Once upon a time, in a land far away and in a time not all that distant, I had the first in what I knew would be a series of talks with my children. Really, with my daughter. Monkey was, as you might recall, more interested in playing with his Legos than in discussing the miracle of life.
When I wrote that post, I found it being discussed on another site, and someone had taken a lot of time to write a long, angry comment about how I had “flat-out lied” to my children and my response to the situation was completely lacking. I think I left a comment on that discussion pointing out that I try to gauge what my kids are ready to digest, each time we talk, and that I am not going to outlay more than they’re ready to hear in the interest of being 100% factual right this second. (Not that my explanation mattered; some people aren’t interested in having their opinions cluttered up with reality.)
Anyway. Just as I had predicted, the day for more information came.
You know what is really superfantastic? When my child decides that the right time to have a discussion about human anatomy and reproduction is in the bread aisle at Kroger. That’s awesomeness in action.
So basically, I was trying to select a package of bagels. My thought process was going like this: “Ohhh, those cinnamon raisin ones look good. Chickadee would love those. But Monkey won’t eat them because of the raisins. Do they have ones that are cinnamon without raisins? No, only in the little ones. Oh well. How about honey oatmeal? Okay, we’ll get those.”
Meanwhile, Chickadee was wrestling with important concepts. Bagels? Pffft. She scoffs at bagels. She’s 9, dude. She has deeper matters to attend to.
“Mom!” I grabbed a package of bagels and stood back up from where I’d been crouching down. (Why are the bagels on the BOTTOM shelf? People like bagels. They should put the crumpets and the flatbreads down there. Bagels should be at stomach height at least. Reason #521 why I hate Kroger, people.) “After you have a baby, do they just keep coming?”
I considered this while tossing the bagels into the cart. Monkey was halfway down the aisle from us, admiring the Wonder bread. (I don’t buy white bread. Ever. He was probably wondering what the Wonder WAS.) (Thank you. I’ll be here all week.) I wasn’t sure what she was asking, but my MomSense told me it wasn’t anything good. “Do WHAT just keep coming, honey?”
“Babies. MORE babies.” She huffed at my obvious confusion. “You know, after you have one, do you just keep having them after that?”
“Well…” I still wasn’t sure what she meant, but I took a stab. “Not really, honey, no. If you don’t want to have a baby, there’s ways to make sure you don’t. I mean, there’s ways to keep from getting pregnant.” Yes, I want to discuss birth control methods at Kroger. I am a lucky, lucky lady. Maybe we could work our way back over to produce and then I’d have PROPS to use!
Again, an annoyed sigh. “No! Mom!” Now she came around the cart, right up close to me, doubtless to speak more slowly so that my addled, ancient brain might grasp her message. “I mean, once you… you know… do that THING you told us about… once you do THAT, do the babies just keep coming afterwards?”
Suddenly, I got it. The helpful voice in my head shrieked: DO NOT LAUGH DO NOT LAUGH!
“Um, honey?” I gestured to Monkey that we were continuing down the aisle and he should follow. I grabbed the cart handle with one hand and put the other arm around Chickadee. “Sweetie, are you asking me if you only have to have sex once, EVER, and then you get to have as many babies as you want?”
Relief flooded her little face as she nodded. Well, I’d soon take care of THAT.
“Oh, well. Um. No, honey. You have to fertilize the egg each time, you know. And you don’t always get pregnant every time you have sex, either. So you need to have sex AT LEAST once to make EACH baby.”
Understanding dawned in her eyes and I found myself longing for five minutes ago when I’d thought we’d be talking IUDs over by the juice boxes. That could’ve been a great conversation. Condoms would’ve been a cakewalk compared to this.
“Sooo…” the horror hadn’t left her, but she had to know the truth, and in spite of herself, she had to ask, “people do… THAT THING… more than once?”
Oh dear God. Ever since our last conversation about this, my daughter has been walking around under the impression that you only ever have to do THAT THING once in your entire life. And only if you want to have kids.
“Yes, honey. People do that… well, a lot. Sometimes people do it when they’re not even trying to make a baby.” She gaped at me.
(Inner voice: DO NOT LAUGH DO NOT LAUGH!!!)
