...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Lets talk about SEX!!

Yup, that's right, I said the "S" word (OK, actually in our house the "s" word is "stupid" so if you hear a child tearing up the stairs screaming that someone said the "s" word you know it isn't usually more serious than that).

But that's not the topic for today.  Today I want to talk about sex.  Or, rather, I want to talk about talking to our kids about sex.

After my post the other day about Gavin asking sex questions I've had a couple comments about how open we are with our kids about this topic.  That is very true.  From the time our children were small we have been pretty blunt (although not graphic) about sex.  Here's the thing, kids are going to have questions.  They are going to wonder about things.  I would MUCH rather they get answers from me than from someone else.

Here's what I think (and Josh and I strongly agree on this one).  If you treat the topic of sex like a secret, like something to keep locked away and never discussed until matrimony, you only increase the mystery surrounding it and in turn increase a child's curiosity about the subject.  Embarrassed or not, most kids will seek for answers and if they feel like they're not allowed to ask questions of you where will they go?  Do you really want them getting their insight about sexuality from their buddies?  What will they hear?  Do YOU want to create their realities about sex or do you want to leave that responsibility to someone else?

So, with that bright little intro, here are our family views when it comes to talking to children about sex.

1. Don't Panic:  Likely the first time this subject comes up there will be a mini, gasping heart attack that goes on inside you.  Don't let that insecurity win.  If you get all anxious and then over react, your kids will see that.  However, if you stay calm and treat the question like a perfectly normal query (which, in reality, it is) then your kids won't see you nearly hyperventilating and will likely feel comfortable coming to you again.  Remember that sex is wonderful and beautiful, try not to make it seem scary and forever forbidden and disgusting (if you can help it, after all they're kids).  Feel free to panic on the inside, just don't let it show too much.

2. Don't put them off:  If your kids are curious and interested, take the time RIGHT NOW to give them answers.  Try not to put them off with "we'll talk about it later's" because they may not be interested later.  If they are asking questions then they are presenting you with a gigantic opportunity to shape their visions on this topic.  Don't lose that chance.

Now, there may be times when it is not appropriate to discus the subject right at the moment (sitting in sacrament meeting, standing in a grocery aisle...both places our kids have actually broached this subject with me), and then you might need to say "I would be happy to talk to you about that, but can we do it in the car or when we get home?"  Just don't forget to come back and ask if they still want that question answered.  If they've lost interest, OK, you're off the hook for the moment, but if not, be ready to  share your insights.  

3. Start when they're little: For us, it started when the kids were quite young.  Because we had six children in just under 10 years our little ones were exposed to pregnancy very early on and they wondered about it.  We were faced with our first "where do babies come from" inquiry when Bryce was not quite three and then we had a decision to make.  Do we go with the lovely but misguided stork story, or do we go for reality.  We chose reality.

We've always been proponents of candid answers with our children, so we gave a quick answer about a mommy and daddy, a penis and a vagina and a baby.  The whole thing took maybe a minute at most.  That was plenty for the three year old.  We repeated the process with Aubrey a year or so later (which quickly resulted in young Aubrey saying something along the lines of, "Daddies have a penis, show them Dad!" to my parents...that was fun).

The point is, make it an open topic from the time your kids are tiny.  Don't make the subject of sex taboo.  This also takes LOTS of the pressure off of you because having had dozens of small discussions over the course of years, you aren't faced with a sudden "lets learn it all tonight" discussion when the unenlightened child gets older.

However, if your kids are already not so little anymore, don't despair, start NOW!  It may be uncomfortable...but that's normal.  Talking about sex with kids isn't supposed to be comfortable.  Don't let that stop you.

4. Don't go overboard:  Kids don't need all the gory details.  If they have questions, answer them simply and openly...and calmly (even if you are panicking inside which still happens to me almost every time).  Let the child be the guide of the conversation.  If he needs more information, he'll ask for it.  Keep the info age appropriate and uncomplicated (if you can).  If she starts to lose interest in what you're saying, let it go, but be ready in case she comes back to it later.

