This hilarious video of Julia Sweeney's "birds and bees" talk with her daughter has been making the rounds lately. If you haven't seen it yet, it's soooo worth ten minutes of your life:
It had me laughing so hard I cried. But it does draw attention to the fact that, despite our generation's sense of sexual liberation, most of us are really still stuck in a state of Christian repression. Talking to kids about one of the great joys of life should be something we revel in, not something we are embarrassed about.
I have to brag a little bit and tell you that I might be the only parent in history who has actually brought up the subject of sex before it was necessary. About a month ago, Adam, Sam and I were talking about the babies in my tummy. It occurred to me that she had never asked how they got there. She is at the developmental level where she was probably on the cusp of wondering about it, but I got excited to tell her and brought it up: "Sam, you know there are babies in my tummy, but how did they get there?" She paused and got a faraway look in her eyes. I was right - it did interest her!
I hadn't thought at all about how I would explain it, but she knows about chicken eggs, so I told her how girls have eggs in their tummies (she has no knowledge of internal organs yet). I told her that they are not like chicken eggs because they are so tiny that you can't even see them. Then I told her that men have something...um...."Adam, how can I explain sperm?" He had no idea. I couldn't think of anything in her world that is analogous, so I just said that men have sperm, which are kind of like eggs too. And I told her that, to make a baby, you had to put the girl's eggs and the man's sperm together. And when that happens, you have the beginnings of a baby. A "maybe baby," as we've been calling early embryos. She knows all about how the babies grow from there on.
What I didn't think of was what I'd say if she asked how the sperm got in the mommy's tummy. When I realized that was the next logical question, I have to admit that I panicked a bit. I was so relieved when it didn't occur to her, but not because I was dreading the penis-in-vagina explanation. I was dreading having to find a way to explain IVF!