Oh yes, that bomb dropped last week. I guess I had it coming now that we are pregnant, but I didn’t think at 4, she would be asking me. We were getting ready for school and she came up to me with the most curious look on her face.
“Mommy, where do babies come from?” she asked. I stood there for a good 5 minutes trying to find the most age appropriate answer.
“Umm, where do you think they come from?” I asked using the movie ‘Knocked Up’ as my saving grace.
“I think when you eat food it sits in your stomach until it grows into a baby,” she answered seriously.
“Yup.” And that was the end of the discussion. I wish I had something much better to offer at the time, but I was unprepared and needed time to figure out what, if anything I wanted to provide given her age.
I started researching how was the best way, if it was appropriate to tell them at a young age and what repercussions to expect. From what I gathered, any age is appropriate as long as the material is age appropriate and straightforward. A study showed that children who were given information from an early age and information that continued on throughout youth and puberty were less likely to have unprotected sex, teen pregnancy and STD’s. That was enough to convince me to give her the facts. And besides, I don’t want to be that mother (or grandmother) on Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant. Nooo thank you. I ran into my neighbour, who is also the blogger from Mafa’s World, she suggested ‘It’s Not The Stork’ by Robie H. Harris. So off I went to my local book store and kindly approached the sales rep.
“Um excuse me, do you have any books on sex,” I whispered, “that are appropriate for 4 year olds?”
“Yes, sure, follow me,” she replied and led me to the children’s section. She said that most parent decide what books they want and how much they edit. She handed me a book about periods.
“Um, no sorry, for 4 year olds, not 14 year olds. I need a book about where babies come from.”
She handed me ‘It’s Not The Stork’ as well as ‘A New Baby Is Coming! A Guide For A Big Brother Or Sister’ by Emily Menendez-Aponte. I paid for the books and went on my way.
I was so nervous picking her up from school that I must have dropped the bag about 6 times. Flashbacks of my ‘sex talk’ came flooding back. I was maybe 12 years old and I was in the living room watching the original version of Degrassi Junior High, the episode where Spike announces she’s pregnant. My mother whom was sitting in the kitchen saw what was on the TV.
“Do you have any questions?” she yelled.
And as quickly as she asked, I quickly replied, “Nope!”
And that was the extent of my sex talk in my preteens. She always had warned me about boys and their intentions, STD’s and pregnancy but that was definitely the moment that stuck out in my head.
So when the Princess and I got home, I read ‘A New Baby is Coming!’ I really liked this book. It didn’t give specifics but openly discussed that sometimes children have feelings of sadness, or anger and that it was alright to ask Mommy and Daddy about it. We then read ‘It’s Not The Stork’ which gives a much more detailed account and cartoon pictures of private parts and how exactly babies are made. S-E-X. When I said the three-letter word, the Princess just looked at me with this quasi confused and disgusted look on her face. I didn’t give her the how to’s, but she was pretty much content with what I told her. But when Daddy came home, she felt the need to inform him also.
After the Princess went to bed, Hubby flipped through the books and just said he was ‘not ready’ for this conversation yet. I edited some of the information as she’s still only 4, but at least we have these materials available for future questions. So far, she is content with what she knows.