5. Get a book:  One of the best things we ever did was to purchase a book about the body.  This ----------------------------------------->
is the one we have.  It is great.  It is a pictorial encyclopedia of body parts from the skeletal system to the muscular systems to the reproductive system.  Children are better able to understand things when they can see what you are talking about.  This is great for "Mom, what's a uterus?"  or "Mom, what are sperm" type questions.  It's been a huge help over the years.  I'm sure there are dozens of these books out there.  We like pictures that are realistic without being explicit.  You have to decide what works for you and then go with it.

6. Don't give up: Last, but not least, be ready for failure.  There will be times when your conversations will crash and burn -- when your kids will look at you like you are nuts.  It is just the truth.  But, when that happens, pick yourself up and get ready for the next time.  There WILL be a next time.  You can do it.  

Anyway, enough.  There are so many chances to do this perfectly or to mess it up (and we all do some of both), but in reality the only failure is if you do nothing at all.  Sex is an incredible part of life, but it is a scary topic to most parents (including me).  Don't let that fear cripple your teaching on an intensely important and very intimate part of life.  Find what works for you, and go with it.  Just don't let yourself shove it under the rug because someone else will fill in the spaces you leave.

Plus, you end up with the most exciting, and hilarious, stories to tell.  Don't miss out.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Chatter

Sundays are usually low(er) key days at our house.  Without all the havoc of running kids to and from friends houses, sports practices, dance rehearsals, scouts, activity days, etc etc etc we tend to be a little less crazy on this beloved day.

But, hanging out together around the house (no friends on Sundays, just family time) sometimes brings out the odd.

So yesterday Ellie came strutting into the kitchen looking very thoughtful.  I asked her what she was thinking about and this is what she said.

Ellie: "Mom, I think we shouldn't punch our uncles in the nose...and also we shouldn't punch Jesus in the nose.  He is the Lord of the city, he would be mad."  Good advice for sure.

But the real winning chat of the day came later on.  I was brushing Ellie's hair when Gavin suddenly came into the bathroom asking about sex (what the heck, why can they never go to their father for this stuff!!).  He couldn't remember what sex was so since he was interested we had a quick refresher course (this is not a topic that is taboo in our house, if the kids have questions I want them to feel comfortable coming to me....although I think Josh should have to take a turn now and then!).

But then I decided to take it a step further and said, "Gav, remember sex is really special and we should not have sex until...."

"Until we get baptized!"  he finished enthusiastically.  I had to stop myself from bursting out laughing.  Yeah, I'm pretty sure we haven't taught that.

"No," I gently corrected, "We actually wait until after we're married."  That's better.

Fun times in the DeMoux home. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Role Reversal...or not

The other day I wrote a post about how Josh slept on the floor in our bedroom because our bed was wet (no, that wasn't anything to do with me) and he didn't want to sleep far away from me.  He is a real sweetheart.

I guess I'm not that nice.

The other morning, just after 6:00, I woke to our three year old tapping my face.  When my eyes opened I noticed that the ceiling was much closer to my nose than it normally is.  That's when I remembered I was sleeping on the top bunk in my daughter's room.  That's because my sweet husband was snoring up a storm during the night and I just couldn't handle it so I made the journey into Ellie's room for some peace and quiet. 

Josh is apparently the only romantic in this household.  Minus three points for his wife (but at least she got some sleep, and she didn't make him head out to the couch -- that should count for something).

Anyway, the whole thing left us both laughing.  Good thing the man upstairs assigned us matching sense of humors when he sent us down here.  Life is definitely full of adventure, even in the middle of the night.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lets Dance

Ellie: "I think you don't want to dance, I think you look weird."..........(feeling a little guilty) "Just kidding."

Dad: "You don't like my dancing?"

