Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Let's talk about sex. Or not.


When I was about eight years old or so, I asked my mother, "Mum, how do people make babies?"

She was looking through her wardrobe at the time, and I was lying across her bed on my stomach. I recall her suddenly looking very uncomfortable before answering, "I'll tell you when you're sixteen."

Yeah, right.

Before I'd even left primary school, I'd read Judy Blume's Forever under the desk one day when I was supposed to be at PE class. I can't remember who had brought it to school, but it was my introduction to sex. I remember feeling 'naughty' because I was reading it. It felt as though I was crossing over in to some forbidden territory.

Then there was a time that I disclosed to my niece (who is my age) on a sleepover at her place one night that when people make babies, they have to be naked. I still can't recall how I knew this vital information (possibly this happened after reading Forever). Certainly, my mother did not disclose this.

My niece replied, "What? They can't even wear their socks?" And I assured her they could not. (Of course, this is very untrue. The amount of clothing one wears depends on how much time one has, or how cold it is, right?)

The next day, my sister and brother-in-law were driving me home when my niece piped up with, "Mum, Jodie says that when people make babies they have to be NAKED." My sister was horrified and refused to make a comment other than, "I don't want to hear you talking about such things."

Anyway, eventually I found out all about 'it' on my own.

I remember vowing that things would be different with my kids. That I would most certainly have 'the talk' with them when the time was right.

In Eldest Son's Year 4 class last year, one of the Integrated Units (what the kids call 'the big question of the term') was on the Human Body. He started to ask about how women became pregnant - how did the baby actually get in there? How does the baby come out?

And you know what I did? I dodged every question. In fact, there may have even been a 'special cuddle' theory thrown about once or twice.

But here's the thing. At first, I thought this may have everything to do with the way my own parents dealt (or didn't deal) with the subject of sex with me. Although I think it is most definitely partly that, deep down I think I really do believe that when kids are nine or ten years of age, they are still so young. Perhaps too young yet to really take all this information on board?

I have a few concerns. Firstly, are my boys really old enough to treat this information with respect? Already the penis, poo and wee jokes are wearing thin. Wouldn't this information just give them more to work with? (Not to mention help them work out what the words to Flo Rida's Whistle song really means?)

Do they need to know the ins and outs (pardon the pun) of sex at such a young age? How does it benefit them to know about it at age eight, nine or even ten? For me, it just feels like this is yet another thing that parents feel they have to introduce early to their kids. Kids grow up so quickly these days, and we expect so much of their young minds. Is it possible this is just another thing we're rushing in to with them?

Lastly, will my boys look at Mr A and I differently when they find out what we've been up to? It's like ... we'll suddenly become more human to them, rather than their parents ... you know?

I think I understand the benefits of telling them sooner rather than later, and that is that they'll hear the correct information straight up. There would be no Chinese whispers between friends confusing or even scaring them. And mark my words ... I don't want to hide this information from them either. I don't want them to think that sex is dirty or wrong or embarrassing.

So, I wonder, if you're a parent, what age do you think it's appropriate to explain sex, pregnancy and birth to your kids? And how would you tackle (once again, pardon the pun) it?


Monday, July 9, 2012



Funnily enough, up until a year or so ago, I wasn't really a huge fan of school holidays. I love my children - absolutely 100% doodly do - but having them around 24/7 is sometimes ... challenging.

I have three boys. Three kids is not really the perfect number at times, it seems. One is always left out, and the one left out is usually annoying the other two, so, you know, there are squabbles and wrestling and tears and 'he won't leave us ALONE!' type situations going on ALL the time. Sometimes, that's not much fun.

Seeing I can't give one of my kids back (and most certainly do not WANT to - even though there are days I threaten one, two or all three that I'll sell them on eBay), the only other option is to have another child to even up the playing field.

Bahahahahaha...are you serious? Sorry, Mum - not gonna happen.

The obvious answer - always voiced by Mr A at the start of each school holidays when I start up my, 'The kids are driving me insane,' mantra - is to throw them in holiday camps: soccer, basketball, tennis, swimming - that sort of thing.

But I have a problem with that for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, my boys hate those camps. They just want to hang out at home, and seeing I'm here, I don't see why they shouldn't. When I was a kid, I loved just hanging around the house. Mostly, anyway. Over the summer break it got a bit boring not having a pal to hang with, but even though they fight occasionally, my boys have each other. They're buddies.

Secondly, the school holidays are a celebration of no scheduled activities. We have those in spades during the school term, not to mention having to get up by a set time each day just to get to school. The fact that, during school holidays, Eldest Son will often come in to my bedroom at 9am and say, 'Mum, you better get up. It's late," is just plain AWESOME. Getting them to a cold, wet soccer pitch by 9am from Monday through to Friday is even more work for me than when they're at school, seeing that we live about five houses from their school.

So now, school holidays are actually something I really look forward to.

I like not having to get up via my annoying alarm clock each morning.

I like that there is no sport scheduled (even if it's just one weekend - seriously, the soccer season is so damn long, do we really need to drag it out any longer by having a match the weekend after school breaks up, and the weekend before the new term starts?) OR training. I can certainly do without standing around in the cold until it starts to get dark two afternoons a week.

I like that I don't have to prepare packed lunches. I mean, yes, I usually end up making lunch for my kids anyway (they don't starve), but not having to make three lunches prior to 8am each morning is SO luxurious.

I like taking the kids to the park in the morning and not at the end of the day when it's getting cold and all I really want to do is remove my bra and get in to my comfy PJs at 4pm.

I like wearing my pyjamas ALL day some days.

I like letting my kids wear their pyjamas ALL day some days too.  

Yes - I rather like the school holidays.