As I've mentioned, my oldest daughter recently turned 8 and after overhearing a couple of her comments about procreation that were inaccurate I figured it was time to set the record straight. Her comments were totally innocent and actually pretty sweet - like when she told her sister that lions have to get married to have cubs. Now I know Simba and Nala fell in love, but I don't think Rafiki ever actually conducted a wedding :)
Then today in the car her sister was reading one of the Puppy Place books and asked what a dog breeder is. Anyway so after dinner tonight, while her younger brother and sister were cleaning up I asked her what if anything she knew about how babies were made. She looked at me all confused, because up until now we used the "when two people love each other very much their love makes a baby", and focused on how the baby grows once in Mom's belly and how it comes out.
Having a little brother in the house, she knows about the basic difference of boys and girls. Rather than going into all the details of intercourse, I decided to make this a big picture of how mammals reproduce. At bit wimpy I know, but not inaccurate. She already knew about women having eggs inside them as we've talked a little bit about menstruation, but knew nothing about sperm.
After explaining that the males put their penises into the female's vagina, and the sperm meets the egg, she had the expected response
- Eewww, I don't want anyone doing that to me.
- You'll change your mind about that when you get older.
A couple of minutes later she asked if her Dad had done that to me?
- About 9 months before each of you were born.
We'll deal with the discussion of sex for fun later, but at this age while she's still grossed out, it's fine for her to assume it's an occasional thing. I also used this as a chance to try to explain the word "sexy" and why I think it is inappropriate for kids to sing songs like, "I'm sexy and I know it". I realize it's a catchy tune, but not something a grade schooler should be singing.
Overall it was pretty painless, but I'm sure the follow-up questions will be coming, which is part of the reason I timed this talk for this week (while she's on spring break). Hopefully we'll have everything covered before she goes back to school. I also told her that some parents may not have had this talk with their kids (especially younger ones), so no need to talk about it too much at school either.