The facts of life can wait a little longer

“What’s the big deal about being celibate?” That’s what my 8-year-old asked me the other day when we were driving in the car.

“What?” I said, with no idea how I would answer.

Luckily, my son elaborated.

“Just because somebody’s on TV or in the movies, everyone thinks they’re soooo great.”

Oh! “Celebrities? You mean, what’s the big deal about celebrities?”

That question was a lot easier to answer, especially since my 4-year-old was also in the car.

In case you were wondering, no, I did not use Tim Gunn as an example, even though he would have been the perfect choice for either topic. Instead, I delved into an elaborate discussion about celebrities that featured the cast from “Star Wars.”

A few years ago my son did ask the big question, “Where do babies come from?” Once again, we were in the car and I was caught off-guard. But I was committed to being as truthful as appropriate with my 5-year-old.

“When a woman really wants to have a baby,” I explained, “she starts taking prenatal vitamins. They really help healthy babies grow.”

My son has been satisfied with this answer ever since. (He’s also really careful around vitamins.)

I realize that the time for total clarity is coming. The birds and the bees are hovering, waiting to be sighted. That’s why we have a vintage copy of “Where did I come from?” by Peter Mayle waiting in the garage on standby. I’m prepared to be specific and honest.

But gosh darn it! It’s a lot easier to talk about DNA, chromosomes, Labradoodles, bicolor corn and proper prenatal care than it is to discuss the deed itself.

I’ve heard that for a while, you can explain things away by saying that there is a “special hug” involved in making babies. But that sounds pretty problematic. I don’t want my kids to be freaked out by hugging. “It’s good to see you, too.” (Hug) “Ack! I’m a father!”

(The “Hug, handshake or high-five” line at school would never be the same again.)

I’m a proponent of letting innocence linger. Sometimes protecting childhood means abstaining from enlightenment a little while longer.

If other parents want to share scientific information earlier than I do, fine. Everyone has different opinions on how best to parent. I just hope their kids stay mum about it at school.

Third grade should be a safe space. The girls chase the boys. The boys chase the girls. Somebody picks dandelions to make a “love potion.” Somebody else becomes famous for burping. Let’s let 8-year-olds concentrate on their math facts, not the facts of life.

And please, Lord, with the real conversation finally happens, don’t let it be in the car.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at teachingmybabytoread.com.

More in Life

Beer and cupcakes: Snohomish brewer, baker form unlikely duo

Pacific Northwest Cupcakes uses SnoTown’s brews to make beer-infused sweet treats.

The art and science of weathervanes

They told the direction of the wind and aided in forecasting the, well, weather.

Hundreds of ways to pamper your home and yourself

Find fancy fridges to sparkling jewelry under one roof at home and gift shows in Everett.

This is exactly how a cleaning expert organizes her space in 20 minutes

Try these realistic and attainable tricks to land yourself a cleaner home.

Snohomish brewer flavors beer with chilies from mom’s back yard

Beer of the Week: Smoked rye forms sturdy foundation for SnoTown’s well-balanced Loose Rooster.

Fall is just another blooming season

October can be a time of spectacular colors in your garden.

Woodward Canyon Winery continues to weave masterpieces

Owner Rick Small uses grapes from vines he used when he made wine in his back yard in the 1970s.

Great Plant Pick: Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo,’ purple-leaf ninebark

Grow it with shrub roses and perennials, and it combines with with ornamental grasses.

Beer, wine, spirits: Snohomish County booze calendar

Dash to Diamond Knot: Flying Unicorn Racing is teaming up with Mukilteo’s… Continue reading

Most Read