For the past few months, Bunny has been gently broaching questions about where babies come from and my standard response, "Families are created in lots of ways," just isn't cutting it anymore. She wants details. She knows that babies grow in a woman's uterus and are birthed through the vaginal canal (in my case) and for a while that was enough. But she's starting to put two and two together and so I know it's time to sit down and have a talk about where babies REALLY come from.
Which is why I am deeeelighted that K-1-appropriate sex education classes are starting up at hippie church next month. (Phew! Just in the nick of time!) Bunny will participate in the classes to be held over a series of Sundays and in early spring will come away with an understanding of how babies are made among other things. (The book above is the one they use in case you are interested. It's co-written by the "Arthur" guy.)
One of the things that drew me to the UUC, gosh it's been about two years ago now, was that sex ed was an integral part of the Sunday school curriculum. But deeper than that, the way it was taught meshed with our values. It teaches that there is no such thing as a "normal" family, families are different. Kids can have a mommy and daddy (married or no), or two mommies or two daddies (married or no) or just a mom or dad or just grandma and so on. It presents the subject matter in an age-appropriate, unbiased way and teaches about all forms of sexuality and sexual heath: hetero-, homo-, bi-, transgender-, a-. It focuses on health and responsibility and, of course, justice issues.
When it comes to issues of birth and death, I wish sometimes that we were Christians or Catholics (how I was raised). A dear friend of mine died recently, and when I had to explain to Bunny that her playmate's mommy was gone and we couldn't see her anymore, I so wished I could have said, "But she's up in heaven now." I remember being very comforted by the idea of heaven as a child.
Similarly, as a child, I though God planted babies in women "when the time was right." Sort of like every woman was Mary and had no choice in the matter. If God wanted you to have a baby, then POOF! you grew a baby in your tummy. It could happen at anytime.
But as it stands, our girls have parents who are Athiest-ish-but-still-on-her-spiritual-journey (me) and Buddhist-ish (J.) and so none of the God stuff fits into our explanations of birth and death. So far, as a six-year-old, Bunny isn't too disturbed with the idea of dying meaning that your body stops working, but if she, as she gets older, needs a more comforting explanation, I'm sure she will seek out her own truth. As a side note, we have a children's bible and several books about Jesus (as well as a nativity). My girls love Jesus, and really, what is not to love about a man who taught us so much about love, so who knows what spiritual path they will choose.
One of the questions we as parents were asked when filling out the consent forms for the class was, "Do you want your child to learn that babies are created by a sperm joining with an egg (full stop) or do you want your child to learn about the act of sexual intercourse?"
I have to admit that I hadn't really thought it through. I thought I would just turn her over to the class, they would teach her the whole shebang, we'd follow up with weekly talks and other support at home, and that was that. But now given the choice? (I have a choice?) I have to admit...I'm hesitant. Suddenly I'm thinking, "She's just six! Is she ready to hear how it really happens? Will she look at us differently? Our friends differently?" Once we go there, there's no going back so...
What would you do? (What did you do?)