The Sex Talk: Birds Don’t Do It With The Doors Closed

“I don’t know the question, but sex is definitely the answer.” ~ Woody Allen

There they go again. I mean, come on!! That’s three times today already. Don’t they have anything better to do than squawk and fornicate in front of everyone?

Apparently not. And this is that time of year, for Pete’s sake.

Such is the life of the birds in the late winter, early spring. Each time she’s ready to lay an egg, that egg must first be fertilized. She gives a special call to her mate; he flies in and satisfies her request. These Red-shouldered hawks are doing pretty much just that all today. Such a ruckus.

I wonder If I shot bird sex video, would DirtNKids lose its G-rating?

On a lighter note, here’s a video from way back before this blog was born. We enjoy watching little ones come up however we can, especially when they’re being reared in the garage. It’s reassuring for me that one day, my own little mess-makers will leave this home to go make messes for someone else instead.

The ‘Sex-Talk:’ Using The Non-Humans

Our world gives us the perfect start for this otherwise awkward and difficult conversation with our children. Kids are never quite fully prepared to see people in compromising positions of sexual intercourse — medical or no — or to view detailed depictions of human anatomy — medical or no.

Try using bugs and birds, dogs and cats instead. They never close the doors, welcoming chatty voyeurism by parents and children alike.

See just how quickly 7-yr-old Angie figured out what hijinx these two walking sticks were up to; she’s no dummy. After all, Mr. and Mrs. Dirt taught each of the four Kids about procreation through the natural world, and what each knows by the age of five on the subject of sex education could fill volumes.

Yes, Sweetie, insects, birds, reptiles, and all mammals enjoy this activity. Yes, even we humans, my Little One! How do you think it is you came to be? we say. No need to to give too much more information; they’ll connect the dots when their brains are fully ready to comprehend the necessity of the action.

We are also careful not to use words we wouldn’t want repeated in the grocery store line at full volume. These correct though hypertension-inducing sounds in the air should be introduced only once a child’s restraint is also fully in check. Stick with the silly labels instead; ‘ba-bahs,’ ‘bootie,’ ‘po-po,’ or privates are more likely to elicit giggles than sideways glances from complete strangers. When your child is mature enough — or when their peer group pressures them first — is generally the right time.

Before you know it, that same child becomes a 5th-grader and has already figured the rest out perfectly on his own without the awkward formal talk. Other details will be shared with him soon enough, but for now, the best way to prevent a tween from barging into your bedroom unasked when the door is closed is simply the knowledge by him that, yes, even Moms and Dads probably still do it too.

Unlike birds, though, we are apt to keep the doors closed — and locked — mostly for the tattle-tale 1st-grader who’s not so courteous. The teen who ‘might be scarred for life’ doesn’t even bother knocking on the door; he just waits until we emerge and tries not to think too much about what we may or may not be doing behind it.

Rest assured, though, Mama keeps the squawking to just barely audible.

Laughing Gull Pair

She’s Not Laughing
Laughing Gulls

Watcha Lookin' At?

What’re You Lookin’ At?
Green Anole

Babies Get A Meal
Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Sex Outcome
Carolina Wren Fledglings

What’s your favorite way to keep the
sex conversation going with your kids?

32 thoughts on “The Sex Talk: Birds Don’t Do It With The Doors Closed

  1. Great post :-)! I remember seeing it before and feeling relieved that I wasn’t the only one who felt inclined to take photos of birds and other creatures mating. It’s super interesting! I do wonder what rating your blog would have with a bird sex video?

    The most beautiful bird mating ritual I’ve seen was between two red-winged blackbirds. She was on top of a cattail singing a soft song and he landed on her back somehow. And she kept singing as he held on to her back while they both beat their wings. I wish I had a video!

    Very funny to read parents’ comments on how to bring up the topic of sex with their kids! I found taking Botany changed my view of sex, in the biological big picture, quite a lot. Different algae species have so many different sexual reproduction strategies! Of course, humans and primates engage in intercourse for many other reasons…

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    1. I would have love to seen the blackbirds. They are some of my favorite yard variety. Video would have been superb! Thanks for stopping by, Myriam. Love your stories. 😀

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  2. Hmm. I don’t think it ever came up in my childhood. I don’t recall asking, or being told. Some combination of playground conversations, observation of nature, and extrapolation worked for me.

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    1. Funny how we just figure some of those things out on our own. The unintended consequence of that can be quite life-changing for some young girls, and I feel we parents have a duty to disclose all when the time is right.

      Plus, bug and bird love is just plain fun, especially the part where mom and dad birds are frantically feeding those hungry mouths. Kids watch and can truly appreciate what we do for them just a bit more.

      Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Haha! That’s super funny, Peg, as I’ve no doubt your kids have moved from driving you nuts to literally driving you. Would be fun to hear some of those conversations! Nice of you to pop by. I’m woefully behind on my click-away-from-the-email window blog reads, much as I’m behind on more relevant life duties (like going for my annual…such fun as it is).

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    1. Hmmm, visiting my blog vs having a checkup. That’s a REALLY tough call, I can see how you would be conflicted. I’m going to have to come down on the side of the checkup though, because that’s just the kind of selfless humanitarian I am. You’re welcome.

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      1. If the GYN would carry his office hours into the early morning, say 4-5a, I may have had that appt checked off my list already. Unfortunately, the only tasks that get relegated to that time of day are returning emails and blog-reading. Oh. And coffee-drinking.

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  4. Great post! Got us talking! 🙂
    Using animals and birds to start the conversation is genius.
    And the pictures are absolutely lovely. My goodness!
    Keep up the good work!! 🙂

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  5. Well you are miles ahead of me. My daughter does ask me lots of questions, mostly about how a baby comes out. I tell her and she runs away screaming. My son? Um…I’ll leave it up to my husband to discuss sex with him. It brings me too much pain and sorrow to realize he’s going to be a man soon. Sigh.

    As for body parts? Both my kids use the correct words now. But they don’t blurt them out in public thank goodness. However, there was a time at Walmart when my 3 year old boy did a lovely song and dance routine called “I see boobies!” while we were in the bra section. Not my finest parenting moment.

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    1. Oh, yes. We had something similar here, only it was a man in the check-out line. With boobs. Ginny was quick to LOUDLY point that out for us. Thank you, 3-yr-olds for those precious moments. I hid behind my copy of People Magazine and pretended she was someone else’s wayward kid.

      Talking boinking (or pulling, rubbing, or otherwise feel-good stuff) is never comfortable. Especially for someone who has no clue that tea-bagging his sister is frowned upon by the general (non-kid) population. Yes. Tea-bagging.

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      1. YIKES!!

        I remember my son sang Old MacDonald song in a public bathroom, but he made up his own lovely lyrics: Old Mac Donald had a penis! e-i-e-i-o!!! (technically, he was accurate with that statement…)

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    2. Oh, and leave it to one of MY kids to name call Ginny (short for Virginia) with the three V-words strung along together in sing-song fashion. Yeah, big brother. That one was real nice. At least we were in the car and not in Wal-mart.

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  6. Thanks for kind words, Bob! My bird photos are nothing compared with your tweeties, but sometimes I’ll get a good shot without a zoom. Really do need to splurge for one of those, tho…

    As for embedding videos, WordPress does all the work for me! All I need is the YouTube video’s address. Easy, really. Let me know when you’re ready to do one. I’d be glad to assist.

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    1. Sometimes we kissy-kissy in front of them just for the shock factor! Gotta keep that out in the open so we’re constantly talking about it frankly and honestly. I always want the kids to be comfortable enough to come to us first. Never scary, uncomfortable, or embarrassing.

      But you’re right. The thought of my parents…ew. Great birth control.

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    1. Ha! Yep. You are a tad ahead of me there. I’m saving the really “fun” talks with the sons for Dad. My girls are already quite certain they never want to have a baby come out of their bottoms.

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  7. Wow. Such beautiful pics and video… and story. And again… you’ve taken me back. I wasn’t nearly so wise or knowledgeable as you, so when my son showed curiosity at 5 (if I remember correctly), I answered all his questions until he got to THE question: “But how did the egg get there?” at which point I came up with something akin to the stork. The next day I told a psychologist friend about the conversation & she said, “Jan, if he can handle the question, he can handle the answer.” I went back to him that night (remorsefully) and told him the real story. He looked at me, shook his head, and said, “I don’t get why those sperms don’t fall out in the potty.” Gravity was his only issue. He promptly forgot the conversation, and I had to revisit everything when he hit 9 🙂

    Thanks for the science, the story, and the pictures. All just perfect.

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    1. Thanks so much, Mothlit! Have I told you yet how much I enjoy your comments here?

      Gravity and sperm! If that don’t beat all. Something similar but less funny for me was the explanation for why boys can’t have babies. I told them — and they were quite young too — that boys and girls both have two exit holes: one for pee, one for poop. Girls were specially equipped with a baby hole. The looks when I showed them the size it gets (using a baby doll head for scale) were priceless.

      Of course the third hole has other more pleasant uses. We haven’t gotten that far into parenting yet, but it won’t be long now!

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