It’s been a long time coming, something I’ve put off, danced around, hemmed and hawed at, and frankly didn’t know how to approach: the talk. You know the one, the birds and the bees. The uncomfortable, sweaty-palmed, God-please-let-this-end talk.
My son has flirted with the topic for probably a year while I’ve done nothing but dodge it. It’s not that I haven’t planned on having that talk. He just always catches me off guard. Driving home from school is not a good time for me to start talking about body parts and what goes where. It didn’t help when his younger sister began asking questions about our pregnant neighbor.
“What I don’t understand is how did the baby get in her tummy?” she’d wonder. It was all I could do to keep our van from veering off the road. Why did they never ask their dad these questions while he was in the midst of trying to have a normal afternoon?
The thing was, I needed to wrap my mind around what I was going to say to my son. I had to mentally prepare. I couldn’t blabber on. I had to breathe. This required rehearsal, thorough thought, simple explanation. I couldn’t get too scientific or explain too much. I had to be prepared for questions because I knew he wouldn’t be afraid to ask. This was a delicate operation. I never felt ready when the topic came up, but I knew I had to approach it. He came to me, not my husband, so I felt I had to be ready to answer him the next time he had uncomfortable questions.
My own experiences around the same age included a boy passing the S encyclopedia around the class and pointing out the passage about sex. After a minute of reading and comprehending, I merely replied, “EW!” Later I overheard more details while I pretended to be asleep at my sister’s sleepover. I pieced things together. My parents never sat me down. They gave me a pamphlet about puberty. My older sister would never answer my questions. When I felt like the only kid who didn’t know things later on, I was embarrassed. I decided not to do that to my kids. But that hasn’t made having the talk any easier.
I knew my son knew the logistics. He gave enough hints. And I planned to bring it up. We talk about a lot of things. But last night he beat me to it. He gave me the talk. He schooled me in what third-grade boys think sex is. I sat, mortified, shocked, disbelieving, and a bit humored at the whole scene—unfortunately there were demonstrations, though certainly nowhere near correct.
But I was proud of myself. I remained calm. I wasn’t nervous. I set him straight about a few things even though he giggled through a lot of it. I used all the correct names like I was supposed to, and I told him the plain and simple truth. It was easy and fairly painless. My preparation had paid off.
Then he asked, “Did you and Daddy do that?”
I totally wasn’t prepared for that.