The birds and the bees have been an ongoing conversation here since Letty was a baby. We took someone’s advice and just answered the question they asked, and didn’t provide any more information than that. I think that particular method has made for a developmentally appropriate level of knowledge while also providing hours of entertainment.
Case in point:
Jett, age 5: Mom, where do babies come from?
Me: Their mommies tummies (my apologies to those adoptive mothers out there. We were keeping it simple.)
Jett: Yes, but how do they get there?
Me: They grow when an egg and sperm meet.
Me: (again apologies to nontraditional families. I was just explaining very general, how-it-happened-in-our-family terms) Daddy put his penis in my vagina and it made a baby grow.
Jett (red faced and spluttering): Daddy put his penis in your vagina???
He then fell to the floor laughing. Carlos followed suit. Keep in mind Carlos was three at this time. The subject wasn’t brought up again until this summer.
Carlos (now 5): How do babies get born?
Me: They come out of their mommies tummies.
Carlos: Their tummies or their vaginas?
Me: Okay, their vaginas.
Jett: How do they get in the tummies?
Me: Didn’t we talk about this before?
Jett: Yes, but how do they know when to grow?
Me: Well, the mom has an egg and the dad has a sperm and when the egg and the sperm join together it makes a baby.
Jett: Oh, so THAT’S why daddy had to put his penis in your vagina.
Me: Yes, that’s exactly it.
I started to then talk about DNA and the double helix. I may have even gotten out a pencil to draw it for them and talk about half the chromosomes in each child coming from each parent, but by that point they had both wandered off. Or started picking their noses. And I didn’t really want to claim my half of their DNA anymore.
Later in the summer, at Disney, Carlos asked our friend E how dogs had babies. She deferred the question to me. I matter-of-factly answered “the same way people do”. “So dogs put their penises in the other dog’s vaginas?'” Have I mentioned Carlos has a really loud voice? And we were on a very crowded tram at the time?
Turns out Carlos also thought his “seeds” (testicles) were the sperm he was going to give away when he “made a baby”. I gotta get this boy a book.
Today, we were bouncing on the trampoline. Carlos wanted to know if it hurt when the babies came out.
“A human came out of my vagina. What do you think?”
Yes, they decided, it must have hurt. We then had a ten minute conversation about the blood and gore (a new word fascinating in it’s obliqueness) of giving birth.
Who knows how much of this Letty is absorbing. Perhaps I really will get a book and go over all the details with them. Because all I’m really sure they know at this point is babies come from penises and vaginas via the tummy. And it hurts when they are born. And it’s bloody.
Yup. That about sums it up.