Having “the talk”

            As a good, liberated, twenty-first century parent, I am dedicated to being honest with my children.  I answer their questions fully, providing just as much information as necessary without telling them more than they need to know.

            “Mommy,” he asked again.  “How does the baby get in your belly?”  The fact that we were returning to this question indicated to me that I had not answered it adequately last month.

            “When a daddy and a mommy love each other very much, he puts the baby in her belly.”

            “But, Mommy.  How does he put the baby in there?”

            The answer to this one I am sure I had read in a magazine in some waiting room once upon a time.  “The daddy gives the mommy a very special hug,” because really, there is no need to discuss alternative positions with a child who is just turning four.

            A persistent child who is just turning four, it would seem.  “But, Mommy.  How do you do the special hug?”  Believe it or not, at this point I was getting a little too flustered to focus on wiping down the counters.

            “It’s a special hug only grown-ups know how to do.  When you are older, you’ll learn how to do it, too.”  Like when you are twenty-five.

            How much you wanna bet we’ll be returning to this line of questioning again?  Maybe next time he’ll ask his father.

24 responses to “Having “the talk”

  1. I’m still on “God gave it to us”

    I’m not ready to get into “ewwww gross” conversation. Thankfully my 9 year is going to be a late developer like her mom.


  2. Ah. That’s why Alaska was so good for parenting. That Talk was simply – you know about salmon? Child nods wisely. Well, people do that on the inside. Granted we took my quite conservative mother out fishing not much later and that particular Child, pulling a salmon on shore, said loudly, “ew! It spermed on me!”

  3. Oh yeah – sounds like he’ll be back. Post how this turns out, k? When I was preggers with Bear, Shark (age 4) just sort of assumed God put the baby in there (magical transcendent being stuff) and the doctor would know how to pull it out of my tummy and he never really asked about specifics. This was fine! But now that he’s in first grade, our days are numbered.

  4. Let me know how it finally turns out. We are returning to this line of questioning again and again these days. Today, Calvin asked me how the baby will get out of my tummy. “I’ll push it out” was not an adequate response. Sometimes this honesty thing gets a little complicated.

  5. So far, my daughter is the only one who has really asked. I sent her off to third grade one morning, wondering what was going on in her little head.

    I liked your answers, though!

  6. Oh, do I have a story for you. It involves my Ben, who is a huge singer, singing pretty much verbatim what was in his book that we’d bought him, “It’s NOT The Stork.”

  7. Why can´t you just tell them the truth? In my family there was never no fakeshame or smth like that and thanks to that we (me and my younger brother) have always been well-informed and not embarrassed by this kind of subjects.

  8. Um, because he’s four. He doesn’t even know what a v-gina looks like. I was told the whole truth when I was four or five and I was NOT ready for it.

  9. Wow. I definitely don’t envy you this one! 🙂


  10. i love that only grown-ups know how to do it. 😉

  11. My son was incredibly noncurious about that stuff (at least to the world). When he was 8, my husband had his vasectomy and I thought this would be a good time to explain some things. I got as far as “Do you know anything about how babies are made?” The answer was emphatic, “Enough to know I DON”T want to talk about it!”

    I think your answer was perfect. It is completely truthful. It IS a special sort of hug. I think if he persists, it could be time for another lesson about privacy. Special hugs are private and between the people involved. Or maybe if you tell him when you will tell him more, say age 6 or 7, he’ll be satisfied with that.