“Well, because it’s fun. Because it’s a way that grown-up people who love each other a lot share something special.” We turned down the cereal aisle. I wondered what might get me off the hook here. Froot Loops? Maybe an offer of Cookie Crisp? No, that’d be too suspicious.
“It’s FUN?” Her look told me I could not have insulted her more thoroughly unless, perhaps, I’d told her she was a retarded goat. “That can’t be fun. That’s GROSS.”
“Yes, well,” I tried to sound breezy, “YOU are supposed to think it’s gross. All kids are. It’s a grown-up thing, and you’re not supposed to understand it all right now. Okay?”
“Okay,” she said, scanning the cereal boxes. “Whatever.”
And that “whatever” was sweet music to my ears, because I had been SURE the next question was going to be “Do you and Otto DO THAT?” and I just really feel that they are going to need to open the new Publix before I can answer that one appropriately.
WTG, Mir. You handled it beautifully, especially the DO NOT LAUGH DO NOT LAUGH mantra! Because I would have at least snorted a bit.
I am not looking forward to having THE TALK about THAT THING with my daughter. Fortunately, I only have one daughter, and she’s only four. The boys are my husband’s responsibility in THAT department.
I think you handled it well, I hope I can do the same when it’s my turn. In 48 years.
I got to explain this to my nine-year-old during an interminable wait in a crowded emergency room (on his birthday, waiting for stitches). At least you could change aisles in Kroger…….
LMAO – I can laugh now…my son is 6 and my daughter is 3…eventually, though, i will be having to explain this, and I will remember the “DO NOT LAUGH” mantra when I do! At least she didn’t think you got pregnant from french kissing!
OMGosh! I can’t breathe! “THAT THING” That’s what we’ll be calling it in our house from now on!
THANK YOU for telling Chickadee grown ups DO IT because it’s fun!!!
I can’t tell you how many of my friends and family were horrified that I had told my 2 daughters sex was fun!!!!
OK, by next March I will be Grandma to 3 kiddies under the age of 2…………..I guess my girls were listening to the ‘sex is fun’ part!!!
First of all, I thought you handled that last conversation PERFECTLY! That’s one of my all time favorite posts in fact. I think I may even have printed it out for future reference.
Thank God we’ve only had a few tentative forays into this territory thus far that I’ve been able to sidestep with truthful answers that don’t really answer the question. Like, “Mommy, how do babies get out of your tummy?” “Well, Bubba, mommy had a c-section so the doctor cut you out.” Thank GOD for c-sections!! :)
chickadee is absolutely priceless… THAT THING. omg. the DO NOT LAUGH mantra is not working on me this morning. i just snorted coffee all over my laptop.
I have only done it ONCE. I swear.
You handled that SO well! :)
Too funny. I remember once my friends and I counted up how many kids in all our families. “Let’s see, you have 4 kids in your family, so your parents did that 4 times.” We couldn’t imagine it any other way. It sounded like something you made yourself do only if you wanted kids. Then you were done with that awful act forever.
The grocery store is very public, but at least you weren’t on an airplane or a crowded subway.
I’m still trying to figure out exactly HOW you lied in the previous post. Hmmmmm..I even read it to my husband back then because I thought it was, well…funny, but also an interesting conversation in how you handled it with both your children, different ages, present. I can’t imagine how they would have handled it: Hauled out their anatomically correct paper dolls and simulate it or what? (Ugh, gross.) Some things need to be age-appropriate.
And…if you find cinnamon bagels without raisins, be sure to let me know. I’ve been looking for those forever!
Aww. You’re a good mom. Would you please come pick up my 4-year-old and take him to Safeway for “the talk”? He’s been asking. Thanks.
I’m crying…laughing. OMG.
My kids will undoubtedly grill me on this subject matter at Dahl’s (our grocery store) or possibly in the lobby of the school as well, I’m sure. Oy vey.
I’m darn happy I have two boys…I’m passing that rite of passage right on to Daddy.
That said, you handled that very well.
Oh, and not to make you impatient or anything…but Publix carries Thomas cinnamon swirl bagels. No raisins.
