anything you want to know?

Author: angiem, 03 02nd, 2010

“Mom, is there anything you want to ask me?”  My son asked on our after dinner walk, a few days ago.  Now, whenever he says this I know that he’s the one with the questions.  ”You know, like anything?”

“Why don’t you ask me first while I think about it.”

“Well… when you and dad make out what exactly happens?  Are you trying to make babies, because there’s something I don’t get.”

“What sweetie?” I was trying so hard to play it cool and not panic at the thought that he is at that age where he needs to have the facts of life explained.  By his parents.  And we weren’t ready.  Or in any case, I wasn’t.  And I’m still not.  Growing up, I learned about it from my friends and from books.  When I first started menstruating, my Tanti Marie baked a pretty cake.  She giggled and winked.  My mom called me into the bedroom and told me that from that day forward I needed to be careful and not get pregnant.  She said nothing about how that might happen.  I was curious, but didn’t ask.  We were going to the crazy church at the time.  She was under its influence, and most likely under the influence of that age old propriety between parents and children as well.

“You said that no more babies, but you keep making out.  Why?  And I think I’m old enough to know how babies are really made.  I know all about the birds and the bees, but I know nothing about the humans.”

And I want my kids to know.  I don’t want sexual intercourse to have that mystery and allure for them that could get their lives off track because they develop an obsession with the taboo.  I want them to know that teenagers experimenting with sex, will still remain teenagers, and won’t be turned into adults no matter how much they might wish.  I want them to know about love, about responsibility, about consequence, and about how beautiful it is that we are given choices, yet how important it is that we make the right ones.

At the same time, I don’t want to overwhelm them.  So I told my son that his daddy and I will sit down with him after his 10th birthday, and we’ll have a conversation about the things that we feel he’s ready to know.

To which he replied, “But I want to know it all.”

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51 Responses to “anything you want to know?”

  1. Susan Says:

    Oh! Howmuch ever we talk that children need to know things, as parents one is placed in a very delicate stance when confronted by these queries. I am not yet a mother but can still try to decipher the situation.

    Candid reflection.

    Joy always,
    Susan

  2. julie Says:

    Hi Angie
    It funny to think that kids know some of what goes on at the age of 10 [or less] .. it was so different when we were kids… I had to laugh that your tanti baked you a cake and your mum told you not to get pregnant .. but not how.. haha I love your stories . it is like watching a favourite old movie … but the plot changes to keep it interesting.

    Have a great week.. and get prepared for that chat!! xx Julie

  3. Make Do Style Says:

    Gosh yes a difficult one- because it is a mix of hormones, instinct and emotions - such a lot to explain. In the UK there is a really good book by Miriam Stoppard written for kids - books these days are very good!

  4. French Fancy Says:

    Oh Angie - how far off is his tenth birthday?

    As for me and my knowledge - I can’t honestly remember not knowing. My parents sat me down when I was very young and told me clearly and simply the facts of life. They were like that - to the point (and wonderful with it)

  5. Jessica Says:

    LOL He wants to know it all! Heehee. I’m still learning stuff. ha!
    I’m NOT looking forward to this convo with my kids. But it’s necessary and my mom was really honest with us about sex stuff and I appreciated that.
    Hope you all have a fruitful conversation.

  6. Diane Says:

    My daughter is almost 10 and I am thinking the same thing. My mom gave me a book and asked me if I had any questions. I was too embarrassed to ask, so I was clueless for a long time. I definitely don’t want my daughter to hear it from school or friends that don’t have a clue either.

  7. Mary Moon Says:

    Oh, this one is precious. Having had to tell “it all” to four kids, I know how hard it can be, even if you want more than anything to be open and truthful with your child. I recommend books to supplement what you say. There are some excellent ones out there. Some funny, some serious and so you can find the ones that will suit your son best.
    I love that he is comfortable enough to ask you and that he wants to know it all. And I love that you are wise enough to be thoughtful and truthful and want to do the best job you can in teaching him.

