Of Birds and Bees and Ryan’s New Squeeze

Megan’s the writer in our family. She started a blog which I stumbled upon, and, of course, read. How else would I know what’s going on in my preadolescent’s mind and life? And since she posted it, it wasn’t like I was picking a diary lock or something, though I probably would pick a diary lock if I thought it had any good scoop in it.

As it turns out, the blog was very helpful. It revealed that Megan has a strong vocabulary, a way with words, and a wry sense of humor. It also revealed that Ryan secretly confessed to Megan that he has a crush on Emily, a little girl in kindergarten–already starting with the younger women! Megan honored his secret by posting the news to the world-wide web.

“My 7-year-old brother has a crush on girl,” Megan wrote. “Good grief! When I was 7, I thought a crush meant that someone had stepped on your toes.”

Later that night, I was reading “The Longest Trip Home,” the memoir of John Grogan (author of “Marley and Me”). Grogan writes detailed recollections of his childhood awakenings to females starting with his request for a telescope so he could gaze at the next door neighbor sunbathing in her backyard. (His parents praised their son’s interest in astronomy… their “young Galileo.”)

Megan’s blog and Grogan’s insight into a young boy’s brain nagged at me. And I realized I hadn’t had THE TALK with Ryan or Paige. They’re young, but kids in school share things and allude to things, and I’d much rather be the one to share this with them and provide them with accurate information and at least a broad framework of what’s what. Specific details could be filled in later.

I have long thought that my kids should come upon this knowledge without coy analogies of “special hugs” “seeds” or talk about birds and bees. The conversation should be respectful. Honest. Direct. That way they wouldn’t think anything was dirty or something to be embarrassed about.

We sat down for dinner. I passed a bowl of broccoli to Paige and very casually asked the kids, “Do you guys know how babies are made?”

“Yes,” Megan said. “Can we talk about something else?”

“Well, I kinda know, like I know some things,” Ryan said.

“Mom!” Megan interrupted. “My stomach is totally nauseous. Can we NOT talk about this or I’ll be sick.”

“Yeah, Mom,” Paige said. “Like that stuff is really eewey and gross. Let’s not talk about it.”

So much for exploring the beauty of God’s plan for procreation. Eewey and gross. A vomit-inducing conversation. After the week we’ve had, I suppose I should avoid any discussions of bodily fluids and functions. So I shelved the talk and somehow we moved on to how some men (and all gentlemen) pull out a chair to seat a woman. We interrupted our meal to demonstrate this with me holding Paige’s chair out for her and instructing her to stay standing until the chair touched the back of her knees–you can’t push in a chair with a woman plopped down on it.

Ryan jumped up to demonstrate his fine manners. He marched over to Paige and barked at her, “Get out of your chair, Paige, so I can seat you.” Wow, the hearts you could win with that approach!

I give up. I think I’ll hit Amazon for a good ol’ book to educate the young the way that generations before me have handled this. And while I’m at it, maybe Emily Post will have a thing or two to share with Ryan about Emily etiquette.

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