Our girl was starting 4th grade when I knew that they would start the discussion of periods and such. I’ve been pretty open with her about what a woman’s body does monthly, but I hadn’t had the sex talk with her yet, mainly because I didn’t think it was time yet. I mean, she gets completely grossed out when her dad and I even kiss, so that tells me that sex hasn’t entered her mind as of yet, especially since we don’t have tv and she’s not confronted with it 92 times a day. (Yes, we’ve moved out of the cave, but we’re still working on that wheel thing…)
Being the good mom that I am, I had the proper discussion with her, because really, I didn’t want her hearing some off the wall thing from her friends and taking THAT to heart. So after our discussion about sex, I gave her a free for all to ask all sorts of questions. She looked at me and said, “Mom, I’m just not ready for all this.” And then she preceeded to ask if she could play her Gameboy.
Next on the agenda: Santa. I’m sure that’s gonna go over really well.
Your kids should cherish their innocence! Mine know all too well the meaning of “special Mommy and Daddy time.” (cue the Princess Bride quote, “This word…”)
In fact my son recently asked, when told that it was “that time” and we would be temporarily unavailable, “Are you guys gonna do it in the living room?”
Sigh. Note to self: shift more money to future kids’ therapy fund.
OMG this is to funny. Just last night as I was trying to eat dinner my boy who is 5 asked me where babies came from. I think I choked a bit. I told him that they came from thier mommies. He was cool with that. Hey at 5 that’s all he needs to know in my book. LOL
Wouldn’t it have been eerie if that conversation took place in the pasta aisle?
Wow — some people have NERVE, huh? I remember that post, too; and I, too, read it to my husband because I thought it was funny AND that you handled it very well. No lying that I recall.
As for the latest, the “do not laugh” mantra is the best, and again, I think you handled it beautifully. And Chickie’s reaction is priceless. I remember thinking when I found out that you had to do THAT THING to have a baby, that meant my parents had done it THREE TIMES! EW!
For the person above with boys, I just wanted to say that you CANNOT assume your husband will handle the talk. My hubby and I sat down with our oldest boy a couple of years ago, but (as I’ve written) my husband completely freaked out, so it looks like I’ll be spreading the news to my other 2 boys as well.
I won’t leave out wet dreams this time, though!
ROFL – Curly Girl always asks me questions like this at inappropriate times, so I can really relate!! FYI, I love the book “It’s So Amazing” and just recently used it to guide my “talk” with Curly Girl. Loved the diagrams, the text, the cute little commentary that flies back and forth between the bird and bee characters they incorporate into the book for (necessary) comic relief. Just a great resource from our POV.
Except that just last night (was there a full moon or something?), Curly Girl casually asked me “So mom, how often DO you and daddy HAVE sexual intercourse, anyway?” ACK!!! Apparently she wants a new little brother or sister and wants to make sure we’re “doing our part” to make that dream a reality. So needless to say, we had a little conversation about boundaries and such…
I thought she meant do they just keep shooting out when you give birth. You know like a gumball machine.
I am never going to make it. My children are going to have to learn about the birds and the bees from the kids at school, they way God intended.
oh boy. thank goodness i have a few years before dealing with that one.
Heh heh heh. You and I are on the same page here. I wrote a short story here in the comments and then thought, screw it, I’ll write a post about it. I’m gonna go do that now. Come check it out…it’ll be a vision of things yet to come.
OMFG! I’m being looked at very strangely right now, b/c
You handled it beautifully – will you come do the talk for me when my boy gets old enough??
And Wendy – *SNORT**Guffaw* Gumball machine- OY! What a visual !!
You are my hero! Can I send my daughter (now 4 1/2) to you when the appropriate time comes?
PROPS. ELL OH ELL!!!!!!!!!!
You know I swear to gawd that my parents NEVER had these conversations with me…ever.
I need to print this out and save it for when I have children.
Do you happen to have the “Where do babies come from” conversation anymore?
Nobody tells it like you. :) I just went back and read the first conversation and it is PRICELESS.
My daughter is 14, so I can offer something helpful for the future. When she got her first period (12), she was devastated and excited all at once. Dad, however, was just clueless. What he did has gone down in the family books and I recommend it for all dads of girls.
