Things to Read - The Birds and The Bees For the Kindergarten Crowd

F's curiosity about adolescence continues to grow - breasts, menstruation, all the uncomfortable facts-of-life issues (and she's only six, I thought we still had a few years of doe-like innocence). I assumed I'd be the cool mom when it comes to this stuff, but when I actually started talking to her I sounded like someone's grandma, "well, once a month women become cursed. and it really sucks" (okay, so maybe a grandma wouldn't say sucks). I needed help. A friend recommended American Girls:

and I couldn't be more grateful. F read every word, she even slept with it for awhile. This book is the G-rated version of puberty for girls. It deals mainly with hygiene issues, covering everything from brushing your hair and cleaning your ears to developing breasts and inserting a tampon. And I don't think it even contains the word sex (or intercourse or "make love" or anything like that).

Of course, The Care and Keeping of You (American Girl) didn't answer all of F's questions, especially since she has an often-naked (potty training) younger brother walking around the house all day. So for the "big questions" we checked out:

from the library. I really like and appreciate this book (the publisher recommends it for kids age 4 and up). The text is graphic (get ready to use the "real words" to describe boy and girl parts (I won't use the actual words here because I really don't want my blog to pick up hits from child pornographers)). After going over basic anatomy the book addresses eggs and sperm and provides a very preliminary introduction to sex, noting that "children are much too young to do the special kind of loving - called 'sex'- that grownups do." The book also deals with pregnancy, taking care of babies, and "okay touches, not okay touches."

I like that the book contains lots of cartoonish pictures and tries to make uncomfortable subjects as approachable as possible. Further, it addresses and easily dismisses certain stereotypes regarding gender. A chapter on different types of families approaches same-sex parents in a matter-of-fact way - "some families have a mommy and a daddy. some have a mommy. some have a daddy. some have two mommies. some have tow daddies . . ." Further, a two-page cartoon notes that many of society's assumptions about boys and girls aren't really true, for example boys can play with dolls, while girls can catch fish and worms.

Anyways, I couldn't be happier with this book. For older kids, the authors also have a book entitled It's So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families (The Family Library), recommended for ages 7 and up.

What about everyone else? How have you approached the birds and the bees? (By the way, if I get too many creepy google hits I may need to take this post down).

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