Bobcat and I almost had The Talk this weekend. I was cracking eggs (I make fully awesome breakfast burritos), and he asked if they would grow into chicks if we kept them long enough. So I explained that they don't become chicks unless a rooster fertilizes them. He changed the subject and I was relieved. End of Talk, I hoped.
Now, I've prepared myself to discuss these things with my sons. Our approach has been to answer their questions honestly, and in simple terms. Following their lead, not telling more than they ask, or more than is age appropriate. I expect it to be a series of talks, progressing in detail, and encompassing faith and morals and modesty as well as biological facts, rather than a single overwhelming event at some predetermined age. So, I wasn't relieved at the change of subject out of fear.
I was relieved because I suddenly realized how little I know about roosters and the technical details of avian reproduction. I needed to do some research. Unfortunately, he did circle back after a few minutes, and asked HOW the rooster fertilizes the eggs. I don't remember exactly what I said. I mean, I knew sperm had to be involved somehow. (By the way, honey, I taught Bobcat a new word, don't be alarmed if you hear it repeated…) I think everything I said was true, but I could have explained it much better. He was satisfied though, and changed the subject again.
Then I looked it up online this morning. And I was way off! Am I the only one who thought the rooster came along after the egg was already laid? That's what I was told, at some point. How stupid. I've seen birds mating, after all. I once had to tell the boys that some ducks were wrestling (I know I just said we would be open and honest, but they were really little, and there were other people around). I should have known better, but heck, I didn't grow up on a farm. It makes sense, but it comes as something of a revelation.
Maybe it's better that I didn't give much detail. A nine-year-old doesn't need to know exactly how the sperm get to the egg.
So, that's the birds part. Still not 100% on the bees. It has to do with flowers and pollen and stuff, right? Or is there something I should know about bee sex and baby bees?
Anyway, I'll be better prepared next time it comes up. He did change the subject again, this time to cheetahs. And I was going to be all over that because I do understand mammals pretty well (I think). But he didn't ask about baby cheetahs or anything. Just about how fast they can go and how big of an animal they can kill. That was easy. But I'm ready for the next installment of The Talk.