Masala Chica had this post up on answering the inevitable questions about the birds and the bees from young kids. My kids are just three and two, but once you’ve encouraged curiosity in a kids, the whys and hows can be expected to flow.
I remember reading a Facebook post by a former colleague whose four-year-old asked something related to the anatomy or gender differences and she said how complicated it was the explain. Now, I understand being caught off guard by questions, but is it really that complicated? My rule of the thumb in these matters is stick as close as possible to the truth if the whole truth is too complicated or gory.
Like I’ve already told the kids that babies started out in mommy’s tummy (because a friend’s mother was pregnant) and you can see from their faces they find it hard to wrap their heads around it and kind of doubt that you’re telling the truth, but that’s the story I’m sticking with.
And if they insist on knowing how it comes out of the tummy, I’d probably go with – you know how girls have a hole down there? Well the baby comes out from that. But sometimes, the doctors make a cut and take the baby out of mummy’s tummy. Frankly the cut explanation is easier but giving only that explanation would be like cheating.
In fact, I quite clearly remember that this is what my mom told me. I remember reacting in shock and going: “Ew, the one where pee comes out from?” And she said, “No there’s another one.” And I was like, “No there isn’t.” But she insisted there was, a small one. And I said, “But if it’s so small, how come a whole baby comes out of it?” And she said, “That’s the amazing thing, but it stretches and it does.” And I said: “Ewwww.” But I, who could not have been more than 10 at that time, grasped the concept and I think an approximation of that would serve a three-year-old well.
Recently, my niece walked into the toilet while my sister who had her period was inside and was most concerned about why she was bleeding. I remember a similar incident with my mum because our toilet door never had a proper latch and anyway, we were all very free with our bodies in our family. I can’t remember my mum’s explanation exactly, but I think it was similar to my sister’s which was on the lines of this is something that happens to girls when they get older and it’s normal. One can explain the whys and wherefores later, or if the kid insists mention that it’s related to making a baby. One could actually explain how a little nest is built every month to ready the body in case a baby happens.
As for how babies are made, for toddlers, I might go with daddy has a seed which he puts in mommy’s tummy and it grows into a baby. I need to read up on how and when to explain sex itself, but I’m sure there’s a way.