Monday, February 1, 2010

Birds and Bees

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.


nicole said...

I was wondering about what the rooster had to with it once the egg was out. Glad to know I wasn't thinking crazy.

MommaLlama said...

Thanks for the heads up on the, um, word!

Mia said...

I blog on my Birds and Bees talk with my 10 year old. I found it is easier to provide a book and then do q and a. See posting: Birds and Bees Sex Talk at Some readers suggested some great books for boys. My oldest is a girl.

Pragmatic Mom

SAHMinIL said...

No you're not! I thought the same, I must have been told something like that along the way at some point. I thought they "sprayed" the eggs. Perhaps I got that idea from animals that do "spray" like fish or something like that! LOL So it's not totally crazy or dumb to think that.

I then thought perhaps I got the idea from a Magic School Bus Show, but after reviewing the show again. It really did NOT say how the 'male part' got in the egg. LOL

Elizabeth said...

That's hilarious! And I had no clue either about the whole rooster thang. Your post reminds me of one of my first blog posts. And I've seen the Magic School Bus show too; while we were eating eggs for breakfast. I don't recommend doing that.

Daddio said...

Well, it's truly a relief that I'm not the only adult who didn't know this.