The Birds and the Bees...Again.

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!



  1. thanks for sharing. i am sure you let them know if they have any questions they could come to you & ask, and you would give them an answer..or together refer to the book! :o)
    sometimes books like the ones you gave your boys state things in a more clear, precise way than us parents can do.
    i plan to purchase books for my daughter too, along with casual conversation about what she reads in the books i think i will give her a good overall "sex education".
    thanks too for the "book review"!

  2. Thank you so much for the laugh! My husband and I were crying-laughing. We have a similar age 11 yr old son and we, too, educated him with a book! There are just some things your son should NEVER hear you say, lol!

    (On a funny side note, later on after we told our son, our other 8 yr old son asked randomly in the car one day, "Exactly HOW does a baby get into your tummy?"

    I heard my 11 yr old softly say in the back, "You don't want to know. Trust me, I wish I didn't know." :)

  3. stopping by from Sits- loved your post~ I am not looking forward to the day that I have to talk to my kids about it either- good to know about the books.

  4. What a hoot!! I have a 5 yr old boy and 2 older girls...can't imagine raising 3 sons...God Bless you!!! I remember is the 80s when my mom sat us down and read that "Where do we come from" book...oh the HORROR!!! LOL!!! But we did the same thing, flipped through it for hours!!! Thanks for the great advice, tips and books.

  5. MY HERO! lol--just found you and as a mother of three boys--8,9 & 10--I have been in a quandry...to put it ever so politely. First, I get the phone call from the principal at their new school 'cause the eldest said "weenie" on the bus. Yeah, WEENIE. Then I hear this discussion from his room with a friend..."when it gets hard--what do you do?" And....I bolted. "Squa-aaawk." I'm chicken.

    Next stop: Amazon. Dig you huge!

  6. Would you recommend changing you for girls?

  7. LOL! Love it! I often wonder how one goes about actually addressing and answering concerns about sex with their kids I mean I know how I found out about sex and how for years I thought a man peed in a woman to get her pregnant! (Thank you school yard education) LOL! I hope to do a far better job of discussing this with my future children someday!

  8. Thanks bunches for sharing! I have two boys 7 and 4 and I have been wondering when and how to talk about this with my 7 yr old..so I am going to get the book you recommend. Thanks again!!

  9. No hate mail here! I think you handled this delicate situation perfectly. You knew your sons wouldn't be open to a discussion on this topic, and you gave them an easy way to have some of their questions answered, and you let them know that you're there if they have any more questions. Good Job Mom!

  10. I think it is GREAT that you put it in his bed with a flashlight. You are letting him know he needs to read it and can do it without embarrassment and in privacy. Way to go mom!!

  11. Ok, read the comic at the top and laughed out loud! I think you did great. This is a tough subject to talk about and we are approaching the day quickly with my 8 yr old daughter. I too want to know, how are these 2 books for girls?

  12. Great post! I have 2 teenage (17&15) daughters, and I remember when I was looking for books for when they started their periods, how awkward it was. I like the book idea because it is easier, and "then follow up later with any questions, or details they may want. Thankfully, my girls have been pretty good about coming to me with questions. The flashlight was a good idea. I think you're doing a great job!

  13. All kids are different and all parents are different. Why would anyone care how you tell your kids about sex? I mean in that in a good way, as in, how could that make someone angry enough to send you hate/negative comments? Sheesh. Some people have over inflated opinions of their opinion (that sounded really stupid but you know what I mean). I think this was smart and when my daughter is a little older I would love to do the book thing. We got her books when I was pregnant and it worked great. We just skipped the really detailed parts and read the other parts about a baby growing in Mommy's tummy in a kind of sack called a uterus. She loved it.

  14. Gah! I got the sweats just reading this! Thankfully mine are 8,5 and 4. Wayyy to early for the books - I know at this point all they would focus on would be the "boobies" and the "weens".

  15. I am rolling here!! SO FUNNY and SO TRUE!!

    I remember when my son was about 12 and we were at the beach and he raised his arms for me to put sunscreen on him and he had hair in his armpits! I ALMOST DIED!!!

    WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN??? I blurted out!!

    Probably not the best way to have handled the situation...

    Lou Cinda

  16. Cracking up.... good for you. I think you did good - but then I was "taught" by a book, too. Good luck to you!

  17. Bookmarking your post for the future. I have an almost 9 year old and I know these questions are coming. Right now he knows he has "seeds" in his testicles. Ack!

  18. You're so awesome! And I love you! And I've missed you! And I soooo remember that book, too! How funny!

  19. Hilarious! I'm not looking forward to this with my kids! Good thing I still have 8 or 9 years!

  20. Thanks for the great post, Jennifer! As the mother of two boys, I often have severe heartburn over this very subject! Now, I feel like I have a starting point, at least! Off to Amazon I go!

  21. Oh my...this cracked me up! I SO remember that old school book. My BFF in middle school had it hidden in her closet and we used to read it and giggle all night long!
    And I love your approach. Putting it in his room with a flashlight is very non-confrontational and perfect for an 11 year old. I hope I can handle it that well with my own kids. I think I did pretty well with the 20 6th grade boys asking all KINDS of questions. BTW, I can't wait to see what kinds of hits you get with all your penis slang!

  22. Thanks for the tips - got through 3 boys not so bad, now I have to deal with a 10 year old daughter - UGH!

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  24. OK, it's official: I'm glad I don't have kids...


  25. No hate mail from me...I totally understand. sigh. Only I have 7 daughters to educate (well...three down, four to go). At least Dad takes over for the boys.

  26. Thanks for sharing this story. It makes me cringe thinking about when I'll have to do this. And I agree with many of the other commenters - with boys it is so much more difficult. May god bless you, my child. Hang in there.


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