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How do you explain the birds and the bees?

(17 Posts)
Lonelymum Sat 23-Apr-05 13:35:31

Just enjoying a one off day with only ds1 (8) and ds2 (7). No screaming toddlers or wind-up merchants such as dd. Nice, civilised lunch. Bit of food left over. Offer it to ds1 but he doesn't want it so I have it (can never see food wasted!) but made some comment about getting fat if I eat it.
Ds1: Maybe you will have a baby then.
Me: No, no, that isn't how babies are made.
Ds1 and Ds2: how are they made then?
Me: (feeling deep relief that dh isn't here to see me answer ths): Well they are made from seeds.
Ds1: No they aren't.

And so it continued. They seem to have a vague idea that a daddy is needed (though ds2 only learnt that the other day when I explained a female cat needed a male to have kittens) but otherwise they are completely innocent. I got as far as saying a mummy had an egg and a daddy had the seed, but just couldn't go on when asked how they came together (although ds1 said something about kissing so he must have some, school boy notion of what is required).

How do I proceed? As it is a rainy day here, and we have nothing else to do, I suggested we went and got a book out of the library, as I just can't bring myself to start talking about vaginas and penises etc. Has anyone else answered this question? What did you say?

Lonelymum Sat 23-Apr-05 13:50:50

Oh come on! I need help here!

Gwenick Sat 23-Apr-05 13:51:53

Pass - but I'll read with interest - DS1 will be 5 in september - so it may not be long before I start getting 'questions'!

WigWamBam Sat 23-Apr-05 14:01:32

My dd isn't 4 yet and has asked where babies come from. I've told her the truth, or at least a simplified version of it - that the man has a seed and the woman has an egg, the man puts the seed into the woman, it meets the egg and begins to grow into a baby. When she asked how the seed gets in there, I told her that too, using the words which she uses for penis and vagina.

I would have thought, though, at 7 and 8 they deserve to hear the facts from you, presented simply but honestly, and using the correct terms as well.

A book we got for my dd after we explained things to her was Babette Cole's Mummy Laid An Egg, which would be great for your 5 yo, Gwenick, but might be a bit young for LM's sons.

WideWebWitch Sat 23-Apr-05 14:13:22

I told the truth when ds asked, he was about 4 I think. He said, 'oh is it like when animals do mating?' I said 'yes but it's called sex when it's humans', at which point he fell about laughing and said 'mummy said seeex, mummy said seee ex,' no idea why! I also got a Babette Cole book called Mummmy Laid an Egg, I'd recommend it. Will see if I can find you a simple explanation, hang on

WideWebWitch Sat 23-Apr-05 14:14:00

Oh, hadn't read WWB's post, totally agree with her.

ambrosia Sat 23-Apr-05 14:19:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WideWebWitch Sat 23-Apr-05 14:22:09

science for kids site here but no idea if there's anything in it I searched a bit but haven't found any good sites yet.

Lonelymum Sat 23-Apr-05 14:23:31

I don't think my children are very mature TBH. When I started to explain, they just started being silly and I just dried up. I know for definite that none of my children, not even dd, knows of the existence of vaginas let alone have a name for them! Looks like I will have to go to the library and look for the Babette Cole book. I do remember seeing a book once whc=ich explained sex and babies to children. The people in it were like those "Love is.." characters you see on nauseating posters.

Lonelymum Sat 23-Apr-05 17:26:23

Well we went to the library. The only book I could find was a horrible science book which I gave to ds1 to read. It was more about DNA than sex, and when it got to the crucial bit, it literally said "Everyone knows about that...." !

So, not much use then.

But ds1 enjoyed the fact that 400,000,000 sperm set off to find an egg and, of those, only something like 100 get there. (Or did I read that wrong?)

WideWebWitch Sat 23-Apr-05 17:29:43

Oh no lonelymum! Try the library ordering service, I bet another library has that book. Found some stuff here which might help.

happymerryberries Sat 23-Apr-05 17:31:31

I would say that the most important thing to do is to answer the questions that they ask in as matter of fact way that you can manage (even if you do ). Once you have answered their question stop. If they want more information they will ask for it. Don't think that because they ask one question they want *all the details IYSWIM.

Keep it simple at first, they may not need the diagrams the first time round! As time passes they will ask more and then give them more detail. By the age of 10 they will have all the details in school, and they will misunderstand and forget much of this! They are no where near as streetwise as they like us to belive. I have taught lots of kids of 11 who are still quite clueless when you get down to detail!

Oh and a plea. If you use pet names for things, please also tell them the real names. It does help schools avoid misundertandings if the child is hurt in some way (zipper accidents etc!)

happymerryberries Sat 23-Apr-05 17:33:51

Oh and another factiod that you might enjoy, men and boys make 3,000,000 sperm each day! This must be the reason they can't multitask, they are too busy in the gonad department!!!

In a single ejaculation a man 'shoots' enough sperm to fetilise half of all the fertile women in Western Europe!

We all have enough DNA in us to go to the moon and back.......600 times!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lonelymum Sat 23-Apr-05 17:34:02

Some great stories at the end of that link WWW. Personally, I phoned dh, appraised him of the situation and warned him to be prepared to answer some questions when he got home!

Lonelymum Sat 23-Apr-05 17:37:03

HMB can you explain that last factoid? It goes right over my head (no pun intended!)

As I said to dh, my boys are at quite a difficult age. If they were 4 or 5, I think I could have explained things quite matter of factly, but they are 7 and 8 and, especially the 8 yo, at a rather silly stage. I just could not start on the penis up the vagina description as I know he would have fallen about laughing and made me feel stupid.

happymerryberries Sat 23-Apr-05 17:39:46

Each cell in the human body (except the red blood cells) has 2 meters of DNA in them! (to be pedantic sperm and egg cells have half the normal amount as well) Amazing and mind blowing isn't it? It is very long but it is amazingly thin. It is often super coiled into chromosomes, but each cell has around 2 meters. We are made up of billions of cells! Multiply 2M by billions, and you have a hell of a lot of DNA!

happymerryberries Sat 23-Apr-05 17:41:30

Oh and laugh with him! It does sound stupid, doesn't it?

Trust me, I do this with kids in school and honesty is the best policy and laughing is good, it helps to defuse tension. You can't learn anything if you are worried or uptight!

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