Tonight as I was putting Jack to bed we started talking about how food travels through our bodies. Somehow that lead to Jack saying "mummy, wee comes out of a woman's vagina and so do babies, but only wee comes out of a mans penis".
As is my way, I couldn't just let that go. So I mentioned that sperm, the seed that joins with a woman's egg to make a baby, also came out of the mans penis. Of course the idea of an egg inside of me made Jack laugh and so as I tried to convince him that it wasn't like a chicken's egg I remembered the 'Where do I Come From' book that I had when I was a child. I asked Jack if he wanted to read it.
And so I read the book that taught me where babies come from, to my little man for the first time. As I read I was worried that it would turn out to be not as lovely as I remembered it. I need not have worried.
It is a lovely book and told the story of how a baby comes to be in an informative and yet slightly romantic sort of way. Here is a link to the book.
OK so there are a few points that I edited in the reading (like the fact that most mothers usually have a doctor or a nurse with them, or that we can't see what the sex of the baby is in the womb so the doctor tells the mother after the baby is born) but mostly I thought that this was still exactly the sort of book I wanted to explain the process to my kids.
I hadn't expected to have 'the talk' with Jack today, but then this has been a conversation that has happened over a period of years with new questions after each discussion. This was the first time that I felt Jack was asking for the whole story, like how does the sperm get inside the mummy?
I have looked at a lot of different 'Where did I Come From?' type books. Some of the newer ones that I have read are either very contrived or too black and white. It seems important to me that this book seems to to be written with love and yet is also sufficiently detailed.
I also have a copy of two other books that I think are great but very different. Andrew grew up with a book that talks about how flowers are seeded, then how chicks get into the egg, then how puppies are born and then how people reproduce. I had a little giggle at this today. His book is so perfectly for him, just as I think my book is so perfectly for me. I also have a national geographic type pop-up book with a pop-up uterus, a pop-up baby and a pop-up erect penis (we may wait a little while before I share this one with the kids)
I wonder how the way we learn about sex and babies forms our ideas as we get older. I read this book and I wondered if I could trace back my love of pregnancy and birth to these beginnings? I don't know, but it can't have hurt.
Apparently my book isn't in print anymore, but if you can get your hands on a copy I highly recommend it. Its got to be better to be ready for these conversations to pop-up when you least expect them, although maybe wait a while for pop-up penises.