That night he came home from work with a box of chocolates (Whitman samplers) and a card. He wrote in the card that, according to mommy, all girls need chocolate when this event takes place, that he couldn’t empathize with what she was going through, but that he’d try to be understanding, and congratulations on becoming a woman. She laughed and cried and it strengthened the bond between daddy and daughter. And my love for my husband.
It sounds like you and Otto are in for a fun ride. :)
I liked the “produce isle, PROPS” part (ha!). My son came to my room the other night, frantic. He said, “Garfield (our large male cat) is trying to do “the naughty” with Boo (our five month old female cat)”. He said this with a little smirk on his face, like (I know what I’m talkin’ about – look at me talkin’ about this stuff). I just told him to put Garfield outside. I wanted to discuss with him why exactly he called it “the naughty”, but I left it alone. He needed this moment of pride over knowing something this BIG. I gave him his moment. We’ll discuss the “naughty” thing another day. I don’t want him to really associate sex with “naughty” – you know. Definately “naughty” in some ways – but not really.
You’re lucky you didn’t get to that last question, because when my kid did, it wasn’t just “so do you and Daddy do it?” it was the tail end of a “how long does it take to have sex” conversation we had while she was watching insects mating, and the final question was, “So how long does it take you and Daddy?”
That was about five years ago, and I STILL haven’t recovered.
When my daughter asked me that same question, she had the same reaction as Chickadee. Then she responded that she would “go to the airport to get babies like some mommies do.” She decided that international adoption is preferable to EVER doing That Thing. Thankfully, these conversations have only taken place in our home or vehicle. I have never graced the frozen food section in Kroger with sex ed.
So,who wants to start a poll on where you’ll be when she gets around to asking if you and Otto do THAT THING?
Yeah. So its got to be something about grocery stores that bring on the questions. Or in my case, just make me blurt out random informational tidbits. :) Our oldest son is 14, and for a couple of years now, every time we walk through the store together I just say random things related to “the talk”. Things like, “You do know that rule is :Condoms.. from the first time to the last time and every time in between:, right?” Or this one always grabs his attention–“You DO know that there are worse things than babies out there? Things that will make *it* shrivel and fall off?”
Its strange… but he remembers these random bits a lot more than he remembers any of the actual talk. :)
You did great! Not that you need affirmation from a random unknown like me, but I get SO happy when parents are open and honest with their children about sex, so I had to comment.
I am a health educator for adolescents, and with that territory comes sex ed galore. A lot of times I’m running workshops for parents about how to do just what you seem to have done naturally. Good job, once again.
You done good! Can I borrow you for my turn?
Oh, Man. I blew it again. When my daughter, 9, asked about THAT THING–in public and in front of her little sister this summer– by saying, “I don’t understand how the egg gets fertilized. Like, when you and Daddy kiss, do his germs go down your throat?” I was way too off balance to recover so I said, “We’ll have to talk about this later, honey. Remind me.”
And she never brought it up again. I guess maybe I need to sit down and have that talk.
I’m a terrible mother. Sigh.
Shortly after my second daughter (who was nine at the time) found out about how babies are made, she must have done a little calculation in her head taking into account her older sister, younger brother and her. Then she turned to me and in the most disgusted of voices exclaimed, “Oh my God! You and Daddy did it three times!!!”
Oh MY!! You handled that so well…Im scared. Every time I venture into that territory I always regret it…when my daughter asked how the baby would come out of my tummy, I decided I could tell her…”mommy has to push the baby out”. So the next opportunity she had, which happen to be at the dinner table with allllll of the inlaws, she proceeds to tell everyone that “mommy has a baby in her tummy, and when its time she’s gonna push REEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAALLL hard until the baby comes out”. Sounds tame, i know, but I was mortified….
Bwah-hahahaha! My son was at his sister’s birth… I’ll never forget it as long as I live. “Mommmmyyyyyy, why is it taking sooooo looooong?” I managed to reply “Yeah, I’d like to know too honey!”
I had a co-worker whose daughter asked her what “head” was – in the deli line at Stop and Shop. The really scary part was that she gave the wrong answer. Her husband had to straighten out the confusion.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO TELL ALL YOUR CHILDREN THAT ORAL SEX IS STILL SEX.
