Jim and I have always been open with the girls about bodies, bodily functions, health and the like. We've never used euphemisms but instead used the real names for body parts. We have matter-of-factly answered the girls' questions as they've asked them. They both know that babies come from mom's body; their only confusion being that I gave birth to both of them via Caesarian section, though I have pointed out that most moms don't give birth that way. Recently Carly, who has repeatedly told me that she never wants to have a baby, asked me the following: *if* she did have a baby, would they have to cut her open like they did to Mommy? I explained that they probably would not, that instead the mom pushes the baby out. Out of where? Her vagina, I answered. GROSS! exclaimed Miss Carly. She is starting to wonder how women have babies, in so far as how they have them when they want them, and don't have them when they don't want them... but she doesn't ask further questions so I've let it go until she does.
Both girls have been told all their lives by various people that one of them looks just like me, and one looks just like Jim; which child favors which parent depends on the person offering the opinion. Last night at supper Rebecca asked me why everyone says she and Carly look "so much alike", I answered "because you DO look alike! More so than other siblings you know" and gave some examples of families we know in which the siblings share very little resemblence. Rebecca sees the differences between herself and her sister more than their similarities, so it's hard for her to see how much they do favor one another.
Later she was looking at a Lady and the Tramp Golden Book and asked me a question. On the last page of the story, Lady and Tramp are sitting with three of their puppies. Two of the puppies are miniature sized Ladys, and one is a dead ringer for Tramp. Rebecca wanted to know why one of the puppies looked like Tramp. Because Tramp is his dad, I answered... waiting to see what she would ask next. She considered this, and then said, "OK, but Lady gave birth to him, right?". Yes, I responded. She looked thoughtfully at the page, then shrugged, saying "that's odd..." and went on to something else.
So, we may be having a more in depth talk before too long. Maybe it's time for me to invest in a book or two to help out. I will note here that I have had more in-depth conversations of this type with my kids at this point, than I had with my mom during my entire lifetime. My mom was not open about these kind of subjects, not at all. She bought a book for us to read, and left it on a shelf on her nightstand for a long time before actually presenting it to me. Being a nosy kid, I had already read it when she wasn't home... having a lot of trouble understanding the mechanics of sex given how it was described in the book. When one of my friends got her first period, my mom gave me some supplies for when it would happen to me; lucikly pads with adhesive backing had just come out, because I was aware of her wearing the elastic pad belt and did not want to deal with that. She never showed me or discussed tampons; in fact when my sister was a teenager my mom refused to buy them for her, saying she was "too young" to use them. Anyhow, after presenting me with the pads, my mom handed me the book and told me to read it. And that was it for our discussion of sex and babies. I'm glad that things are more open between me and my girls.