  8. Evangeline Says:

    It’s funny, I thought I would be all “cool” and mature when it came time to have The Talk, but I blushed and fumbled my way through it all the same. We used two great books as teaching tools; What’s the Big Secret?: Talking about Sex with Girls and Boys
    by Laurie Krasny Brown & Marc Brown (from the Arthur books) at around the age of six, and then It’s So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families
    by Robie H. Harris which we just finished a few weeks ago (just before 10th b-day). We read the books together as a family, stopping for questions and discussion frequently along the way.
    If your son is full of curiosity now, you may want to find an age appropriate way to teach him a bit more right away instead of making him wait. That wait may actually heighten his curiosity and give him too many opportunities to get info from the wrong sources (on the playground). But either way, good luck! Teaching about sex is a surprisingly tricky part of parenting, even for the “cool customers”. ;)

  9. christina Says:

    i know. yes, i know. i have a 13 year old and a 15 year old. we are doing our best on this subject. keeping the lines of communication, open at all times.
    xo

  10. Susu Paris Chic Says:

    Wow, one of the great challenges of parenting. To tell but not too much either. Just the good doze. Doing “the telling” together with your husband seems the greatest of ideas. And remember, you are a wonderful mom Angie!

  11. Jeanne Says:

    I do NOT envy you Angie! My son is 10 and I am stunned at some of the things he is mentioning. It is time..but the boys are always the hardest. So sweet. Always hard to see the last one grow up!
    Jeanne :)

  12. Kary Gonyer Says:

    oh boy…i don’t know what to say….

    must be hard to see them grow up so fast….

    loved what you said about my blog being like your mom’s kitchen table…. now that made me HAPPY !

    kary
    xxx

  13. angiem Says:

    Susan - Thank you. It is indeed a delicate subject.

    Julie - Oh, I am. I’m going to arm myself with a bunch of knowledge first.

    Make Do Style - You said it best: it is a mix of hormones, instinct and emotions. Thank you for the Miriam recommendation. I’m going to check Amazon out.

    Julie (FF) - He will be ten in 12 days. Lucky you. I know my Tanti was dying to tell me, yet it wasn’t her place.

    Jessica - Thank you. Yes, he does. And lucky you!

    Diane - I feel exactly the same way.

  14. Jena Says:

    That time already? You have a wonderful way about using words you’ll do fine.

  15. angiem Says:

    Ms. Moon - I love the relationship you have with your children, and I want mine to be as open and honest as yours. Yes, those lines of communication must be open at all times.

    Evangeline - Thank you for those recommendations. I will check Amazon out to see if I can find the one by Robie H. Harris.

    Christina - That’s what I’m striving for. No matter what, I want my children to be comfortable with coming to me and taking with me.

    Susa - Thanks, girl. I think it’s important that the initial talk is done by both of us. That way if he has questions he can come to either of us.

    Jeanne - Yes, it is hard seeing them grow up, yet it also is thrilling to see the process of them becoming future adults.

    Kary - It is so. Comforting and nurturing.

    Jena - Thank you for your vote of confidence.

  16. Emma A Says:

    Angie, i am not looking forward to “the talk” the way I look at it is, kids will learn about it either from you or another source. Not talking about it will not make it go away, but you don’t want to give them too much information! Good luck Angie, keep me posted on tips:-)
    Emma

  17. Kristin Says:

    Noooooooo. The dude is only 20 mos. and I’m already freaked out about the talk!

  18. Sabine Says:

    I was read that one should only tell them as much as they really ask about. Every age will come with different questions, I guess.

  19. laura Says:

    grin.

    how fabulous that you and your boy have this kind of relationship–where he feels safe asking anything. that is pretty special. i’ll never forget when i had “the talk” with my oldest son. we went on a school field trip to an imax theater. unbeknownst to me, the subject of the movie was the human body. i was horrified to realize that many of my boy’s classmates had already been informed about the facts of life. on the bus trip home, i got an education from some of the other parents, and teddy had his talk soon after.

    now it’s his brother’s turn.

  20. Ava Says:

    Angie, I have been so busy with a school project that I’ve missed the last two posts. I can’t wait to catch up! I found out about sex in a not so pleasant way. In fact it was ugly and forced. I wish I had someone to confide in. My cousin threatened to really hurt me if I told. So I didn’t until years later. Also I didn’t enjoy it until years later. I agree that lines of communication should be kept open between parents and children. Childhoods should be filled with joy and not fear.

  21. Jill Kemerer Says:

    I’m smiling at this one! The age old question, right? You handled it nicely!

  22. Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita Says:

    Oh, geez, I am SO not ready for those conversations!

  23. Karen Says:

    I’m so glad that he came to you with his honest questions; that’s a great compliment. Perhaps you can ask him exactly what he is most curious about, and give him some answers to those questions, for now?
    This subject makes a lot of people uncomfortable, yet it’s so very natural. It isn’t easy, since it’s so personal, but I would rather my kids heard about it from me first, than from anyone else. Good luck with your talk!

  24. Ange Says:

    Bother - went down too far and left my comment for this post on the previous post. Oops!

