Growing up, sex, relationship, and drugs were awkward, embarrassing, and sometimes taboo subjects.
I come from a split family. I was given two sex talks: 1, my step-mom had me read the passage from the bible about who you should be with to my three younger siblings ('You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the LORD. 22'You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. 23'Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion.…Leviticus 18:22) and 2, my step-dad--while I was trapped in the camaro, trying to learn how to drive a stick shift--told me I needed to use protection, and should only have sex with someone if I loved them (good advice, but the delivery could have been a little less, uhm, embarrassing.) My mom--TO THIS DAY--will not talk about sex in front of me. She will, during an intimate moment in a movie, still tell me to cover my eyes. She was there when my second baby was born. I am 32 years old. She knows that I know what sex is. But it's still awkward for her.
Needless to say, I was confused.
I find it very, very important to talk to my kids about sex, relationships, and drugs. Yes, they're only 3 and 7 years old, but I'm laying the foundation for having healthy conversations when they're older. There are good reasons to do so, like reducing the risk of teen pregnancies, or avoiding drug addictions as adults. I encourage everyone to talk with their children about these topics NOW so that when the big conversations come up you are prepared--you will have gotten over the awkward stage, and your child will know that it's OK to talk about anything with you.
While I'm at it, let me also mention that everything we talk about is developmentally appropriate.
So, this morning, during our drive to school, Fini (3) is telling me how much he loves his hat (the red one I made for him.) He's decided he's never going to grow out of it, and he can wear it forever. So Eamon (7) says that he will in fact grow out of it, because he eats fruit and vegetables, and those give you energy to grow. So I interject (recognizing both an oncoming argument and a chance to talk about sex with my kids--look people, it's either that, or we talk about Skylanders, and frankly, I'm tired of Skylanders) that it's actually Fini's DNA that determines how big he'll grow.
Me: "Isn't it cool that our bodies know exactly how much to grow? Our genes send messages to our bodies to tell us whether or not we're boys or girls, or short or tall, or have brown eyes or green. And that happens at conception, when the sperm fertilizes the egg." (See what I did there?)
Eamon: "If it happens at conception, then why did Aunty just find out that she's having a girl?"
Me: "Because her baby hadn't formed her vagina on the outside yet. So even though Aunty is about twenty weeks pregnant, there wasn't an ultrasound strong enough to show us what was on the inside of the baby's body. But her DNA was decided when the sperm and egg got together (he still hasn't asked me HOW they get together--see, keeping it developmentally appropriate.)"
Eamon: "So that's why a giant squid is squishy!"
Me: ".....I'm going to need more information, kiddo."
Eamon (speaking slowly, as if I need help understanding): "Well, the daddy giant squid and the mommy giant squid made a baby. And at the baby's conception, his DNA determined that he would be squishy."