Well, we did it. We had “the big talk” with Andy.
All my favorite parenting books recommended that we have this little chat when our offspring reached the wonderful age of eight. I know, it’s seems young. But all my older sisters-in-law who are turning out fabulous teenagers did the same thing. They said eight is old enough to understand yet young enough to not be completely mortified by such conversations. They are honestly just curious. They insisted that innocence is not the same thing as ignorance and that if they hear it from you first, then there is no need for them to be embarrassed or ashamed when they find out sooner or later. So we arranged for a babysitter for the littles, took a deep breath and asked Andy where he wanted to go out to eat, just the three of us. Panda Express.
Once we were strategically settled in on the restaurant’s patio (the patio was empty) with our chow mein and orange chicken, we asked him how much he knew about how animals have babies. (He’s our animal expert, remember?) He said he knew the spirit came from Heavenly Father, but beyond that he had no idea. He just knew that their had to be a mom and a dad and they had to be married. (I love his innocent mind.)
We explained things appropriately for an eight year old. (We’ll need to have follow up conversations when he hits puberty.) And to my amazement, he wasn’t embarrassed or shocked at all. It was like when we told him about Santa Claus–he was proud to be in the know. Honored that we thought he was old enough to know how things work. We got to tell him about the importance of marriage and fidelity and about God’s laws associated with this power. He took it all quite well. When Paul and I were done, we leaned back in our chairs and asked, “any questions?”
“No.” Then he proceeded to open his fortune cookie, read it, and was ready to chat about other things. Okay then.
And just so the evening wasn’t all about s-e-x, and so Panda Express would be edible again, we took him to see “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief” that night. On the way there, we talked Greek mythology. It was funny to see Zeus’s blatant infidelity finally becoming clear to him. “So that‘s why Hera is always so mad at him.”