Okay. I did it and I promised you I'd guide you along the bumpy road of my journey to my boys' sex education. Really, that doesn't sound right when all they really want to know is when they will grow hair on their...chest/armpits/balls.
I spent a lot of time in the bookstore, and maybe I learned a few things myself (some of those books were so GRAPHIC I was blushing.)
Let's get started...My son is 11. So, for an 11 year old DON'T buy the book Sex, Puberty, and All That Stuff - just trust me on this one. There is a little box in each section that lists all the slang words for everything (you know, like this "Other words for penis are: dick, prick, cock, wang, pecker..." Even the big guy said, "Geez! I want him to be educated, not an expert!")
It goes into waaay detail about sexually transmitted disease, unwanted pregnancy, birth control...lots of things my son will be ready for in a few years, but not now. My dad sat at the table looking through it in a state of slack jaw and giggling. (Please direct all hate mail to Jennifer Juniper)
DO buy the book Changing You, it's like 7 bucks on Amazon right now.
It's nice and thin, yet detailed enough for a boy my son's age. It goes over the nitty gritty in cartoon illustrations that demonstrate HOW you get pregnant (the actual mechanics are a curiosity to my son) in a non-threatening, yet accurate way. I cannot express enough how much I love this book. Thank you to Girl in the Sticks for recommending it.
And before all the commenters chime in again with "why don't you just sit down and TALK, like I do?" I will just put it out there - I could not bring myself to utter the sentence "...and the man puts his penis into the woman's vagina" to my son. And frankly, I don't think he could bring himself to hear it. (Please direct all hate mail to Jennifer Juniper)
While I was there, I experienced a blast from the past when I noticed the book Where Did I Come From?
It was first published in 1977 and I know I read it as a child. Don't ask me where I got it, but I clearly remember this photo (sans the white boxes, with all the sick stuff on the internet they censor THIS?):
This book is an even more basic book with a funny, chubby, cartoon "mom and dad" he uses to illustrate the difference between men and women. I ended up buying this one for my 7 and 8 year old boys, who ask many more questions than my 11 year old ever did!
So, how did I approach the gifting of the books? I walked in the door with my bags and gave the kids whatever it was that I picked up for them. I was all like "Here are the juice boxes I bought for your lunch and, oh yeah, I got you guys some books." They pounced! We just sat down and began leafing through them together, like no big deal. I just didn't want them to feel like this was top secret info, just an ordinary book.
#1 son took one look, turned red, and high tailed it out of there. My younger two boys were interested...VERY interested. The 8 year old cruised that book for about an hour non-stop. Non. Stop. He sat beside his brother saying "Hey, look, look!" about 56 times.
The 7 year old sat on dad's lap and pointed and said things like "boobies!" and "Ew, love!". The book sits proudly on their dresser and they pick it up every now and then. I wish I would have gotten this book for my oldest at their age.
My 11 year old wouldn't touch his book with a 10 foot pole. He couldn't bring himself to read it in front of us, or even take it from the table in front of us.
So...after a few days, I placed it in his bed with a flashlight so he could read it in privacy (my kids almost never go into their rooms unless they are going to bed). I wanted him to be able to read it without embarrassment and get the answers he was so curious about. (This plan of action has been controversial even among my friends, so please direct all hate mail to Jennifer Juniper.)
So, there you have it. The birds and the bees...again.
I'm really not looking forward to the point in time when the other book is necessary! Give me strength!