For all you parents (and overgrown kids) out there -- it's time to swap some parenting strategies!!!
What do you tell your kids about "the facts of life"? How much and when?
I suspect it's easier for parents on a farm to cover the subject naturally, given all of the object lessons going on around them. Fortunately we have today's modern equivalent: nature documentaries!!!
One of my kids' favorite films is a documentary following the adventures of a pregnant tiger shark, and another favorite is one about whales. The shark one has made it very clear to my 5-year-old Nicolas that babies start out in mommies' tummies. (He loves to role-play all of his films, and it's super cute when he plays that he's a pregnant shark full of babies!!!) The whale film goes into a little more detail about how the baby got there...
Their whale film is educational for adults as well as children. Without it, I never would have known what it looks like when whales, y'know, do it. My favorite part is the narrator's perfect deadpan delivery as he lists off the dimensions of the whale's naughty bits, nonchalantly explaining that it's the largest genital organ in the animal kingdom.
That part always makes me giggle. I'm not sure why -- they list off the weights of a bunch of other whale body parts and I never think anything of it. I've narrowed it down to either (a) I'm just that immature or (b) documentaries about whale genitalia really are hilarious.
While I was pondering this question, my curious little Nico of course asked me "Mommy, what's that?" (pointing at the gigantic whale schlong on the screen).
Without hesitation -- without even giggling -- I replied "That's the daddy whale's zizi." (I'm getting good at this parenting stuff!!!)
He didn't have any follow-up questions. I guess since whales have a lot of body parts in common with people (eyes, mouths), it seemed perfectly reasonable to him that the daddy whale should have a zizi. (Indeed, a whale of a big zizi...)
Zizi, by the way, is the French baby-word for penis. I'm not sure if maybe I should be teaching them a more proper word, or perhaps a word in English for when we're speaking English or something. But this is working for us so far.
Regarding the differences between girls and boys, all they know at this point is that boys have zizis and girls do not have zizis. I'm kind of thinking that "what girls have instead" falls into the category of "advanced topics" since they're both boys and haven't asked about it. I'm not sure if that's the right strategy or not.
I don't really have a plan or a theory here, I'm just playing it by ear.
Anybody else out there have a theory or an opinion about how such topics should be covered?