(off my soapbox now)
Awesome. You’ve no idea how relieved I am that my dog will never ask me these questions. If what the rescue shelter people told us is true, he already knows — or at least, he did.
Sounds like you handled it with much more aplomb than I could ever have mustered — DO NOT LAUGH DO NOT LAUGH!
Could you please come and explain the whole menstrual cycle thing to my 3 year old now? He busted in on me this morning and is completely OBSESSED with the box of “lady things” (tampons) in the bathroom.
Hilarious. I am so not looking forward to the day I have to have this sort of conversation in the bread aisle of Kroger.
LOL – I would have died right there in the bread aisle…
We have had conversations in our home that I never thought possible. You know, it’s one of those truth-stranger-than-fiction kinda things that you have to actually experience to believe.
Example: My 11yo son was lying in bed one night, and he was complaining that his unusually long eyelashes were tucked INTO his eyes (once again). I told him that I’d just seen a special on t.v. about dogs, and that sharpeis actually have to have surgery to correct that from happening — otherwise, they eventually go blind. Then, JOKINGLY (but with a straight face, of course), I said, “Did I ever tell you you’re half sharpei?”
A look of horror washed over his face. “REALLY?”
Once I stopped laughing hysterically, I said, “Don’t you remember our talk about sex, sweetie?”
I said, “Do you really think I had sex with a sharpei?”
Those are ten little words that, somehow, I never envisioned leaving my lips. Especially directed at my child.
Wow, I bow down to your genius. I don’t think I would have handled that half as well, but then my daughter is only 1 so I have a few years yet to get my story straight.
I for one think that “you done good” with the “talk” now and then. You are a natural. ;)
I taught sex ed to 6th graders, but I can’t top the post or the comments. Well done, Mir and followers.
ROFLMAO Better you than me!
*collapses into laughter* Props!!
Oh lord people, I am in tears! I don’t know what is funnier, the post or the comments! I have to add two things to my list of things to be grateful for: 1) we live on a farm, so my boys know ALL about where babies come from. I only have to embellish and romanticise. 2) no girls. Is that a blessing? Maybe not?
I can’t imagine ranting on another blog about something somebody said to their kid…about ANYTHING. Ridiculous and obviously somebody who doesn’t get it enough.
You handled it with aplomp, poise, and grace.
Last year when my then 9 yr. old son was asking questions, i thought to myself “Well, that is a FATHERS job. Hallelujah”. so i told my husband, who i do, in fact love dearly, in spite of the fact that he is clearly an idiot to go ahead and have The Talk. later i found out that my husbands Talk consisted of “Why are you asking?!? you are to young to be curious!!” and also “All you need to know is to make sure you tell me if you kiss a girl because it will make you sick!!!”. as i see it, THOSE are outright lies. well, depending on the girl, i guess. what you said was very truthful and honest. When is the lobotomy scheduled?
I think you handled both conversations quite well. My niece said, “Mommy, you are a white girl.” and got a conversation about race. Turns out she was talking about the shirt Carson was wearing. I think the least amount of truthful information is appropriate. The kids will let you know if it is not suficient.
My two 9 year old step daughters are going to an 11 year old girl’s slumber party this weekend. I must admit to being on a code yellow status for questions the days following. I’m hoping they ask ther bio mom.
Once again, reading and taking notes and bowing in your general direction. Though I think our conversation with MG will be slightly different. (You know, one doesn’t *have* to do That Thing every time to get a baby…)
What you said, both times, sounded perfectly reasonable to me, and age-appropriate. What the hell else are you meant to do?!
Everyone has to strike their own balance between “first the man’s penis has to become erect, which means he’s sufficiently sexually aroused and the blood has made his penis stiff, so it’s ready to shoot forth life-giving semen, then he places it in the woman’s vagina, often ‘accidentally’ aiming for the wrong spot first, and then they rub back and forth together and try not to sweat on each other, and she thinks about how awful her breasts look from that angle while he thinks ‘Tits. Cool.’ and then orgasm happens, usually for the man first unless she’s had an orgasm during foreplay which can often be best because afterwards all he’ll want to do is sleep, and then the semen travels out of the man’s penis and into the woman and it’s all very special and magical and can only be done by TWO PEOPLE WHO LOVE EACH OTHER VERY VERY MUCH,” and
“Oh, honey, the cute little fairies bring the cute little babies down from heaven, riding on a unicorn named Starlight!”
