would talk me out of it.

So I started to panic.

I am an adult. I have taken parenting and child development classes. I know that talking to my kids about sex is important. I know that it's an opportunity to open a channel of communication early so they can confide in us later. I know (from experience with my parents) that if I set the stage for safe discussions, my children will come to me later with their questions and concerns.

But have you ever tried explaining sex out loud?

Let's play a game. Try describing sex in terms an elementary student will understand. Say. the. words. out. loud. Then let me know if you get through it without giggling like a five-year-old or throwing up.

Good luck.

I couldn't do it either. So I wrote myself a script. And then I emailed it to Brad and asked him what he thought. I don't recommend sending an email like that. Your side bar ads might start responding in all sorts of salacious ways. Just sayin'.

Brad responded by telling me to chill out.

That night, Brad put the other children to bed, and I picked up some ice cream. Grace, Brad and I sat in our living room and started our conversation by asking Grace what she knew about sex. I let Brad lead the discussion since he was cool as a cucumber.

Until, friends, until. Until he had to describe the mechanics of the subject. And then he hemmed and hawed and choked back a laugh... so it was a really good thing I had memorized my script. I'm telling you, people. Practice this. You'll thank me later.

Grace responded with an expected nervous giggle and a "Gross!" And then we answered her questions and told her about the importance of waiting until she was married and how a baby comes to be and all that business.

And then we ate ice cream and sent her to bed.

And Brad and I actually did a high-five. First major parental test passed. We are awesome.

If "having the talk" is something you may actually consider doing sometime, I highly recommend these people. They're fantastic.


  1. I actually LOVED this post. I am so proud of the awesome parents you two are and wish that you would go into exact detail of what words were said. I'm just asking for the future, you know, so I know what to tell Cora. Haha. Love you guys. Glad you have such a great relationship and support eachother so willingly and kindly.

  2. Hey, yeah, share your script! Maybe we'll all learn something?

    Just kidding.

    I think.

    But really, I love this post. You guys are awesome. And the thought of trying to explain it is totally daunting. Gratefully, I don't think Sam is squeamish about the thought of this conversation at all. I think he'd tell her about it now, if she would listen ...

  3. Best post ever. High five included. I dread this conversation. My parents still have never taught me about sex and I'm determined not to do that to our kids. I am therefore terrified. I like the script idea. I know Paul can't explain it...he gets too technical all the time and throws in far too much medical information. I should start practicing now...

  4. Can I just send my kids to you for 'the talk'? Or maybe your parents? They seem well versed in all those 'things'. :D

    Not. Looking. Forward. To. This.