  25. angiem Says:

    Ange, here it is: :)

    Ange
    http://wordsonwood.blogspot.com/

    I have 1 going on 11 and she hasn’t asked me too many questions yet… I’ve just let her know she can ask me what ever and when ever she wants. Have to find some help though - she doesn’t like reading !!! (One of MINE doesn’t like reading!!!)
    Libellule is one of my favourite words and was chosen because Dragonfly is definitely her

  26. cate Says:

    my friend logan wrote a great book called THIRD BASE JUST AIN’T WHAT IT USED TO BE
    and, she also writes a blog and blogs for the Huffington Post. Check this out:

    http://www.loganlevkoff.com/

    my daughter, who was just 4 at the time, has already been asking, and we just give her the facts, spoken in a way that we hope she can understand at age 4. she nodded, went on to ask how roads were made after hearing how humans are.

    it’s great that he is coming to you instead of his friends and their (probably) misinformation.

    good luck. and a big hug.

  27. angiem Says:

    Emma - I would rather be the source. I will let you know how it turns out.

    Kristin - I hear you, girl!

    Sabine - I believe you are right. That way they aren’t overwhelmed with too much info.

    Ah, Laura. Then you are a pro at this! Not a good way to find out, is it? I would have been uncomfortable too.

    Oh Ava. I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing this painful part of your life. I am glad you are over it, even if the memory lingers.

    Jill - Why, thank you!

    Stephanie - I am not either.

    Karen - That is a very good point. Thank you! :)

    Ange - I cannot believe that about her not liking reading! But you are doing it correctly. If she knows you are available, she will come to you.

  28. angiem Says:

    Cate - Thank you. I will check it out. That’s funny about your daughter. :) Amazing how kids can go from one thing to another so easily.

  29. Corinne Says:

    Oh my…
    I remember being so caught up in it all at that age, well.. maybe a little older… my mother bought a book for me, I can’t remember the name, and I sat for hours thumbing through it all. And my mother wanted to talk, at length, about everything. Finding that happy medium is important, I say that coming from the opposite extreme ;)

  30. deb @ talk at the table Says:

    Giving you a little mom hug on this.
    It is a balance between straightforward and discreet.
    Our school system here also does a great job of covering it in an age appropriate manner.
    You will do fine. My oldest is 21 , so I hope he knows :)

  31. Bunny Says:

    Angie, I am so happy just knowing there are wonderful moms in the world like you working hard to do the right thing and raise good kids. Parenting is so wonderfully exhausting!
    xoxo

  32. Bridgette Says:

    You were Grace…under fire.
    Good job Mom.

  33. rick Says:

    Angie-when my son was about 15 (we homeschooled him) I told him about periods, eggs, blood and moods before anything else.
    I still see that look on his face. He’s 18 and in college and I still don’t think he’s kissed a girl. In gears of War, the blood is all fake! ~rick

  34. Ruth Says:

    Yikes! I was expected to do that for some of my sisters.

  35. Francesca Says:

    I always left explicit age-appropriate children books on the subject around the house. No interest. I explained how it happened several times, each time I was pregnant, because they’d totally forgotten in the meanwhile. In 5th grade kids in this country study the human body, but the lesson about the reproductive system was soo boring, they told me, while the lesson on the gastrointestinal tract was hilarious, the roaring laughters it caused! Good luck with your talk, I think it’s probably one of those subjects that’s like a door left ajar, for our kids to open when they’re ready.

  36. La Belette Rouge Says:

    My favorite line of this post: “but I want to know it all now!”

  37. shadow Says:

    is there a parent out there who doesn’t shudder when these questions start coming…. yet, we all have to answer them sooner or later. good luck! and thank you for visiting.

  38. Mwa Says:

    After his 10th birthday? That seems so late to me. (Obviously, your decision etc etc - don’t take this as criticism.) My son was three when he got told the part about the mechanics of it. Well, not the whole mechanics obviously. But what goes where and why. It seemed perfectly natural as I was pregnant at the time. We have a toddler’s book and I’ve read it to him with the 2yr old (then 1yr old) with us. She didn’t get any of it, of course. I feel it’s easier to deal with all that if it’s a bit of a non-issue.

  39. Karen@SurvivingMotherhood Says:

    Angie, I think this is awesome! That your son feels comfortable asking and talking about it is such a good thing. Capitalize in it!
    The ONLY thing my mom ever told me about sex was, “Nice girls don’t do it.” Period.
    I think that’s partly where I got this skewed idea that sex is somehow ‘bad.’
    Though the conversations aren’t entirely ‘comfortable’ yet, I talk pretty openly with my daughter about sex issues. I want her to understand its value, and respect it as a wonderful thing God has created for marriage. Yet another way I am desperate for His grace!

