17 November 2010

A quick story - which you may have already heard bits of if you follow me on Twitter:

Oliver jumped in our bed early yesterday morning and woke me up to the question: "Mom, how did Hazel get out of your belly?"

Me, getting my bearings: "Um, I pushed her out."

Oliver, without skipping a beat: "Oh. Well, how did she get in there?"

Aaaaaand, it's morning.

Nothing like being blindsided with a pop quiz before you've even opened your eyes! My Mommy brain wasn't yet fired up and I couldn't think fast enough. Fortunately, Hazel required my immediate attention and we were able to change the subject to: "Who wants pancakes for breakfast!?"

How have y'all handled these questions? Or have you not had to field them yet? I did a little research tonight and found this site to be pretty basic and helpful - at least for the 2-5-year-old section. Then I made the mistake of reading down further about talking to your teenager about sex and starting having palpitations. Geez! I thought age four was tough, but now I'd like it if he could just stay four forever!

After that I searched Lifeway Bookstores and found a great article related to a series of "Talking to your Kids About Sex" books that seemed smart and Biblical and definitely worth reading. It turns out, by ages 4-8, they recommend being straightforward yet simple, using appropriate names for body parts and activities. They say that "children have filters and will screen out what they do not want to know or do not fully understand."


Are y'all also getting these questions? Please tell me I'm not alone!


Heidi said...

Were you looking at the "God's Design for Sex" series? If so, we really like it. I have a 5-almost-6-year-old, and we've read the first two books to him. They were very helpful. I used to be a high school health teacher so I have a lot of experience with "the talk," but I wanted something faith-based for our own family and something that starts young and builds on it. This series was really perfect, IMO. If that's the one you were looking at, I'd recommend it!

Sarah Robbins said...

I agree with what you read. My nephews asked the same questions around 4 and 5. Their parents were direct and simple. The kids got totally got it, and occasionally ask questions. They sort of let the kids guide the conversation now as they have thoughts that come up. The best was when our friends got married and the kids were giving suggestions for the card. They said "You should write- Congratulations, and Good Luck in case you make a baby!" I laughed so hard at that!

Anonymous said...

As a mom of twenty- and thirty- somethings, I can definitely say, start slow and work up. It is always nice to somehow get in the question of "why they are asking" because many times they have seen or heard something somewhere that has prompted the question. Answering that initial question and naturally building on it will put them at ease in asking future questions and gives you a direction to go in. A response like "Wow Oliver that is an interesting question so early in the morning. What have you been thinking about?" would help you understand where he was coming from and could help shape your answer.

Otherwise, for those first few questions, remember they know nothing, probably have no frame of reference for the "big picture" and are pretty interested in learning new things. Say something like "God knew along that Hazel would be part of our family and when it was the right time he saw to that she started to grow in my body. It takes a long time for a baby to grow big enough to be born. That way mommies and daddies have time to get ready for a new baby to be be a part of the family. Remember we had to.... yadda yadda yadda."

Those first questions are a great way to introduce the concept that God had us in his mind long before we were born. Jesus' conception and birth (most kids know that story pretty well already) is another great point of discussion.

After your initial talk, just remember to use every opportunity to reinforce and add to their knowledge. Be proactive. Using proper terms will familiarize your kids with the words, their meaning and will keep your kids from being embarrassed later on by either not knowing the meaning or not pronouncing words correctly.

Also, be prepared to go over things more than once. As kids get older, a talk two years ago can take on new significance, say for instance, if another child is expected. In telling him of the impending birth, you could say something like "Remember when Hazel was born and we talked about when it was the right time, God caused her to grow in a special place in my body? Well, God is adding another baby to our family and he or she is growing in my uterus right now." You have reinforced their past learning by repeating the initial conversation, added to their knowledge by using a new word and tied it to what they already know.

And lastly, use nature as a conversation starter - new calves in the field nursing can be tied to you nursing your babies to 'just like God created cow mommies, and giraffe mommies and your mommy to do." Talk about seeds, and spring and the life cycle of frogs. It all builds on one another and starts to feel very natural, just as God intended, I believe.

Books are great learning tools used proactively. If Oliver had asked the question and you had reacted by not answering him and running to get a book to read for the answer, he would realize something is uncomfortable about the question I am asking. It will make it harder to ask the next question.


Chelsa said...

totally getting these questions from my 5 year old... thanks for posting it's good to know we're not alone! so far we've been able to change the subject- yikes!

House of Collinsworth said...

Ethan (age 4) has been asking me a lot about our daughter on the way (I'm 20 weeks). He asked those same two questions...how will she get out and how did she get in there? I haven't read up on this subject or anything so I had to just do the best I could....I told him God made Ella just like God made him, so God put Ella in there. And since I will most likely have to have another c-section, I told him the doctors will have to make a small cut in mommy's tummy, take Ella out and then they will fix mommy's tummy as good as new ("just like they did when you were born"). He seemed satisfied with that. The funniest thing was when he said, "Is Ella going to bust out of your tummy when she gets too big?"

