Saturday, June 10, 2017

Eggs, Worms, Sex and Pie

Last night we had an exciting dinnertime conversation, exciting in all the ways imaginable.

It all started because we were talking about eggs. My daughter landed the envious role of "Narrator Number 2" in her kindergarten class' upcoming production of Jack and the Beanstalk. Her lines, which she has been rehearsing nightly, set the stage for Jack and the Giant and the hen who lays golden eggs.

We were talking about how magical this would be - to have a hen laying eggs of solid gold. Before I knew it, the conversation had morphed and my five-year-old started out her next sentence with the words "Well, if people laid eggs..."

I saw the opportunity and I seized it.

"Honey, girls do have eggs inside them," I told her. "We don't exactly lay them like hens do, but us girls have eggs in our bodies from the moment we are born."

"I know, Mom," my seven-year-old joined. She isn't one to be left out of the conversation. "There was this one time," she continued, "my friend was telling me how she and her little brother were teasing each other. He told her 'You have eggs inside of you!" and then, to get back at him, she said 'Well you have worms inside of you and that's worse!'"

Graham and I looked at each other, trying our best to hide our grins. Worms, huh? Ha!

Worms? Sperm? Same difference, right? 😉

My kindergartener, of course, found this idea hysterical. I could see her imagination taking the concept to the next level, dreaming up of pictures of little boys running about with squirmy worms coursing through their veins.

"Actually," I corrected, "I think what he was referring to was something called 'sperm' and I'm not sure a boy his age would have that yet."

I couldn't remember for absolute sure so thus commenced a quick bit of scientific "research" (read: I asked Siri to Google it) where I confirmed the fact that boys don't have sperm until they reach puberty. I was pretty sure this was the case but I wanted to feel confident and I was teaching my kids accurately.

None of the conversation was planned but, before I knew it, we were having a full-blown discussion about puberty and the purpose behind the menstrual cycle and what happens physiologically during a period. Then of course they wanted to know why boys have millions of sperm. I spared them no detail and told them that intercourse is for purposes beyond just baby-making so boys need to have tons of sperm so there's enough to go around for those times when parenthood IS actually the goal.

HELLO!!!! (Are you still with me?)

It wasn't our first conversation and it certainly won't be our last. We were on the subject for a grand total of maybe three minutes before the kids moved on and were asking if it was time for pie. Seriously. Eggs, worms, sex, and pie. The topics of our chat flowed together with epic smoothness in their little minds. They were absolutely unashamed, unembarrassed and unfazed and, I have to say, it felt pretty amazing.

A couple things happened during this conversation that I think are important to highlight:

  1. Maybe the first one is obvious. WE TALKED WITH OUR THREE, FIVE AND SEVEN-YEAR-OLD ABOUT SEX!! Outloud. Is that even legal?!?? If there is sweat on your brow and you are squirming in your seat, I get it. This definitely would not have been a kosher conversation to be having with kids this age when I was growing up, at least in the community I was raised in. Regardless of our thoughts and upbringings, the topic makes many of us feel reeeeeeeeally uncomfortable. But I know it is incredibly important so I'm speaking up and saying something. The experts today are telling us that what kids need are one hundred, one-minute conversations about sex, not one, one hundred-minute conversation with a side of red, embarrassed faces all around. We need to be interjecting the facts from a very early age, teaching our kids that our bodies are beautifully and wonderfully made, not something to be hushed about, scared of, or embarrassed by. In a best-case scenario, we will be encouraging our kids to ask questions and we will be communicating to them that WE are a safe source for them to come to when they are confused. Frankly, I would rather have my kids coming to ask ME why their sheets are wet when they wake up in the morning or why they feel all tingly when they are around a cute boy than having them find out from another (untrustworthy or potentially inaccurate) source!    
  1. We used the real names for all body parts throughout our conversation. We don't do this simply because we are a medical family. Sexual violence prevention experts tell us that using accurate nomenclature for genitalia discourages sexual predators. A predator is much more likely to move on to a more naive-seeming child who refers to his parts as a "wee-wee" or "pee-pee" than one who confidently calls it a "penis." By teaching our kids the proper names for their body parts, we are also helping promote a positive body image and self-confidence. 
  1. I admitted when I didn't know the answer. There is no shame in that! But I didn't stop there. I took the next step and looked up the answer to make sure my kids got the information they were looking for (even if my Google searching means of "research" weren't the most scientific). When they come to me with questions with their bodies, I pray my response always begins with "Well honey, I am SO glad you asked me!" I want to keep the lines of communication with them open at all times. I want to be approachable and welcoming of their curiosity, never shaming. And just as importantly, I want them to know we can't possibly know all the things about everything and that's okay. But there are sources out there that do know and we will seek the answers out together. 
How does this topic sit with you? Did it catch you by surprise? Did you come to this space hoping to find inspiration for an upcoming meal only to be shocked by a post about sex and kids? (Trust me, this wasn't a topic I planned on covering today but sometimes the words just fall out). Did you feel totally comfortable reading about sex? Are these conversations you are already having in your home? Do you have some work still to do in this area?

Wherever you are at, chew on these words for a while. Take your pulse and assess any resistance; wrestle with any discomfort. CELEBRATE it if you experience none of these. No matter where you are at, I welcome your thoughts.

I will close with one of my favorite passages from Psalm 139:13-14:

"For You formed my inward parts;
            You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
            Wonderful are Your works,
            And my soul knows it very well."

To know that we were designed by God - every part of us - intricately and intentionally. This, my friends, is a beautiful and sacred gift!


  1. I love this! So inspiring for future conversations. Thinking my 19-month-old might not have too many questions... yet. Give it a year or two, though. ;)

    1. Kristi,
      I'm glad you found this helpful. I am SO grateful for the speakers who have shared their wisdom with me on these topics at MOPS AND I'm thankful to be in a church community that embraces mind, body and soul! ❤️

  2. Replies
    1. Richard,
      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment here. I am honored. Your influence and boldness in preaching the "Help Me Love" sermon series (where many churches have remained quiet) has had a profound impact and has in turn helped me be bold. I am grateful.


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