There are many things that come with parenting that aren’t the fun pregnant daydreams you have while folding little onesies. There is the new baby exhaustion which is impossible to fathom, the not being able to wait until they talk and then wanting them to maybe stop talking maybe just at least when you’re trying to have a phone conversation, and then the big things like… dun dun dun… the sex talk.
As a part of the co-op preschool I did with my first son, I went to see a speaker on the “Birds and the Bees.” To say it was overwhelming as the mother of a 2-year-old is an underestimation. I was still working on my mantra when it came to dealing with body parts I didn’t have — “treat it like it’s his elbow.” The speaker was Amy Lang, sex educator, and founder of Birds + Bees + Kids and MamaCon, and while lots of that talk was a blur, I signed up for the newsletter and, once available, her social media, and have been reaping the benefits every since.
Now that I have two kids entrenched in elementary school, one dangerously close to middle school, I jumped at the chance to see Amy Lang speak again as Edmonds Elementary PTA hosted her this month. What’s so great about their speaker series this year is you don’t have to be a parent at EE to attend — I will give you the details on their next guest speakers below. It would be impossible to completely convey everything Lang shared in the talk in this column if not for lack on her one-of-a-kind likable, conversational perspective and context for the fact that just about everything becomes double entendre when sex is the subject – I have already changed half of the above sentences avoiding things like “come up,” “arose,” and “tips.” What I can share are a lot of the great resources and ideas she shared, many that I have added to my arsenal now that I’m relaxed (read: resigned) about having these conversations.
The talk, while mainly the same, had an updated element regarding the internet and social media. As reiterated on her Facebook page, Lang believes we are the best sex educator for our child and that she was offering information that we can run through our values and then “take what works and leave the rest!” When I spoke to her before the talk, I thanked her for her video on how to talk to kids about porn. I needed this pep talk considering how easily accessible it is via a phone on the school bus. I told Lang, who is one of those people you find yourself sharing with so easily and right away, I tend to take her advice, subtract a level and go from there.
As she explained to the group that it’s great to start the talk when the kids are 5, making sure they know “everything” by middle school, you could feel the collective “uh, what?” She went on make a compelling case for starting the conversation early, adding children who know the appropriate terms for their bodies are safer since any “creepy” person will know an adult is talking to them about what is appropriate, and also they will be able to convey more effectively that someone is hurting them.
I had originally naively assumed that I could skip large parts of this by signing up for a Great Conversations class at Children’s and call it a day, but for us, these talks started earlier than expected thanks to anatomy book we got on a trip to Half Price Books and of course the organic questions I got from the backseat about where babies “come out,” that answer was met with an “ouch.” This is where the books come in, Lang offered a few titles by author Robie Harris. For those 4 and up, “It’s Not The Stork,” For those 7 and up, “It’s So Amazing,” and for those 10 and up, “It’s Perfectly Normal.”
We have some experience with a couple of these books and they seem to pass on the information – body part differences, the scientific portion, and some context – in a way that doesn’t feel too, I guess “adult” would be the word. Another great takeaway was to keep some of these talks short and often boys do better with no eye contact. Lang suggested dropping some needed info quickly from another room.
Lang’s website BirdsandBeesandKids.com and her Facebook page of the same name are a great resource for the hows, whens and whys. Her site has the all the info to have her come and talk to your PTA or Co-op, host a Friends and Family workshops at a residence and boasts a “Tough Topics Video Library.” She has a webinar coming up on how to talk to kids about all the different genders and sexualities, and offered a great resource called “Genderbread Person” for those who could use a good infographic on the subject.
Another great resource I have come across was based on a “share” from Lang is Savvy Parents Safe Kids. I “liked” their Facebook page, which aims to make “child safety simple and straightforward for today’s busy families.” That is does! I regularly get good info from and today I found their “Super 10” Rules for Safety which is a great resource and includes mention of the “Uh-Oh feeling” which is basically a kid’s own intuition. They are also local and available for classes and workshops and can be found at
Edmonds Elementary, on Olympic Avenue just off Puget Drive, will be hosting a talk on cyber security with speaker Kip Boyle on Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.. The PTA also let me know they are working on setting up a disaster preparedness class in March. You can reach them at [email protected].
I hope the information and resources are as helpful to you as they have been to me. Birds + Bees + Kids is such a great place to start as Amy Lang is in the thick of it, currently parenting a son who “does not want to hear any” sex talks from her. As for myself, I have a post-sex-talk-workshop “Girls Night” set up with friends so we discuss the info each of us have and compare notes on how we feel about it, while having a drink of course.
— By Jennifer Marx
Jen Marx, a mom of two young boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time. You can find her on Twitter trying to make sense of begging kids to ” just eat the mac n cheese” @jen_marx.