Oh, the moment every parent dreads….the BIG talk.
S and I have discussed this event on numerous occasions, and the importance of explaining it in such a way that the children would understand that Biblically-founded marital intimacy is a wonderful, God-designed, and God-intended thing. Like most parents, though, it was a very mature topic we weren’t exactly looking forward to discussing with the children. Because of the many pregnancies of animals and friends the children have been exposed to, we have described pregnancy in detail. We just kinda left out the actual conception part of things. They understood the basics–girls have eggs all the time (that’s why hens lay them for us to eat). It takes a boy to make the eggs fertile, which is why there are no chicks without a rooster, and no baby bunnies or goats without a buck. In the beginning, it was easier to allow the children to make up their own ideas as to how conception occurred. For the most part, early on, they believed a girl just didn’t get pregnant until God blessed her with a man, and they got married. For some reason, they didn’t link humans and animals at first. However, I suppose it was inevitable seeing as how JR has been heading up our rabbit program for about a year now. I still handled the actual breedings of the rabbits, since JR was clueless as to the details of how to know when the breeding was successful, but I have been ready to hand that over to him for some time no. Miraculously, despite all the children being witness to rabbit and goat breedings, certain, um, details, remained (thankfully) hidden from view. As time went by, though, questions began arising….
“Why does he have to mount the back end? Why can’t she get pregnant if he mounts the front end?” (“umm, That’s just the rule. Hey, did you finish your schoolwork?”)
“Why do we have to actually wait until the rabbit squeaks and falls over?” (“umm, That’s his way of telling us he’s finished. Hey, did you finish cleaning your room?”)
We quickly learned short answers to specific questions were key, and then distraction worked wonders. Then, of course, we experienced our first open adoption, where the kids have gotten to know a single birth mom. JR caught on really quick. The other evening, as we sat down dinner, he asked, “I don’t understand…animals don’t get married, and since a girl doesn’t really have to be married, and she just has to be close to a boy, then how does she know she won’t get pregnant while sitting in church and boy sits next to her?” OH BOY! He HAD to ask at the dinner table, in front of all the other siblings, and he HAD to select church of all places as his example!!
I looked at Daddy, who agreed, nonchalantly, to chat with him about it later, and we changed the subject. We quietly told JR to stay up when the other kids went to bed. After tucking the other kids into bed, Daddy took JR downstairs to have THE talk. I made myself very busy, of course ensuring I could eavesdrop on the conversation. I had no clue what to expect from such a conversation. Shoot, my folks managed to hide the facts from me until I was well into my teens, and then gave me a book to read that contained the details.
I won’t offer details, but Daddy explained the principles behind it, how God intended things to be, how sometimes people mess up that intention, and then related it to JR’s rabbits. Finally, he emphasized that discreetness was needed out of respect for other parents and children who didn’t know. This was a very special adult subject, and children should only know about it when their parents thought they were ready. JR was surprisingly mature about the conversation. He asked a few questions, and we could tell the little wheels in his head were spinning as he absorbed the information. Behind his eyes, we could tell he was fitting all the pieces of the puzzle together, and things were finally making sense to him. About 10 minutes later, the discussion was over, we all exchanged hugs and kisses and sent him off to bed.
Surprisingly, though, JR hasn’t brought up the subject since. It’s as though all his questions were finally answered, he feels all the pieces of the puzzle have fitted together, and he is totally content with that. Out of respect to his siblings and our wishes, he has never even eluded to the topic with them. Now that we have crossed this major milestone, we have one down, four to go. I have a feeling it won’t get any easier. Our plan has long been that I will talk to the girls, and S will talk to the boys. I guess it’s my turn next, but I confess, I’m sure glad we have only 2 girls and 3 boys!!