Parenting with a straight face is hard.
It started with me telling the eldest child that we were going to make a point of going bra-shopping in the near future. Although I may be less than observant sometimes, my kids a little bit on the exhibitionist side, a by-product of being an all-female household. They're more modest at their dad's place, but here I sometimes find myself having to go "Seriously kid, put some damn pants on!" So needless to say, I've noticed that.. well.. a shopping trip may be in order. She's getting about that age.
I was about eleven when I got my first bra, only a year older. In all honesty, I probably could have used one earlier but I was inclined to fight growing up tooth and nail, until in exasperation my mother foisted about five plain white training bras on me. My period of denial was over. Talk about your paradoxes. My mom had one kid who spent each day looking down her top from the time she was about six years old, praying for the boobs that she finally got around the age of 35, and another kid who was fighting puberty with all the insistence of a pitbull on a leash who was probably doomed, if paternal aunts and cousins were any indication, to double-Ds by the time she turned 14. (Thankfully my development ended as quickly as it started and I've remained comfortably 'average' boob-wise).
So the boobie talk turns into the period talk. Don't get me wrong, my kids have been pretty cognizant of the concept of menstruation as it's not something I get all secretive about, but tonight we got into the logistics of this monthly occurence, the how's and the why's, beyond just "Hey kids, guess what. Mom bleeds from her vag once a month, and eventually you will too. Happy Birthday".
So the period talk turns into the 'Where Babies Come From' talk... ("Well, honey, mommy went to the hospital, the doctor put her to sleep and when she woke up she had a giant scar and a baby.")... which turns to the "How Do Babies Get There?" talk. Which makes for a lot of "Ewwwww.." and "That's weird!"
So, being MY children and clearly having inherited their mother's maternal instinct, this led to the "Dear God, How Do You AVOID Babies?" conversation, aka the Birth Control conversation. I was heartened that the oldest had a clear grip on the concept of abstinence, but I went through the spiel of other methods as well.
Somehow this also led to the "How do gay people have babies?" conversation and my telling them about adoption, mostly (I was going to touch on in vitro, but they were getting bored by this time) and that it's not necessary to spell out gay - it's not a bad word.
I've come to the conclusion that along with being honest with your kids, it's also important to acknowledge if you, as the parent, feel a little embarassed answering a question... because it's going to show anyway, and I would think that it's better than pretending not to be. Maybe that would encourage them to know it's okay to be a little embarassed to talk about such things, but that even if embarassing, they are still subjects that should be discussed.
I dunno.. It's hard not to question myself in these situations.. am I telling to much? Am I telling to little? Am I going to give them some kind of self-loathing complex where they think all sex is dirty or depraved or am I going to say or not say something that will lead to me becoming a grandmother before the age of forty?
It's enough to keep you up at night.