My husband I have not actually had a proper discussion on how we’re going to go handle the topic of sex and reproduction with our children. It’s one of those topics you hope to avoid until the teenage years, I suppose. As a result, we kind of skipped the whole stork phase with the girls.
The only thing we had spoken about was choosing to use the proper terms for ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ instead of euphemisms. (I still cringe inside whenever biscuits are called ‘cookies’.)
When I was pregnant with Emmy, we explained to Angie that there was a baby growing in my tummy. We told her God took a piece of Mommy and a piece of Daddy and put them together in my tummy to grow into a baby. That was enough information for her then. A while later, we explained adoption to her as well.
Birth was easy to explain; both girls were delivered via C-section so we told them the doctor cut open my tummy to take them. Recently we had to explain that not all babies are born that way. Consequently, Angie has decided – at the age of four – that she wants a vaginal delivery. (“I’m going to have three children, Mommy, and Emmy will have four.”)
Last week, on library day, the girls ran in ahead of me to choose their own books. Angie grabbed the first four she saw, which happened to be from the Afrikaans shelf. (When I asked her if she wanted some English books, she told me, “No, Mommy. I like Afrikaans.”) Emmy followed her big sister’s example, and the book she selected was this one:
The girls have asked to read this book every day since then.
Angie now knows that the piece of Daddy is called sperm, and that Mommy has eggs. We’re sticking with “God puts them together and puts them inside Mommy” for now.
This was more information than we’d intended to give the girls at this age, but we’ve been careful not to give them too much information. We’ve been guided by the questions they ask when they look at the pictures to gauge how much to tell them.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)
What do you think? When is a good time to start explaining sex and reproduction to your children?