Sex, Bubs and Our Reproductive Role.
*News Alert* Sometimes my posts may veer away from travel, expat life, Asia and the like, and accidentally cross over into other things, like say, motherhood. Ah yes, that old chestnut! (I promise they’ll still be entertaining.) 😉
What’s the time Mr Wolf? 1 o’clock? 2 o’clock….or perhaps it’s Truth o’clock.
When your small person starts wanting to know more than Mr Wolf’s time, like ‘Muuumm how are babies made?’ It’s time to start talking, or is it?
I must admit I baulked a little when the school announced it was having a ‘family night’ to talk about the birds and the bees.
Yep, the big one. That loaded question where once the answer’s out there, there’s no turning back. Repeat, No. Turning. Back!
Of course, it got me thinking, just when is the right time to tell your child about sex? Actual sex and the ‘facts of life’ – not just some funny story about a stork visiting.
My child’s eight, well if you ask her, “Technically eight and three quarters, thank you very much.” But I was pretty sure she hadn’t a clue about how babies were actually made, at least not the nitty gritty.
A quick poll on the School Mum’s thread also known as ‘The Village’ and I found out most were going to be sending their offspring to the evening to learn just how they erm, came to be offspring.
These talks only come around once every two years, so if she missed it this time, she’d be in Year 5, ten years old by the time she heard the talk, which also seemed a little too late. Perhaps?
I also thought, ‘Great if they give the talk, the heats off me!’ What if I got it wrong, or disseminated the information in a completely incompetent way (which is highly likely)?
And if she didn’t go, she was bound to hear about it in the playground, right?
Did I want that to be her lesson on the birds and the bees?
US based Sex Educator Nadine Thornhill says it’s important to focus on being honest.
“There’s more risk with not telling them enough than telling them too much,” she says.
So, I bit the bullet and signed up, while signalling for hubby to add this one to the calendar. (Oh yeh, don’t think you’re getting out of it that easy, Mister!)
It was a Tuesday night when we all took ourselves off to the school hall, where we sat eagerly/awkwardly awaiting the news, with a little bit of nervous giggling – mostly from the parents.
Most of the kids looked like they’d rather be anywhere but here, eyes rolling in the back of their heads.
The company giving the talk is Interrelate, a not for profit organisation with all sorts of programs ‘designed to nurture and grow happy, healthy humans.’
By Year 3 it’s expected many children will have a keen interest and have formulated some sort of theory.
Better Health says school programs are vital to support this process. Developing good sexuality education programs shows that the community takes responsibility for this aspect of children’s growth and development. If families and schools won’t take the subject on, children will turn to other sources of information that may not be reliable, such as friends, the Internet (heaven forbid) or the media.
Our particular program was a sixty-minute session aimed specifically at years 3 and 4 called ‘Where did I come from?’ – The session after us was for the bigger kids, ‘Preparing for Puberty’.
Our teacher was a fantastic young guy who clearly wasn’t afraid of using the big words. Penis and Vulva were sprayed out into the air like mini fireworks. But he took his time using fabulous, colourful images to gently work towards the clanger, showing us all the necessary body parts to make a baby.
I must admit even I learned a thing or two.
He talked about everything from our ‘private parts’ being just that and asked our children to turn to the adults with them and discuss five people in their lives they can really trust. He spoke about gender identity, the many different shapes and sizes families come in and IVF.
Then everyone got handed brightly coloured laminated cards to hold onto, until they were called up on the stage to read out their card which appropriately went with the cards the adults on stage were hiding behind displaying.
Seeing a dad, who’s a good friend holding up the world ‘Vagina,’ while mum proudly held up ‘Scrotum’ was just a little bit humorous (for the adults).
If only we were allowed photos.
Then came the clincher and I’m quite sure every parent in the room held his or her breath.
The projector lit up unveiling a cartoon picture of a mum and dad having sexual intercourse, after a lot of “kissing and cuddling” of course. There were a few gasps, and ‘noooo’…from some kids in the room, definitely a few giggles and interestingly plenty of shrugs and ‘so what’.
I’m quite sure the penny hasn’t dropped for our little one, yet. She was far more interested in how a baby grows inside a mummy’s tummy. One minute it’s the size of a sultana, then a lime, an avocado and so on…
And then they were given the low down on all the ways a baby can come out. I had a caesarean, and even though my small person knew there was another way, it was still an eye opener. I could almost see her mind boggling as she stared up at the big screen.
I sat their smiling rather smugly. ‘Yes, honey, we mums are pretty amazing humans on that front, aren’t we!’
It all wrapped up with a big cheer and we’re done. The talk is done.
I’m sure there will be many curly questions to follow, once the information has time to percolate, whether that’s next week or next year.
Experts say there’s no perfect time to discuss things like ‘Where do I come from’ and ‘What is sex?’ but it’s about how comfortable your family feels talking about these things.
Interrelate says, Research shows that if young people are given accurate and reliable information, they are more able to make good choices.
So, even if it doesn’t all sink in yet, as they say, knowledge is power.
And I’m off the hook. For now.