Good times.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentine's Recap

Valentine's Day is a fun day!
We like it at our house.
The kids normally wake up to their heart shaped box of chocolates and they love that.  It is good to remind them that they are loved and that even if they make us crazy sometimes we still adore them.
A couple other things we had going on that day.  I spent some time the night before separating red and green M&M's.  I often buy seasonal candy on clearance because who really cares what color the stuff is, my kids are still happy to eat it.  But in this case I have learned over the years and the red and green bits can be split and then quickly become Valentine's and St. Patrick's appropriate treats so that's nice.

 I did the same thing with Kisses this year.  The red ones I used for a Valentine's craft and the green and gold ones will go for St. Patrick's fun (green you get, gold for the end of the rainbow...should be fun). 

Anyway, with my red kisses I made some roses for neighbors that we love.  My mom taught me to do this when I was young and they are super simple and still sorta cute.  Here's how (in case you need a quick thank you or birthday gift or something for someone special).
Using a hot glue gun dab a bit of glue on one kiss.

Then stick another kiss on the glue to end up with a sort of diamond shape like this.

Insert a wooden skewer into the melded kisses.  This is the stem of your rose.
Now take some colored tissue paper or colored cellophane and cut about a 4 inch by 4 inch square.  Wrap that square around your kisses, pinching it together at the bottom.  Don't worry about it looking perfect, the crinkles and folds add to the completed look.

Finally, use floral tape to wrap the bottom of the tissue paper and tightly wind it around the remainder of the stem.  Sometimes I add fake leaves to my stems, but since these ones were going to be planted into cupcakes we didn't do that.  A bouquet of these little sweethearts is simple, inexpensive and still fun.

Anyway, that's how we spent our Valentine's Day.  We had good friends over for lunch and tried to remind people that we care about them.  As an added bonus we gorged on candy and had some fun.  It was a pretty good day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Awwww shucks, I love you too

The other night I went to bed before Josh.  That happens almost every night; I am a much earlier to bed kind of creature than he is. 

The next morning I noticed that his side of the bed was not rumpled at all.  Sometimes Josh falls asleep for a while on the couch while watching tv, but normally he still wakes up and comes to bed long before morning. 

Turns out someone had spilled a whole heap of water on his side of the bed so when he came into the room he found the blankets and sheets pretty soaked.  He didn't exactly want to sleep on that, so he made himself a bed on the floor and slept there.

When he told me that I felt awful.  I don't want him to have to sleep on the floor, that is no fun.  I knew he would now have a backache and would be sore from that experience.  Poor guy.  I asked him why he didn't take his blankets and make a bed on the couch at least.

He said he thought about it, but he just didn't want to be that far away from me all night.

I knew I loved that guy for a reason. 

He's the best Valentine ever!!

(Happy And-A-Half Anniversary Joshua Kerr.)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Table Manners by Candle Light

In the center of our kitchen table there sits a display box full of various candles.
In the center of the box there is a tall, white candle that we use every single night at dinner.  This is our manners candle.  At the moment he isn't quite so tall, he is barely a little stump, but that's how the kids like him best.

You see, every night at dinner time we light the manners candle.  Then, in the course of the meal the candle stays lit as long as the kids use good table manners.  This includes things like keeping elbows off the table, not burping, asking politely to pass items, using forks not fingers to eat, chewing with your mouth closed (a real problem at our house...YUCK!!), keeping your napkin on your lap etc.
Since we have small people at our table, we give the kids three warnings.  On the third warning we blow the candle out.  No one wants to see the flame extinguished because when the candle burns completely down to where it won't light anymore the whole family gets to go out for ice cream (usually just brown toppers from our local Arctic Circle, but the kids still get pretty excited about it). 
This is one of my favorite ideas ever.  The only drawback is that once the kids have been awful and the candle has been blown out there is not a lot of incentive for them to start behaving because the flame is already gone.  However, that VERY rarely happens and our kids have picked up some better habits at the table in the process.  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Aubrey has been saving her allowance and holiday money for quite a while now.  Yesterday, she begged me to take her to the store so she could make her desired purchase.  So, when Josh got home from work he drove her over to the store...
and she came home with a rodent.