  40. angiem Says:

    Corinne - Yes, it is important. Hopefully it won’t be too overwhelming.

    Deb - I do remember when I was in 5th grade and we talked about it. They did present the mechanics of it to be sure, but left so much out.

    Bunny - Thank you. It is a lot of work, isn’t it?

    Bridgette - Thank you. :)

    Rick - I hope you didn’t scare him off.

    Ruth - I admire you. But you know that already.

    Francesca - That is true. We have a human body book that we got for him the first time I was pregnant. He was three at the time. He didn’t express any interest in the reproductive cycle. He was fascinated with the eye and how vision works. But I can see how the gastrointestinal tract could produce guffaws in 5th graders.

    LBR - I know!!! :D

    Shadow - It is a delicate subject.

    Mwa - Which is why I’m glad that he wants to know now before he goes into 5th grade and the school system does it. But because of my upbringing, I admit I find it a bit difficult to starting such a conversation.

    Karen - You are doing a wonderful job parenting. I was sitting here thinking that your mom at least mentioned the word. Mine merely referred to the act. :)

  41. She Writes Says:

    I am glad you will answer. He is hearing things-bet on it! You may as well give him as much information that is accurate as possible.

  42. Lena M. Says:

    Oh, my… Having kids must be so complicated!! And having to explain??? *shivers*

    Still, getting lines like : ” But I want to know it all”… Must be amazing… :)

  43. Cindy L. Says:

    I agree that you have a wonderful relationship with your son, being able to have that sort of conversation to begin with! I think my son was around 10 when we introduced “the talk” about sex to him. It was not easy, but he’s 24 now and seems to have a healthy relationship with a longtime girlfriend — a wonderful young woman. Our poor kids today are bombarded with more info than they can handle (on sex) in movies and TV — everywhere. It is a challenge for all parents. Good luck to you, Angie. I think you’re on the right track.

  44. mrsbear Says:

    I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready for that conversation. Strangely enough, my teen has never been too inquisitive despite my attempts to bring it up, she is much more the I-get-it-please-don’t-bring-it-up-it-makes-me-uncomfortable kind of girl. For my tween I bought a book, when I was pregnant with my youngest and she was eight. It was a little too explicit for my expectations, but we flipped around and she got the gist of it. The boys? That’s on Dad. ;)

    Sounds like you did a good job thoughtfully deflecting the matter. ;) I love that he asked so openly and trustingly.

  45. bethany Says:

    aw! He sounds so sweet and smart and curious. What a conversation!

  46. pamela Says:

    Yipes.
    I am sooo glad Edward will never ask me this!!

  47. Maia Says:

    I’m so glad to have found your blog. You speak so openly and so clearly about things that need to be spoken. I think it’s so important that these things be clear and open, so as not to create an unrealistic “mystique” around them (as is true of so many things in life). But you are right…it’s a delicate balancing act, knowing when to reveal the length and breadth of the details, so as not to confuse or overwhelm.

  48. Dawn Says:

    My mom was always really open about sex, to the point where I was embarrassed every time she’d try and talk about it to me. But looking back, as embarrassing as it was for me, it was probably one of the best things she could have done. I hope I can be that open with my children.

  49. audrey Says:

    what a beautiful moment. it’s incredibly wonderful that your son feels so free to say what’s on his mind and talk with you about it.

    i really enjoyed your description of your conversation. somehow it touched something inside me. that was such a lovely exchange between you and him.

    i feel we are all blessed somehow when we come in contact with beauty. thanks for sharing that story with us. …ahhh, life, youth, wonders, beauty and questions. incredibly inspiring!

  50. Jennifer Says:

    Ah, a delicate subject. And how much detail does one provide?

    I think I found out from reading a lot of Judy Blume. At the very least, I remember an awkward talk with my mother, but at that point I knew a lot already.

    I know it will go well when it happens. Perhaps I will be asking you for advice in five years.

  51. Autumn Says:

    Even though I do not have a daughter yet, I hope to have one someday and I cringe at the thought of her getting old enough to have to start dealing with these sorts of matters. I know the choices that I have made for my life concerning these things and I can only pray that my children will make most of the same ones. Just pray and let God lead you in how to talk to your son about these matters and I will be praying for you and your family as well - that he keeps you, your husband, and your two children in the palm of his hands always. He already does - s0 no need to worry. xoxo.

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