Tracy said...

We've had a lot of those conversations around here. Olivia is proud to tell you that SHE was the only one CUT out of mommy's belly and that the boys were pushed out. She asked where they were pushed out, and we talked about it. Honestly, its tough to have those conversations, but its easier at age 4 or 5 than age 12.

Julie said...

I got the book called "The Wonderful Way Babies are Made" by Larry Christenson. It's beautiful. It has easy to read simple information for younger children and more details (in smaller writing) for older ones. It's biblically based and I highly recommend it. Check it out on amazon.com

Tricia T. said...

ha ha! well, my daughter is 4 1/2 and she has had two brothers born pretty close together. her first brother was born via an emergency c-section (my first born was born naturally) so it was pretty easy to answer when she asked how the dr. got the baby out....I just told her that mommy had a boo-boo on her tummy and the dr. got him out. She was satisfied w/ that answer! THEN came brother #2. She was 1 1/2 yrs older and had a lot MORE questions. Thankfully, I had another c-section so I just continued w/ the "dr. is going to make a little boo-boo on my tummy and get the baby out" story. BUT then came, "well, how did the baby get in your tummy?"! I told her that mommy and daddy love each other very much and we prayed and asked God to give us a baby...and He did! This baby is a miracle from God. She was very satisfied w/ that as well...she now tells people that babies come from God. That is how we handled it--I am thankful that I didn't panic when she asked me and was able to give her an age appropriate answer--still full of truth but not too many details that she isn't ready for :o) I am thankful that she waited to ask me AFTER I had at least one cup of coffee, unlike your sweet Oliver!!!

Shanna said...

Our little one isn't due until May, so no fun questions from our kiddos yet. BUT, my husband is a youth pastor and we get tons of fun questions from teenagers (and their parents).

One book that we've recommended is "Preparing Your Son for Every Man's Battle" or the "daughter" version. (I felt like the daughter version wasn't as great as the son version...) Anyways - The first half of the book is for you to read. It's full of helps and advice for when your kiddos are young. Then, the second half is for you to work through with your kids when they are middle school age. (or when it seems appropriate for your child).

Anyways - yah, haven't tried it out for ourselves yet. But, seems like a good resource that our students' parents have liked.

Jennifer said...

Thankfully, I haven't had to try and figure this all out yet! My "big kids" (4yo/boy, 2yo/girl) love to play "having babies" so they take turns shoving the dolly up their shirts and playing doctor and all that. My 4yo definitely was interested and wanted to know about what was going on when our baby (almost 11 mos) was born, but still hasn't asked anything that has put me on the spot! It's super cute and I'm glad they can have fun in their innocence! :-)

Cheri said...

we homeschool our girls (ages 6 & 9) and use sonlight for much of it...i found a book series on their website that they call "God's Design for Sex". Book 1 is for 3-5 year olds and is called, "The Story of Me". Book 2 is for 5-8 year olds, "Before I was Born". Book 3 is for 8-11 year olds, "What's the Big Deal? Why God Cares About Sex".
We've only read 1 & 2. i'm not gonna lie, i read them fast and prayed they wouldn't ask questions. ;) they did have a few, but it wasn't as big of a deal as i had worked myself up for. they're very age appropriate books and yet, they don't dumb it down. proper terms are used and they really emphasize that sex is a gift from God and ONLY to be enjoyed by a husband and wife.

hope this helps. and Godspeed. ;)

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear that other parents are going through similar situations. My daughter is 32 months and I'm 30 weeks pregnant. She keeps talking about the "umbilican" cord and last night she asked if babies have vaginas! I was hoping to avoid that one by telling her that only baby girls do, but of course she asked what baby boys have. Oh, the joys! Thankfully, she only needs short simple answers at this point, but I am NOT ready for this part of parenting. Thanks to all who have shared resources!!!

Susan Graham said...

glad you found some books. We are very honest with Luke that boys have certain parts and what their names are. Haven't had as much luck with how to talk to Alice about her body. it's not quite so obvious. Thank goodness I have a few months.

Due to my parent's adoption situation, we have had to have the "stranger" talk and how our private parts are private and how strangers aren't always strangers. I'd personally rather have the simple "where do babies come from" question.

Melody said...

so glad to read all these comments, I have an almost 3 year old that is already asking questions, I did just have a little boy though, and I may just need to make a trip to my local Christian bookstore myself soon.

Jacksprat said...

when my 4 year old asked how our newborn got into my tummy, I just told him, "Daddy put her there." He said, "OK," and ran off. Yay me.

Lucy said...

My perspective on this is that I just tell my kids the truth. It's that simple. So even my 3yo knows how babies get made, and how they come out. I just think honesty and loving words are the way to go. I was lucky that my parents never made a big deal about it either, and never let me feel there was anything nerve-wracking about talking about it. It shouldn't be any harder to talk about sex and babies than it is to talk about death, and you handled that beautifully, so I am sure you would handle this beautifully too.