Lyd is a very knowledgeable girl about the basics of reproduction. With my love of all things related to natural childbirth, she has picked up on my interest. She has known from age 3.5 about how babies grow in a momma’s belly, how babies start growing in the first place, how babies get out of a momma’s belly (both regular and C-section methods), and she knows the official names for most of those things, too. When she rests with me on my bed once in a while in the afternoons, she inevitably pulls my copy of Sheila Kitzinger’s The Complete Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth off my shelf and asks me to tell her again how babies grow in a momma’s body. The book is full of pictures, including pictures of 3 actual births, and for over two years now, she has been fascinated by that book (along with a few others on my shelf. But this one is her favorite, because by virture of being chock-full of pictures and diagrams.)
She knows that every girl has a pee-hole, a baby-hole, and a poop-hole. Real scientific names, aren’t they? 😉 But, they work. She knows the parts of her body, but also knows that she doesn’t talk about certain parts of her body except with me, her father, or a doctor. She’s been very good about remembering that, too. She knows how her body will change in puberty; I told her what to expect. Recently she was wondering to me what her grown-up body will look like.
Some time during the past few months, I even explained to her what a menstrual period was. She didn’t seem impressed or bothered by it. It was just an interesting fact, another aspect of a woman’s body that has to do with having babies. She’s looking forward to the day she can be a momma and have babies, but I told her she’s got a lot of time yet before that happens. I also told her that she needs to be married first. 😉 (Which makes her wonder which of the handful of boys she knows will be the one she marries. I told her that I didn’t meet the man I married until I was 16, and the boy I thought I would marry at age 5 – I didn’t! But still, like any girl, she wonders.)
I’m more than happy to share all this information with her, and I’ve done it in a relaxed fashion. I haven’t declined to answer any question, and I’ve even managed to use correct terminology — except for one thing:
I haven’t been able to work up the courage to explain the actual act of sex to her.
She knows that sperm from the daddy meets up with an egg from the mommy inside the fallopian tubes and the egg is fertilized and makes a baby and the fertilized egg travels down to the uterus where the baby starts to grow — she knows all of that stuff, but I haven’t been able to work up the courage to tell her how the sperm got inside the mommy in the first place.
She’s asked, but the best I’ve been able to manage (while maintaining my calm, detached, cool, science-teacher demeanor) is to say that there’s a special action that mommies and daddies do together that makes a baby.
Today, Lyd came home from a playdate at a friend’s house. This friend’s parents are not married and have been living together for a number of years. Apparently, some topics were brought up in conversation between the girls, because when she was back at home Lyd asked me, “How do two people who are not married make a baby?”
“Well,” I cautiously responded. “The special action that a man and a woman do can also be done by people who are not married.”
“Yes, but what IS that special action?” she asked directly.
I didn’t say anything for a few moments. I realized, This Was It. It was the most direct question I had had from her, and I had to answer it. So, I committed myself to going forward with this, mentally put on my science-teacher hat, and answered her question as simply and dis-passionately as I could. I answered her question, but didn’t give her more than what she was looking for. After explaining how the act was done, she asked again, “But how does it work?” I then explained it again, with a few more clarifying details, and added the fact that this is something done because two people love each other because it feels good and is a way for the people to show that they love each other. The “why” of it all seemed to be what she was looking for, even though she didn’t know to specifically ask for that.
Afterwards. I added that God designed sex to happen only between two people who are married, but it can happen between any two people, although it shouldn’t. My analogy for her was this: You can eat a cookie before dinner, but you’re not supposed to. However, you can. But, it’s wrong. That’s the same thing with sex. People do have sex before they’re married, but they’re not supposed to. However, because it feels good, people often don’t want to wait until they’re married. But that’s not how God wants his children to live. I explained what it means to be faithful to someone in marriage, and I told her that being faithful to your husband means you’re even faithful to him even before you meet him.
I then added something like this: “Some people think that two girls should be able to have sex together. And some people think two boys should, too. But God’s plan for marriage is just one man and one woman who wait to have sex until they’re married.” She remarked that she already knew that. I think it was helpful that JJ’s sermon this morning was on marriage, but I’d talked with her before about how marriage is just one man and one woman. Sometimes I’d ask Lyd in a joking voice, “Can a boy marry a boy?” and she’d laugh and answer no. Then I’d ask, “Can a girl marry a girl?” eliciting the same answer from her. So, she definitely already knew that marriage is one man and one woman.
So, after all of this discussion, where I’m inwardly sweating but outwardly keeping my cool (and keeping it quite well, if I may boast just a bit), Lyd seemed fine with it all. She didn’t make any kind of comment about the act of sex, and showed no emotion as I told her about it, other than a curiosity to KNOW. Once she knew, she was satisfied.
But, she still had one last pressing question: “But, Momma, how can two people who aren’t married buy a house together?”
🙂 At least that one was easy to answer!