  12. Mine thin it has something to do with Daddy kissing my belly button.

  13. So far my little ones haven’t ventured past the “where did we come from?” , “God” conversation. They have left it at that. I hope they leave it at that for a VERY long time. 😉

  14. Having grown up with an OB/Gyn for a father, I was told a pretty specific step-by-step story with all the correct names. I was very proud of the knowledge I had, and proceeded to make all of the other mothers in our preschool carpool very, VERY uncomfortable! 🙂
    When the tables were turned, and Andrew asked me where babies come from, I told him some awkward story about eggs and seeds and love. Since then, however, he hasn’t really had any interest in the subject. And yet, ever the party planner, he is more concerned about who officiates weddings between animals so that they can have babies. He was pretty focused with our puppy’s parents. “After Peanut and Missy fell in love, how did they get married? After the got married, did they have a doggie party like you and Dad?” “Yes, Andrew. They had a dog party. A biiiiig dog party.” So much for clear and honest information! 🙂

  15. I would be giggling the whole time…

  16. I was determined to be modern and open using proper vocabulary etc about the whole discussion and when it actually happened I had a complete deer-in-the-headlights and said: “it’s magic!”
    But I think its an ongoing education and you give more and more details of how the “magical” works as the kids are ready for it.
    But I really like the dog party version

  17. hamlette2002

    I think it’s perfectly acceptable to give honest information that a child will understand without going into details until they’re requested.
    Right now, however, I have a 12 year old daughter. I have started explaining a little more than she wants to know, and she asked me why. My logic is thus: When she was 9 years old, we started talking about menstruation. I know that there is not always going to be a parent, particularly Mom, to talk to when these life-changes come about. I wanted her to have the information and tools (not just maxi pads, but KNOWLEDGE) to handle the situation just in case I wasn’t there when it happened. For this reason, we had a discussion about condoms and what they’re for. I didn’t give a demonstration on how to use them, but I did explain to her that while I consider them a thin and often ineffective layer of protection, I wanted her to know what they were about.
    “Mom, don’t you think I’m BETTER than that?!?”
    I explained that we’re all human and make poor judgments in our lives, and in case I’m not in the room when she thinks she’s in love with some guy at the age of 16 and thinks sex sounds like a fantastic idea, she’ll have the tools to make the best decision possible.

  18. I had to explain periods to my 4 year-old daughter the other day . . . I feel your pain.

  19. I am really shocked by your post and by most of the comments. I thought most people told their kids the truth these days, though not of course going into excessive lurid details. Kids have BIG imaginations, and can upset themselves much more than any facts you tell them ever could, surely? When I was a little kid I worried and worried about the things my parents would not tell me, thought my mother had a secret wound and was dying, etc etc.

    I do understand better, having read your comment about your own experience. Of course you want to protect your kid from something that disturbed you. But do you think the WAY you were told may have more to do with it that the fact that you were told?

  20. It will be REAL funny, when your 13 year old son comes home and says:”Mommy. I think God is giving Melissa next door a baby, but for some reason she is blaming me…” 😀

    And I was also about 4, but the only emotions with that conversation were:”Oh, I see. Okay.” Maybe because my father worked in ambulance back then and he eplained it to me like a doctor – with no stupid giggling or making faces – so all this sex thing sounded rather boring. And for many years I thought that “WHY ON HELL would someone WANT to put his penis into someone elses vagina? Doesn´t it sound a little bit stupid? And how can anyone want baby so much that she/he is willing to go through that groce business?” 😀 Let´s say that I´ve changed my views a bit since then.

  21. Oh my….good luck with that reoccurring question!!!!! Let me know how it goes as I am sure to have to answer the same one!

    At the wedding on the weekend, my 4 year old proudly indicated that the flower girl will have his baby when her tummy gets bigger….hmmmm….not sure if that is part of the ring bearer job description!!!!!

    Thanks for sharing — GOOD LUCK!

  22. I think I was about 5 or so when my mom explained it to me. She even had this nifty little book with drawings, etc. “Where Did I Come From” by Peter Mayle. I found it fascinating, not so much the sex part but the drawings of the different stages of growth in utero.

  23. My parents had a similar “talk” with me about that age. I don’t remember exactly what they said, except that they told me the “special hug” (or whatever they called it) was “no fun if you aren’t grown up and married.” 🙂 Oh, parents.

  24. I’m with Rents and Jean. Kids’ imaginations will conjure up far weirder things than anything you can tell ’em. So be honest, keep it factual, and if you are too shy to say those scary sex words, buy a book- there are lots of good ones out there these days.