Out of the blue, during study time, Jonah innocently asked, “Mama, how did the egg and the sperm meet? How did the sperm get inside the woman’s body?” He was preparing for exam week that time, memorizing terms and definitions for his Science subject when he came to the definition of fertilization.
Uh-oh! Panic time! How do I answer my 11-year-old kid’s questions regarding sex and sexuality? Should I tell him the scientific facts or dish out some mumbo-jumbo story of the stork? If I wasn’t discerning, I could end up like the parent in an anecdote I came across sometime ago. The kid in the story asked his mom what sex is and she rattled off an explanation about the birds and the bees. “Mom, I don’t know how your answer can fit in this little box. The teacher told us to just put in either an F or an M.”
So back to my dilemma… actually, in my heart I knew what I had to tell him. This is what my husband and I and our community have been advocating for. This is why we opposed our local government unit’s development plan for children of having sex education in school. As a parent, it is my right and privilege to talk to my kids about sex and sexuality.
Looking at my son, I realized he wasn’t ready for the real thing. Not yet. He’s not even in the puberty stage. His voice hasn’t changed and it still sounds angelic to my ears. If Freud was alive he’d agree with me that my son is still in the latency period. At age 5 or 6 until puberty, children’s sexual urges are still dormant… temporarily inactive… sleeping. Should I say more?
What answer did I give Jonah? It wasn’t his time to know how the father’s sperm got into the mother’s body. Not yet… I told him there are things men and women do when they get married that will allow them to start a family. And because we belong to the Catholic faith, I told him that it is a God-given gift to married couples. I told him further that he doesn’t have to know in detail everything that leads to fertilization.
Did my explanation satisfy his curiosity? I know my son and where he’s at for the moment. He’s more interested in badminton, his piano lessons, wrestling with Joshua, arguing with Kuya Gabriel. He’s not so keen about his looks and his retainer. Like his older brothers, he’s going to be a late bloomer in this department. He gets piqued when I ask him about the girl in class who sent him “I’ve got a crush on you” notes.
It’s not easy being a parent. As I’ve admitted in a previous post, my husband and I make mistakes because we’re not perfect. We’re still learning even after 18 years of parenting. We’ve got a long long way to go, tons and tons of lessons to learn and lots and lots of praying to do.