Mir, you rock and I wanna be you when I grow up. Without, y’know, stealing your husband.
My oldest is only 7 and I’ve only had to tell him the basics, which I’m very thankful about. I haven’t lied, but I’ve given him the broad outline rather than every tiny little detail, and he knows that he can ask more any time.
If you try telling them every detail when they’re 5, they’ll tune out after the first sentence and who knows HOW they’ll remember it! You did it just right, Mir.
When I saw Chickie’s question, all I could picture was something Chris had said in her blog once, about the babies shooting out like icecubes from a freshly-unjammed icemaker.
We had to have yet another discussion about sex at the county fair of all places. It turns out that my kids understood everything I told them about humans and eggs and things, but once they saw the chicken eggs at the fair, they were confused again and I needed to go over the differences in chicken vs human reproduction. I never thought that was going to be part of the parent job description! The best part was my son loudly talking about how I still have eggs even though I don’t have one ovary or a uterus. People gave us funny looks that he would just be spouting off those facts!
Our Children learned the way they’re supposed to – from watching salmon spawn. I knew we were doing something right though when Child 3 was telling me how much it loooooved its stuffed tiger – LOVED it. It would ALWAYS sleep with its tiger even – and it looked me seriously in the eye – even when it was OLD and MARRIED. What, I asked, would its future wife think of this? No problem it replied, we’ll just put on a video for Mr Tiger like you and Daddy do. Thanks Child.
Your kids give new meaning to the phrase, “Let’s go Krogering!” (Kroger’s old tag line)
Since I got pregnant through insemination and had a c-section with my oldest, when at the age of four he asked where he came from, I told him the facts as they pertained to him. I also tried to explain the more traditional methods of conception and birth, but he was just not interested since it had nothing to do with him. A little while later he asked me how wild animal reproduce, since there’s no vet to perform an insemination.
I thought since insemination is less personal than sex, it would be easier to talk about and for me it was, but this spring I went to a workshop for mothers of insemination-conceived kids and most of them with kids older than my oldest (he’s 6) hadn’t even broached the topic. I guess it’s always going to be touchy.
My youngest is not quite 18 months and so far her only comment on the topic has been to scatter the contents of a box of tampons all over the bathroom floor, then bring me one and say “Nummy!” I think the wrapper made her think she’d discovered a secret trove of food.
That was AWESOME.
Also, somehow I never read the original post so I have to add now that this?
“â€œYes, it has a string, so you can take it out later.â€ Also so that, if you have a slender neck, you can hang yourself with it after The Tampon Talk.”
Funniest thing I have read in ages.
You gotta love the web where the personal becomes fodder.
It was in the cereal aisle at Publix when Lil Daughter asked in conversational tones in front of two little old ladies, “Mommy, how does the sperm GET from the penis into the vagina?” She was 4 and still little enough to be sitting in the baby seat in the buggy. That was the day I learned the true meaning of hyperventilate. Don’t ask me the answer. I truly do not remember what I said.
I was just weeks away from delivering my son, and my daughter, who was 3 at the time, was sleeping in the back seat of the car. She woke up, and asked me, very seriously, “how is the new baby going to get out, Mama?” Oh the terror, how can I tell my 3 year old about child birth?? So I said the first thing that came to my mind, a very simple answer, but highly satisfying to a 3 year old: Well, I’ll go to the hospital and the doctor will help take the baby out” She was PERFECTLY satisfied with that answer and I learned an important lesson: somtimes less is more, especially when dealing with kids.
Too too funny! I wonder if she thought you did it once, had a baby, and then what? called up the stork and let him know you were ready for another?
Great answers! Plus I would not have been able to keep from laughing.
Remind her of that disgust when she’s a teenager ;) The embarrassment alone of the memory ought to be sufficient birth control!