Tuesday, September 9, 2008

of birds and bees and books

I had two dreams Saturday night that stuck with me. One, that I needed to pick out a Christmas gift at Home Depot for a church friend, seems to not be very significant. The second, that I'd never filled in the key paragraphs of the Birds and Bees story for Pook, seemed important. Right then. Pook gave me the opportunity in the morning when he asked to go to the church library. He'd checked books out from it maybe once before. But I knew they had some great books because he'd had a class at church a year ago -- Our Whole Lives-- reproduction, families, personal safety and more. Unfortunately for us, the year he took it there was a clause that if any one family requested it, the key paragraph would be deleted from the final story. And someone requested. Why they'd sign their kindergartener up and then request that the most vital information be deleted, I don't know. But Pook never got the whole story. Got eggs? Check. Got sperm? Check. The rest? Uh, not really.

I'd secretly hoped he'd ask some day while I was driving 70 miles and hour and he was in the back seat, me in the front. Easy that way. But he never had. We've covered all sorts of great topics in the car. Both kids are familiar with adoption issues- many many friends are adopted, most from other countries, some domestically, but most in families with multiple races represented. Both kids are familiar with a variety of family structures- they know kids with two moms, one parent, divorced parents, and kids living with grandparents. I've covered this flawlessly. I even think I answered the question about how babies get OUT of the Mama, but neither kid had ever asked me how the baby got IN.

So, I checked out "It's Not the Stork" and started to read it that afternoon. Both kids were interested. I got through the first eight topics (about 22 "chapters") and Bug was restless. I changed to another book and waited till he was away to finish reading to Pook. And what did he say when I read the key page? "Oh. I didn't know that part." And we continued with the next page. No particular questions, no need for clarification. I read another third of the book to Bug today. He ignored the vital information completely. Both will need to hear it all again and again. But the most difficult part is over. For now.

My mom's theory on sex ed. is that you need to teach children everything before they're ten. After ten they stop asking questions and get embarrassed. If they know the facts, then the other children on the playground have a fighting chance of learning it right. I don't see Pook correcting someone's story about the stork, but I can see Bug doing it. And I could be wrong about Pook; especially if it was a friend in a quiet situation. So, whether it educates anyone else or not, my kids will be prepared.


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