We had our first sex talk a couple of months ago since I knew the kids would have a lot of unsupervised time with cousins (and doesn't that always seem to be when erroneous information gets passed along in a hush-hush kind of way? BTW cousin Cindy, you can sleep with your bra on and not die because your circulation has been cut off by your bra band. Thanks for that little tidbit that had me jolting awake from naps as an early teenager.) I probably jumped the gun a little since their cousins aren't that much older than they are, but you never know what other kids are blabbing about on the playground.
Today, the monkey barged in on me in the bathroom (someday, we might have two bathrooms. Or a lock.) She was really upset that I was menstruating. I tried to explain that it wasn't a big deal and I wasn't in pain (although I really was, but didn't think that would help matters). Luckily, I had picked up a book at the library that has models of all the systems of the body. A quick explanation of the reproductive system, the uterus, with pictures, and we were on our way to story time (she's had several talks about eggs and fertilization). She even said "maybe next month we'll get a baby."
The book we had on hand was The Visual Dictionary of the Human Body. And I got some great ideas and courage from the Values Parenting website. They are the folks who do Joyschool, so if you have a membership, you have even more information available. Their free information is a good place to start, though.
Raising girls is kind of tough. They are smart and funny, sensitive, kind, beautiful, and full of so much potential. Helping them understand sex and sexuality is just a little part. But it's scary to think that these first chats are what opens (or shuts) the door to future conversations.