Sex in the headmaster's office
I've never been the parent who gets squeamish about questions from my kids. Any question, any topic, any stripe of inquiry and I'm on board to talk about it. Every family is different, but what works for us is generally honest dialogue and assuming that if they're old enough to ask the question, they're old enough to get the answer.
This philosophy is particularly true when it comes to sex and their bodies in general. I don't like to set the tone that it's dirty or unspeakable. So when they come to me with questions, I try to keep it simple but honest.
When my son was four, and I got pregnant with his sister, he was fascinated as to how she was going to come out of my belly. When I explained to him the nature of her exit, his eyes grew wide and he said, "Mom, is that going to hurt?!"
Oh yes, Buddy, like you wouldn't believe.
I knew the next logical question was how she got in there in the first place, but it never came. I stocked up on reference materials and visual aids and went over the conversation in my head, but the pregnancy came and went without question.
Until one day, his baby sister was nursing while he was having a bath upstairs, and he shouted across the house, "Moooooom?!"
"I know how Hudson came out of your belly, but how did she get in there?"
That's a very good question, why don't we talk about it when you're out of the bath.
So we talked at length, we watched a cartoon-ish video on YouTube of sperm fertilizing an egg and we talked about DNA. We talked about how people had sex because it felt good, why it was important to choose wisely - sexual health and responsibility. We talked about sex for days and he watched "the sperm movie" a hundred and fifty million times. Then his curiosity waned and he went back to Legos.
His first day of school we walked into the lobby with his little sister in the stroller and the headmaster met us at the door and crouched down and said, "Well, now who is this?"
Makaio (rhymes with Ohio) very proudly announced, "This is my sister, Hudson. My dad put his penis in my mom's vagina and..."
I cut him off, explained it wasn't the appropriate time for private conversations and told the headmaster he was about to get a full essay on baby-making as Makaio had gotten very curious where babies came from when his sister was born.
"I'm sure he did," in his most polite, English-pretend-everything-is-fine manner, "shall we see the classroom?"
And that is when I realized that emphasizing that home was the appropriate place to discuss private things was at the top of my open-dialogue checklist.
Have you been witness to the kids saying the damnedest things, or did your own parents tell you a story of when you mortified them in public? We've all done it. It's a rite of passage, I'm convinced.