Ikool’s Blogbed

The Naked Truth

Before I had children, I assumed I’d be the kind of mother who’d never be embarrassed by my child’s sexual nature. There’d be no question or behavior that would render me speechless, and I’d be just too evolved to blurt out the ridiculous warnings issued back in my grandparents’ time (“Don’t play with that thing; it’ll fall off!”).

After all, my parents were open about sex with me, so why would it be difficult to be open about sex with my own child?

I’m humbled to admit that the first time I noticed my newborn’s sexual nature, those good intentions were suddenly on a time machine heading back to the 1950s.

As I changed Oliver’s diaper one morning when he was about 6 months old, I noticed that his penis was red and swollen, up to maybe four times its normal size. It was enormous — for a baby penis, that is. My sleep-deprived brain burst into a frenzy of maternal paranoia: Could it be an infection? A blockage? I shrieked for my husband, who came in, took one look, and laughed. “He’s got an erection,” he said. As if on cue, Oliver grabbed hold of his penis and grinned at me.

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June 19, 2008 Posted by | Parenting | , | Leave a comment

Answering Sticky Kid Questions

I’m constantly flummoxed by the off-the-wall questions I get from my kids. Like the time my older daughter, then 5, asked me why her stuffed-pig lovey doesn’t have a penis. He’s a boy, isn’t he? My profound lack of adequate answers was never more clearly on display. I’m faced with stumpers like this practically every day, usually when I’m busy cooking dinner or driving down the highway. What do groundhogs eat? Why do mommies have milk in them and daddies don’t? What number comes after twenty-‘leven? Why isn’t a tooth too heavy for the tooth fairy to carry? Can she fly with it? Will her wings break? What if she crashes? ([XREF {http://theparentingpost.parenting.com/funny_qs_kids_ask/index.html} {See more funny questions kids ask}]!)

Face it, with kids, pretty much no topic goes unexplored. And while I can’t help anyone with twenty-‘leven (or, for that matter, the dining habits of groundhogs), I have found some answers to the questions you’ve probably asked.

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June 19, 2008 Posted by | Parenting | , | Leave a comment

Parenting Guides – Talking to Kids About Sex

The “birds and the bees” talk is one that parents often put off as long as possible. But learning about sexuality is a normal part of child development, and answering your child’s questions in an honest, age-appropriate way is the best strategy. Read on for tips on what to say, and when.

What kids can understand, age by age

Ages 2 to 3: The right words for private body parts, such as “penis” and “vagina”

Ages 3 to 4: Where a baby comes from. But they won’t understand all the details of reproduction — so a simple “Mom has a uterus inside her tummy, where you lived until you were big enough to be born” is fine.

Ages 4 to 5: How a baby is born. Stick with the literal response: “When you were ready to be born, the uterus pushed you out through Mommy’s vagina.”

Ages 5 to 6: A general idea of how babies are made. (“Mom and Dad made you.”) Or if your child demands more details: “A tiny cell inside Dad called a sperm joined together with a tiny cell inside Mom called an egg.”

Ages 6 to 7: A basic understanding of intercourse. You can say, “Nature [or God] created male and female bodies to fit together like puzzle pieces. When the penis and the vagina fit together, sperm, like tadpoles, swim through the penis and up to the egg.” Explain what you think about sex and relationships. For instance: “Sex is one of the ways people show love for each other.”

Ages 8 to 9: That sex is important, which your child has probably picked up from the media and her peers. A child this age can handle a basic explanation on just about any topic, including rape. (“Remember when we talked about sex being part of a loving relationship? Rape is when someone forces another person to have sex, and that’s wrong.”)

Ages 9 to 11: Which changes happen during puberty. Also be ready to discuss sex-related topics your child sees in the news.

Age 12: By now, kids are formulating their own values, so check in every so often to provide a better context for the information your child’s getting. But avoid overkill or you’ll be tuned out.

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June 19, 2008 Posted by | Parenting, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment