My oldest daughter has been asking some pointed questions about the nature of babies and how boys and girls are different, so my husband and I figured it wouldn't hurt for us to read up on how to teach the facts of life to her without scarring her and causing us to die from embarrassment. After asking knowledgeable friends, I checked out the book How to Talk to Your Child About Sex by Richard and Linda Eyre. We read up on what was age appropriate and discovered that she was at that perfect age to be curious about things that so far we've glibly answered without really answering. She already knows the truth about Santa and the Easter Bunny, so it's only natural that our non-distinct answers about babies and bodies would make her slanty-eyed with disbelief. Also, she's at the perfect age to get the truth because she's old enough to understand, but not so old that she would be horrified and embarrassed.
Friday was the day of truth. We got the book that the Eyres recommend you have your child read and then answered her questions and explained more. She was fine until she realized that meant her parents were participants in this business and then she was embarrassed. But she got over it and we got over being embarrassed and it all went well. She's had questions since then like, "Why do you need the man to make a baby again?" Yikes, that was kind of a crucial part, but it shows how you can't just talk about it once. One thing that the Eyres reiterate over and over again in their book is that that conversation is the first of many and if you can keep an open dialog with your child, you'll be able to help them navigate through their teenage years with good communication. I sure hope so, because it's got to get easier from here on out. Those of you readers who are years away from this conversation, enjoy the time you have left.