Natasha's fourth topic request is 'Of Birds and Bees', and it's probably one of the most fitting topics to ask a mother to blog about. Having to explain the ins and outs of the facts of life to your kids is one of the most terrifying things a mother (or father) will ever do. The explaining of the subject itself is bad enough, because no matter how open you are, your child will always have a question or two that will make you squirm. But that's not what 's so terrifying; what's so awful about it is knowing that one of your babies is getting to the stage where they could possibly have babies of their own.
Of course, kids tend to know all about sex and stuff at an earlier age than they would have a century or so ago. With modern times came so-called modern attitudes towards sex in general. A century ago, if you weren't married and you engaged in sexual activity, you were severely frowned upon. Of course, men could do it and get away with it - it wasn't openly admitted to of course, that wasn't the done thing, but everybody knew, and they would turn a blind eye. A woman would be branded a loose woman with no morals - no turning a blind eye for them.
Anyway (digressing aside), in today's world of teenage pregnancies and relative acceptance of sexual orientation, plus the obligatory sex education at school, kids are far more knowing about the subject than they strictly should be. I'm all for having our kids being fully informed, but I really believe that in our efforts to protect them from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, we are stealing a little bit of their youthful innocence.
I was clueless about sex up until the age of about fourteen, when I ended up looking up stuff in a dictionary just to find out what my friends were talking about. My search for enlightenment was triggered by a teasing session at school, when some more savvy kids started asking me whether my mother was a virgin or not. I'd heard the word before, of course, but I didn't actually know what it meant. Imagine my embarrassment when I looked it up and realised that everyone had been taking the mick out of me. With this slightly mortifying memory still painfully embedded in my head, I can definitely see how educating our kids on the basic facts of life can not only protect them from unwanted diseases, but also save them from being teased.
My daughter was about seven when she suddenly blurted out that she knew how babies were made. I smiled indulgently and asked her what she knew, totally unprepared for what she would say. She said, and I quote; "Babies are made by a husband and a wife who love each other, and they get naked and do lots of kissing, and the man gets on top."
There isn't an acceptable age for a child to know the facts of life - all children mature at different rates, and what is right for one child is not right for another - but I firmly believe that children under the age of ten should be kept blissfully innocent of the whole shebang. Let our children be children before they find out how to have children.