Have you ever been asked by your kids how babies are made? How do you answer them? When my kids were pre-schoolers, I used to have a stock answer. I opened up Childcraft, a set of kiddie encyclopaedias and flipped to the page on how babies are made.
“First daddy put an egg in mummy. See this picture, the egg is just a dot. Then it grows to become a baby in mummy’s womb (pointing to various stages of the foetus development). After nine months, the baby is born.”
My memory is fuzzy and I can’t remember if they ever asked me how did daddy put the egg in mummy. Perhaps I had pretended I didn’t hear the question. Perhaps I said, “Ask daddy when he comes home.” Perhaps I said, “Now is not the right time for you to know how.” What I do remember is that I have never ever spelled out to my kids how the birds and the bees go about their business.
Suddenly the kids (the elder two) become teenagers. They have outgrown Childcraft. I asked them whether they had sex education in school. Smiles. During Science, they are taught reproduction.
My memory is still a bit fuzzy. I think I’ve asked them, “Do you know what is sex? Do you know how it’s done?”
More smiles, nudges and shy looks.
“How do you know?” I asked.
End of sex education at home. My parents never told me about the birds and the bees. When I was very young, I thought babies were made by two adults sleeping together. I used to be very perplexed at how actresses didn’t get pregnant when they sleep on the same bed with their co-stars.
I suppose every person have their own misconception of how babies were conceived. In She’s Become Undone, an excellent novel by Wally Lamb, the protagonist Dolores used to think that her parents rubbed their bodies against each other like two match sticks being rubbed and ta-da, the baby is made.
Do you have any stories to tell on how you educate your young ones on this sensitive subject? Is there an easy, just-add-water way which spares the blushes? My older two are 15 and 16. I think it’s time I sit them down and have a heart-to-heart talk with them rather than let them get the knowledge from friends, books and the media.