Thursday, August 04, 2011

Talking about S-E-X

I grew up knowing technically how a baby was made. Sperm and egg combine and make baby. But, I also remember seeing my parents kiss goodbye when I was in the sixth grade and thinking, "Wow. They must have kissed a lot to get that sperm and egg to combine."


So, when I heard about the book What's the Big Secret?: Talking about Sex with Girls and Boys which touted itself as a sex education book appropriate for ages 4 to 8*, I had to see it.

I probably could have found a better description when I asked the salesperson at Barnes and Noble if he could help me find it, though. Actually, anything would have probably sounded better than, "It's a sex book for kids."

And, my heart pounded as I read it the moment I got to my car. I don't know why. At worst, I could have walked right back in and returned it. But, you know what? It's surprisingly good. And honest. But, in a kid-friendly way.

It talks a lot about the differences between boys and girls; about talking, looking, touching and being touched (as it would pertain to children); and respecting everybody's privacy and wishes. And, it discusses starting, growing and awaiting a baby; and what happens on your "birth" day.

When I read it to the kids, Spencer acted like we had entrusted him with the keys to the kingdom. Like he couldn't believe we would actually tell him read to him, bluntly, about, what I can only assume, is already being alluded to among his seven-year-old peers.

So, tell me. Is it wrong? Should all of this be a big secret? Should I let my kids find out about sex from their peers on the playground (as is the age old tradition), or what they can sneak a look at on HBO?

I don't want that to be how it is in my house. I want my kids to know we can talk about anything; Shawn and I will answer any question - and they'll get an honest, forthright answer (even if it makes me want to squirm).

You're welcome to think I'm insane. I have a sister and brother-in-law who thought we had lost our minds when we told them about it. (But, to be fair, there may have been alcohol involved. And, my description may have been more along the lines of the aforementioned "Sex book for kids.")

But, for us, it works.

*To be exact, it is described as, "Honest, factual language and simple illustrations [that] explain male and female body parts, growing up, sexual intercourse, pregnancy, sexual feelings, and privacy in a way that makes this subject no more of a giggler than a trip to the grocery store."


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