Friday, August 28, 2009

The Birds and the Bees

The other day I did something really stupid. I decided to take the boy – a curious nine year old – with me to my prenatal appointment. I figured since we’re mostly in the weighing and measuring the belly phase, it might be interesting for him to hear the baby’s heartbeat and check out all the pictures of new babies on the midwife’s walls. Big mistake. Did I mention he’s Mr. Curious?

So, as soon as we leave, we’re driving home and he asks – yep, you guessed it – how babies are made.

Doh! Why is it that even though every parent knows this is coming none of us are truly prepared to answer that question? I’d like to think I’ve been pretty open with the boy, and he has a basic knowledge of male and female anatomy and the fact that a stork does not, in fact, bring babies. But this time he wanted the whole story. He started asking detailed questions about how a woman could try to have a baby, how long you have to try, where the eggs come from, how many a woman has, where, exactly, in the body they go, how twins are made, etc.

I think I did a pretty good job explaining the scientific side of things, considering I was navigating the freeway at the time and didn’t have google handy. And he seemed pretty satisfied. He was quiet for a minute. Then the dreaded question…

“But how, exactly, does the sperm get from the man’s body to the woman’s?”

I’m really glad he was in the back seat so he didn’t see how red my face turned.

“Um, well, they have sex.” (For some reason that last word came out of me in a church-like whisper. I write romance. You’d think I could handle saying the word out loud. Apparently, not so much when in front of my kid.)

“Right. Kissing and stuff. But I don’t get how kissing makes the sperm come out.”

Oh boy. So, with beet-red cheeks, I launch into an explanation of the “and stuff” that goes along with the kissing part.

His response: “Whoa. Hold on. You mean the guy and girl, like, fuse together? Like conjoined twins or something?”

Me: “Uh… kinda? Not exactly… I mean, you’re not really stuck together so much as… well, it’s complicated…”
(Why on earth didn’t I buy him a book with nice little cartoon pictures like my mother did? I never until this moment realized how wise she was.)

Him: "Weird. I don’t get why anyone would want to do that."

You have no idea how glad I was to hear him say that. I did a big sigh of relief, thinking I had done my Mom duty, The Talk was over, we had both survived. (And I was pretty sure I deserved some Ben & Jerry’s for that!)

But no. It couldn’t be that easy.

I pull the car into our driveway, we get out, start walking up the front steps.
And The boy actually stops in his tracks. He glances down at my big belly. A look of total and complete horror comes over his face.

“Ohmigod! That means you had sex!!”

“Uh… kinda?”
And I’m ashamed to say that at that point I actually ran – yes, ran – into the house. Then ordered him a book from Amazon with lots of cartoon pictures.

Why do I have the feeling he’ll be playing this moment out in therapy for years to come?

~Trigger Happy Halliday


Lucy said...

OMG that's hysterical Gemma. LOL

I remember when my sister told my niece about the birds and the bees. The part that really grossed her out was the "they both get naked" because who wants to see that? LOL

Emmanuelle said...

My son will be 9 soon and I know he'll have some big questions to ask sometime soon... please give me a good book recomendation !!!
Very funny blog, though I sympathise of course...

Jenyfer Matthews said...


My daughter just turned nine this summer and that time will be coming for me soon too, I know. A few months ago she was asking me about belly buttons and how did the doctor cut my belly to get her out. I explained that the doctor did not cut my belly and what had actually happened and her jaw nearly hit the floor. She didn't ask me any more questions though.

Not yet anyway - and I bought her a book this summer :)

CheekyGirl said...


Gemma Halliday said...

9 must be the magical age of questions.

By the way... The Boy hasn't looked at The Man the same way since our little talk. He kinda has a perpetually grossed out look on his face. Lol!


MsHellion said...


I love it! HILARIOUS.

By the way, I got the cartoon book and I did NOT appreciate it. But then I was like 14 at the time and already knew the main points anyway.

catslady said...

I had two girls so maybe that's easier. They both had classes in school around that age which made them ask more questions. Ihad always been pretty open about everything and talked about things as they were growing up. The only question I didn't answer at that age was how the act itself worked. That one missing link lol. I figured we'd save that one for when they were a little bit older. Of course neither one ever asked me that question again lol.

Estella said...

Too funny, Gemma!

Shel said...

Thanks for the laugh, Gemma. Makes me glad I have no kids!

Christie Craig said...


Oh my gawd!! Too funny girl. I'll never forget giving my son the talk and he looked at me so seriously and asked. "How many times? How many times have you and dad done this?"