The Birds and the Bees


Screenshot by Jordana Green

The dreaded email arrived. It read:

“Good afternoon parents!

Just as a reminder, your child watched the human growth and development video (or el video, as the kids call it) today. We answered as many questions as we could, but they may have a few more when they come home today.”

Yup, they for sure will have questions about the vas deferens, and the urethra, and the fallopian tubes. Oh boy! Unless you’re a doctor, most of us parents forgot this stuff the minute after we learned it in 7th grade. Now the kids watch “El Video” in fourth grade. So it was either get an anatomy book, or bite the bullet and just answer the questions my son really wanted to ask, but was veiled by clinical terminology like “How does the sperm get near the ovaries?”

The buildup to El Video was pure hilarity—the kids knew they’d be watching it for some time and of course lots of emails went home to the parents…just in case we’d be offended by our children learning about their bodies. I’m sure some parent was, and pulled their kid out of school. My son reminded me at breakfast that day he’d be watching El Video and I told him if he has any questions I’ll answer anything he asks, or he can also ask dad (I said with a hopeful smirk). He was excited and nervous as any 4th grade boy who was going to be allowed to say the word “penis” in class would be.

And so, on his bus ride home, the texts began after El Video was viewed by the entire 4th grade.

Son: “Hey mom”

Me: ” How was your day love?”

Son: “Good puberty vid”

Me: ” Omg, omg, omg, how was it?”

Son: “Weird, now no girl ever looks at me.”

Me: “Did they show a real penis?”

Son: “No animated.”

Me: “Did it make you uncomfortable? Did everyone giggle?”

Son: “Omg yes. It was scary with all the spurms (sic) and eggs what the hell?”

Me: “Ah, got it, what else?”

Son: “Periods, we had to watch the girls, so you know. They talked about hormones, mood swings and getting tired.”

Me: “Did they talk about sex?

Son, “No, that’s 7th grade but it’s not animated.”

(What, not animated!!! He’s not going to 7th grade!!)

Me: “Do you have any questions, I’ll answer anything.  We can also talk in person.”

Son: “No I’m good.”

Me: “You can also ask daddy.”

Son: “K, talk to you later.”

Me: “Love you.”

I think we gave “sexting” a new definition. We sort of had a “sex talk” over text. Weird, but very 2106. My son knows he can ask me anything and we’ve discussed sexuality in the past but witnessing boy parts and girl parts with his friends was a rite of passage.

El Video was a little embarrassing, not nearly as informative as it could have been, and a terrific gateway to open the conversation to discuss sex with our kids. When my son finally gets up the courage to ask me what he really wants to know, “So how does the spurm (sic) really get to the egg?” I’ll pour some wine, (for me) and tell him the truth. Then we’ll both giggle.

This week I wish you open, honest conversations, great sex, and lots of giggles!

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