It's the question every parent dreads: "Daddy, where do babies come from?"
I look down at my son, who gazes back at me with big brown eyes and an innocence which, at the moment, is in my hands.
As he's just five years old, I wasn't expecting to be asked The Question just yet; but here we are, and I've got to deal with it. And so, do I tell him the truth, or do I make something up?
I told him the truth.
We live in a different age to that experienced by kids just a few decades ago; a fact which has been highlighted recently with the suggestion that children should be taught about the perils of pornography at a young age.
Today's child has access to a wealth of information that we could only dream of a few decades ago, and with it comes the danger that they could access a website full of unsuitable material. When I was young the internet was in its infancy, and most webpages consisted of basic text (in Times New Roman font) on a garish cyan or yellow background. Those days are gone.
And so, whether I like it or not (and I do not), my son will probably be exposed to things of a sexual nature before I would ideally like, and for this reason I think it is best to be honest and open when he asks The Question.How did you learn about the birds and the bees? I honestly used to think that my parents sat and wished for me, and I kind of just appeared in a puff of smoke at the foot of the bed. I didn't dare think about their reaction upon my arrival, but - judging by the way they looked at my primary school photos, with my gappy teeth, centre parting and huge gold-rimmed glasses covering most of my face - their expressions would have been ones of slight disgust.
We had sex education lessons, but by then I already knew pretty much everything that was worth knowing from my classmates and friends. That's not to say that having a whole lesson about sperms and boobies wasn't hilarious, though. (It really was.)
Anyway, back to the present. My wife and I - with the help of a book written on the subject and aimed at children - told Isaac the basics about how babies are made: daddy makes seeds which go into mummy's tummy and make an egg grow. We didn't go any further than that for fear of traumatising the poor boy. But he accepted what we were saying quite happily and went away to forget about the whole thing two minutes later.
Did we do the right thing? I think so. Filling his head with stories of storks will never do him any favours, and - as much as I'd like to keep him as innocent as possible - if he's going to find out all about the S word, I'd rather he heard it from his parents.
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