No Storks Need Apply

ABC’s blog, “Political Radar” has this headline for one of its stories: Sex Ed for Kindergarteners ‘Right Thing to Do’ Says Obama

My first thought was, “well, yeah, it is”. Second was, “I bet the idiots are freaking out about this.” Both, of course, are correct.

Browsing through links on memeorandum, you’d think that Obama wants to give teh kiddies pr0n and condoms. With a *wink wink* and a *nudge nudge*. GMAFB. What Obama said was that age appropriate, scientific information should be given. ABC requested clarification because, apparently, there are idiots out there who have no idea what could possibly be “age appropriate”, this was the answer given:

‘Nobody’s suggesting that kindergartners are going to be getting information about sex in the way that we think about it,’ Obama said. ‘If they ask a teacher ‘where do babies come from,’ that providing information that the fact is that it’s not a stork is probably not an unhealthy thing. Although again, that’s going to be determined on a case by case basis by local communities and local school boards.'” In addition to local schools informing kindergarteners that babies do not come from the stork, the state legislation Obama supported in Illinois, which contained an “opt out” provision for parents, also envisioned teaching kindergarteners about “inappropriate touching,” according to Obama’s presidential campaign.

OH NOES! Not only does he think kids should be given the truth about how human beings work, he gives people the option of opting out if they want! What a maniac! What a freak! How dare he?! Heck, he doesn’t even say that mechanical details need to be given. Just the absolute barest of basics (the stork doesn’t deliver, for example) and “good touch/bad touch”.

Our oldest is now seven. He got a sister when he was three, a brother when he was four, and another brother at age five. He started asking questions when I was pregnant with his sister. We explained them as he asked. When I was pregnant with our last (last, I tell you!) child, our daughter started asking the same questions. It’s just no.big.deal. when it comes to explaining it. You use simple explanations and you don’t need to go into extraneous detail about STDs and contraception. Everyone who knows me knows that I am a huge advocate for comprehensive sex education (that also starts at home!), so it’s not like I don’t believe in talking about those issues. They come in time, as a child can process and understand those issues.

I think certain adults get all freaked about it because sex = “naughty” or “dirty” fun. Hubba-hubba and all that. But kids don’t think of it that way and won’t associate all the “adultness” or “naughty fun” with it just by the simple explanation of how sex and the body work to “make a baby”. The truth of the matter is, it’s as non-sexy and non-a big deal as explaining digestion or breathing. It just simply IS. And Obama isn’t really even suggesting this–and you can opt out! Yeesh.

If anyone out there is facing this issue, a really great book to have as a companion piece (or center piece) of any of your discussions is this: It’s So Amazing! A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families by Robie Harris. It’s more or less for ages 6 – 10 and is very matter-of-fact but also engaging. BTW, this book and his other, It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health are both in the Top Ten of Challenged/Banned Books in 2005. I’ll give you three guesses as to why.

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8 Comments

Filed under 03_misty

8 responses to “No Storks Need Apply

  1. catgalahad

    Our oldest was 4 while I was pregnant with his younger brother. He had lots of questions about how the baby got there and how he was growing and how the baby would get out when he was ready to be born. We gave him the details we thought he could process, using the correct names for body parts. My family was shocked out of their socks when he explained that the baby was going to come out of mommy’s vagina. Apparently that’s not a good word for a 4 year old to know.

  2. Me like my stupid country.

  3. Misty

    Oooh, making up stupid fake names for body parts is another peeve of mine. You wouldn’t tell your kid that an arm or knee has some cutesy dumbass name, now would you? No difference! Just.A.Body.Part.

  4. keshmeshi

    Considering the staggering number of children who are molested in this country (1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys), this sounds damn good to me. The shocking thing is that pedophiles can get away with molesting dozens of children before the first time they get caught. On average, a pedophile who preys on girls molests 60 kids before he’s caught. A pedophile who preys on boys can molest up to 150 (!!!). Imagine how low those numbers could be if we would be rational about these issues and teach kids early about good/bad touch and the importance of going to an adult if someone hurts them.

  5. What keshmeshi said.

    Great post, Misty. None of this can be said often enough, and all of it needs to be said over and over.

    I’ve been getting kind of fed up with Obama talking out of both sides of his mouth in — I guess — a misguided attempt to get everybody’s votes. But this puts him back in the good folks column for me.

  6. Up here in the Great White North, there’s just been a major study showing that teen pregnancy in Canada is at an all-time low, and that the primary factor for this is, yep, comprehensive sex education. Knowledge is always better than the alternative.

  7. “It’s just no.big.deal. when it comes to explaining it.”

    Yes, this!

    A while back I was having a conversation about the somehow-controversial Babytalk magazine cover featuring a breastfeeding mother and baby.

    My interlocutor was trying to argue that such a magazine shouldn’t be allowed on the racks at supermarkets, because when she’s in a hurry and shopping with her family she just doesn’t want to have to stop and give a long lesson on the subject when her child notices the illustration and asks about it. Leaving aside the fact that her preschooler really doesn’t need a full-length lecture on nipple thrush and duct anatomy, how on earth can someone with this attitude function in everyday life? FSM forbid they should come across a pregnant woman, a person using a mobility aid, someone with a neurological illness, or someone with a skin colour different from their own. It’s all too hard and time-consuming for her to explain, so such things should be banned. I hope they never visit a farm: her head would explode.

    My kid has asked everything from “Why don’t you have a penis?” to “Why do some people don’t want children?” to “What are parents for?” and “Why? Why were you a little girl then? […] I was a little boy before, now I’m a big boy. So it goes little boy, big boy, man?” and has had brief and honest answers to the lot of them. Srsly, explaining reproductive mechanics is the easiest part.

  8. I suspect the reaction catgalahad’s family had is a big part of why some people don’t want to talk to their kids about sex in even the most basic ways. I mean, if sex is dirty, and you tell your kids about it, you’re a bad parent right?

    When I was four I had already started asking where babies come from, and gotten straight answers from my parents. One day I decided the plumber working on the kitchen sink needed to know these things too, and when he was done with his work he tried to chastize my mother for letting me learn ‘dirty stuff’. He was very surprised to find out that he was unable to shame my Mum into acting the way he thought she should.

    Still, it has to suck to have other people try to convince you that you are damaging your child.

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