A while back my son got the whole “ birds and bees talk” from his dad – up to the point at which my son said, “Dad okay stop I don’t want to know anymore!” And since that time, he has had no issues identifying this behavior reflected throughout nature. So it didn’t surprise me when, about a month ago, he happily ran into the house yelling, “Mom! There are two grasshoppers outside mating! Do you want to come see?” At which I promptly answered one of those muddled “I am too busy to see grasshoppers mate” kind of responses.
Of course, his two little sisters were happy to clamor at the chance to view this spectacle. Unlike my son who has had “that discussion” with dad, I was not sure that either of the girls had any sort of context regarding what they were about to see. I figured they would just look, ponder a bit, and move on. My son took them out to view the spectacle and immediately wandered off. Essentially this left the girls alone to consider what exactly those grasshoppers were up to.
About thirty minutes later, the girls excitedly came in to report their findings. The 5 year old described in detail how the boy grasshopper was attempting to pull baby grasshoppers out of the mommy’s tummy. At this detailed assessment, the older girl shook her head and simply said, “No, they were just making out.”
I realized this was ripe with a teachable moment but I was too busy hysterically laughing myself into tears to come up with any sort of coherent response. And I certainly was not in a state of readiness to muster out a discussion on what was happening here. The more I thought about it though, despite both being off on their conclusions, clearly they had a working knowledge developing already regarding sex and sexual relationships. And I have to honestly admit that I don’t entirely know where that came from.
Our current culture has so many mixed messages about sex and sexuality. It appears that even my 5 year old is beginning to pick up on some of these. So my girls taught me that day. They taught me that I need to help them navigate that world and talk with them even earlier than I thought about sex. If I don’t, something like Nickelodeon may do the talking for me. And that is a scary thought!