My four year old son was in the tub the other night and suddenly fired up the questions. “How does the baby come out of the mommy’s tummy?”
Well, I answered while doing my best to hide my own discomfort caused by the question, “the baby comes out the mommy’s vagina, and sometimes the doctor cuts the mommy’s tummy open to get the baby out.” He has seen my own c-section scar so was unfazed by this answer. This wasn’t the first time this question has come up.
“But how does the baby get IN the mommy’s tummy?” he persisted.
Umm–this question was new.
I called to my husband in the next room. “Are you hearing this? Our son wants to know how babies get in their mommy’s tummies,” I called. “Should we just tell him the truth?”
“Sure,” was his reply.
I felt a bit like a kid, giggly and unsure talking about sex to my 4 year old! Nevertheless, I dove in. Just keep it short and factual I told myself.
“Well, when a daddy and mommy are married and love each other very much… they might decide they want a baby. The daddy puts his penis in the mommy’s vagina and that’s how the baby gets in.”
My son looked incredulous and burst out laughing (probably sensing my own giggliness). Then he wanted to hear my one sentence explanation over and over. “Say it again, Mommy!” he insisted. After saying it about three times I told him that was enough and it was time to get out of the tub and do the normal bedtime routine. We did with no further questions or discussion about the birds and the bees. He hasn’t mentioned it since that night.
It’s funny though, as soon as we experience something in life suddenly the same topic is EVERYWHERE. Shortly after having “the talk” with my son, there was a great blog entry on Huffington Post by Lea Grover titled “This is what sex-positive parenting really looks like.”
According to sex-positive parenting I think I did fairly well. My son knows what male and female genitals are called. He prefers to call his a wee wee instead of a penis, but he knows both words. I didn’t make up stories about storks or cabbage patches, or avoid the topic all together. The one area that I did separate from sex-positive parenting is by prefacing my baby making story with love and marriage. Even though I recognize that people don’t always wait for love (let alone marriage) to have sex, for his 4-year old narrative I think that it is reasonable to include it. As he grows the conversation will expand. I will always keep the topic open and honest so that my kids are well informed to make good choices once they are older.
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