Tag Archives | birds-and-bees

Physical Education?

The other day I was just out of the shower but not yet dressed when Caleb walked into my room with some pressing question about legos, or about some injustice perpetuated by his older brother.  I decided not to call attention to my general nekkid state by telling him to wait until I grabbed a towel, so I just kept getting dressed.

I remembered our conversation when I read Mamabirddiaries today, about parents being naked in front of their kids. We’re not big naked folks around here, although the uniform of most of the boys in this house seems to be shirt, socks, underpants.  Trousers get dropped more or less at the door.

Anyway, so the other day, Caleb nattered on about whatever was on his mind while I got dressed and then he stopped talking, looked at me.

Looked up, looked down.

“Mommy,” he said, “how come little girls have penises but big ladies don’t?”


“Little girls don’t have penises, just little boys. Little girls have vaginas, just like ladies.”

Caleb tilts his head, thinks a bit.

“Nah,” he says. “M.  in my class has a penis. And she’s a girl.”


“Um, how do you know that?”

Shrug. “I just figured that everyone had a penis except ladies. Like you. Penises are good because you can pee standing up.”


Continue Reading · on May 11, 2011 in Children, Gender, growing up, sex

mamma what’s this bit for?

Caleb, in the bathtub, stands up and fondles his scrotum: Mommy? What’s this?

Me: um…your scrotum

Caleb: I know DAT. I mean, what’s this like marble thing inside it. Dere’s two a dem.

Me: Yes. those are your testicles. (Please don’t ask please don’t ask)—

Caleb: What are dey for?

Me: those are where your sperms comes from (please don’t ask please don’t–

Caleb: what’s sperm?

Me: sperm is what helps makes babies …okay, so now are you ready for me to wash your hair–

Caleb: how? how da sperm makes babies?

Me (inspired by the football on tv, decide to do a total end run around the question): um, well, the mommy has the eggs and the mommy and daddy decide to make a baby. So! okay, let’s finish your bath and then you can watch the new episode of “Clone Wars.”

Caleb: Eggs? 

Me (head on the side of the bathtub to hide my laughter):  Um, right, eggs. But not like eggs at the farmer’s market. These are teeny, tiny, so small you need a microscope. Sperm, too. Tiny.

Caleb: so how does it work to make a baby?

Me (clutching at straws): Well. What do you think happens?

Caleb, waving his hands dismissively: I don’t know? It goes in the air and into da mommy’s tummy by her mouth?

Me (head rolling on the bathtub, snorting): Sure. And then from that teeny tiny speck comes a baby, like you were. And now look at you! You’re a big boy.

Caleb: With testy tickles.


Continue Reading · on January 24, 2011 in Children, growing up, Kids, Parenting

The Question

IMG_3534.JPGI knew it was coming. There’d been some observations, a comment or two…things were definitely percolating in his almost-nine-year old head. In preparation, I  had gotten a book or two from the library, asked friends how they’d handled it.  I wanted to be ready – but then, just like death after a long illness, when it actually happened I wasn’t really ready at all.

There we were, at the dermatologist’s office, having her look at some skin discolorations on Liam’s face, and while she was checking something in her computer, Liam popped the question, with no introductory remarks, no prefatory throat clearing, just jumped in:

So how does a woman get a baby inside her?

I saw the doctor’s head swivel towards me, then back to her computer, and it occurred to me that I could just punt: ask her to answer the question.  She is, after all the medical professional, and maybe she could even pull out a few charts and an anatomically correct mannequin.

But no, no, that wouldn’t do.  We’re supposed to, you know, be all patient and wise about this stuff, right?  I’m not supposed to let on that the very thought of my child–that sweet little body–getting all sexed up makes me want to cringe–and collapse in wild laughter. So I just said that when we were somewhere more private, I’d be glad to answer that question and we went on with the dermatologist visit.  And I can’t swear to it, but I swear I heard the doctor chuckling as she left the examination room.

A week or so passed and I thought maybe The Question had gotten buried under homework and soccer practice and what-to-be-for-Halloween, but then one night when Liam was in the bath:

So mom, remember that question I asked you at the doctor’s office?

I nod, knowing what’s coming.

L: What’s the answer?

I feint: “well, what do you know? What have you heard about how this happens?”

Liam: Nothing. I mean, basically nothing.

Me, following the instructions I read about in a really useful book called From Diapers to Dating (thanks, Carolyn, for the suggestion): so you want to know how a woman gets a baby inside her?

Liam: Well, I mean, once a woman has a baby, why would she have another one?

Fabulous, I think. We’re not dealing with actual SEX here, we’re just dealing with sibling rivalry. Piece o’cake.  I mouth a few platitudes about people liking to have a big family, and about how having a sibling can mean that you’ve always got someone to play with, even if they’re sometimes aggravating, and so you don’t have to be lonely–
Liam: So that’s why anyone who is an only child has a gameboy, right? 

I nod, sure that I’ve dodged the sex-talk bullet.  But there is more to come, my friends, more to come.  It was a very long bath.

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Continue Reading · on October 28, 2009 in Children, Kids

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