That's right, Aubrey is now the proud owner of a little grey hamster named Humphrey.
I don't usually allow vermin in the house, but I do love the chance to let the kids learn some responsibility and I remember how much I loved pets growing up so there you go.  My mother put up with the birds I kept as pets and they are ridiculously messy.  If she can manage that then surely Aubrey's investment in this critter can't be too bad.  At least this creature won't shed feathers. 
I actually don't hate the tiny guy, he is a fairly sweet little thing.  Aubrey is thrilled beyond measure and Humphrey has quickly become a bit of a celebrity around the house.  I'm glad Aubs worked so hard to save her money and will have the chance to care for a living creature on her own. 
Hamsters, fun for the whole family! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Jane Austen gets her next 15 minutes of fame

In general, I am not a reader of romance novels.  I just prefer other genres (except during soccer season).  However, I happen to be a HUGE Jane Austen fan.  I mean, really, what romantic at heart isn't.  Her works are fluid and beautiful (except Lady Susan, but no one ever seems to count that one anyway) layered with passion and yearning and despair and hope.  I love the depth and spirit of her characters, and she does it all in simple stories without too much distracting fluff.  I just adore them.

My daughter happens to be a fan of love stories as well, but she is not quite ready to graduate into the dreamy prose of Ms. Austen just yet, so she curbs her hunger by reading cute little love stories and watching romantic musicals (she has recently discovered a love of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers").

Anyway, the point is that lately I've had the chance to read a few cute love stories patterned after the works of Ms. Austen and geared to young teens that I would happily hand over to my daughter.  I guess these tales are en vogue at the moment or something.  The books I'm talking about are clean and sweet and will easily satiate the appetite of any young romantic.

First, there is an adorable author named Jenni James who has published several stories in this arena of late.  The first was "Pride and Popularity" which, I'll be honest, I haven't read.  However, I have read the second book in her project, "Northanger Alibi."  This one was intriguing to me because Jane Austen's original work, "Northanger Abby" was a parody on popular Gothic novels of the time so Jenni James' parody on a parody was a fun interpretation.  "Northanger Alibi" is a bit of a spoof on the "Twilight" obsession that has made the rounds (I actually really did like "Twilight" but I also love all the spoofs) and it gets pretty funny sometimes.  This book was definitely geared toward a youngish audience so it had a very teen tone, but was still fun.

However, James next book in her set, "Persuaded" was really adorable.  It is still a play on an Austen classic, but this one worked fabulously as a clean, teen love story.  It was heartfelt and endearing and since "Persuasion" is one of my favorite Austen pieces (oh the torment of a tortured soul who cannot hope for love and happiness because it was regretably thrown out even when it was deeply desired) it was great to revisit it with some modern sparkle. "Persuaded" was really cute and very entertaining with a bit more depth than "Northanger Alibi." 

James does have a a fourth book, "Emmalee," out but I haven't sampled that one yet so I can't say much about it.

However, Jennie James doesn't seem to be the only author with Jane Austen envy working to modernize her stories.  I also recently read "Turning Pages" by Tristi Pinkston. This book seemed to take snippets of several Austen novels and stitched them together into a cohesive love story.  It was also set in a library which is a fabulous setting if ever I've seen one.  This was a quick read, I breezed through this book in a day.  It was a sweet little tale wish spunky, likeable characters.  I enjoyed it.

I had no idea Jane Austen was coming back into style.  I'm not sure another author can ever really reach the classic, bone searing beauty of her books, but these modern twists made for an entertaining dabble into the world of youth literature (which is a world that I love to dabble in anyway!!).

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