My Accidental Birds & the Bees Talk

We’re the type of parents who call body parts by their anatomically-correct title. Elbow. Ankle. Penis. No big deal. When I was pregnant for my third child, my oldest asked when the baby was going to come out my “bagina.” My grandmother thinks it’s uncomfortably progressive and even questioned, “But what if they say it at school?!” Honestly, they wouldn’t. Unless, of course, something were wrong with their penis or bagina. Because to them the term isn’t taboo. It’s not a punchline. They have no more reason to say one of those words to get a laugh than they would to say “ear” or “thumb.” 

It’s only gotten us into trouble twice. Once, I whispered to my son in a very quiet church that he needed to stop squirming. He responded in a stage whisper, “MY PENIS HURTS.” Then, between pitches at a calm Alex Box Stadium, our daughter announced, “Mommy, only I can touch my bagina!” I mean, she’s not wrong, but now half of Baton Rouge knows. 

“ONLY I CAN TOUCH MY BAGINAAAAAAA!”

We’ve fielded baby background conversations with ease. We encouraged the boys’ curiosity through two pregnancies, even showing them videos of how babies grow in the womb. They were fascinated and had so many questions. We answered each one directly but did not provide additional details. We basically provided a play-by-play for whatever they happened to ask as directly as we could, but we omitted any color commentary. And we got away with it. We survived multiple pregnancies without ever having to disclose exactly how the sperm got to the egg. They knew where each came from but failed to put the two together (pun intended). 

So imagine my surprise when my six-year-old asked about the missing link on our way to lunch. We had just baptized my youngest, who was then about 2-months old. The drive between the church and the restaurant where we were having lunch could not have been longer than four minutes. The conversation went as follows:

8-year-old: “Mommy, I hope it doesn’t rain on her dress! That way she can keep it and give it to her babies one day.”

6-year-old: “Yeah! … Where do babies come from, anyway?”

(Before I chime in, lemme see where this goes … )

8: “I think you just pray for them.”

6: “Mommy … ” 

(Crap. Here we go. Batten down the hatches.)

“… Where do babies come from? Do you just pray for them?”

Me: “Well, people can pray for them, but you already know that it takes a sperm from a male and an egg from a female.”

(There. That should settle it. We’ve had that conversation several times. Movin’ on.)

6: “Yeah, but how did the sperm get to the egg?”

(Whoomp, there it is. There’s no shaking this. And of course I’m having to do this all alone while Dad’s picking up the cake.)

M: “Humans have babies through a process called sexual intercourse.”

8: “Sexual intercourse.”

(Geez)

Me: “Yes. Sexual intercourse.”

6: “What happens?”

(Gulp. Lord, give me strength)

Me: “It’s where a male puts his penis into a female’s vagina so the sperm can get to the egg.”

(There. It’s over. Lots of buildup, and now it’s all over. All too fitting.)

8: “So, wait a minute … you’re tellin’ me … ”

(Oh, God, oh, God, oh, God)

“… that all ya have to do is put a penis inside a vagina, and you can make a baby?”

Me: “Basically, yes. Both the male and the female have to have gone through puberty, but basically yes.”

(How can I finagle in a lesson here? Ok, got it)

Me: “Which is why if you ever want to put your penis in a vagina, you have to be ready to raise a baby because that’s how it’s done.” 

(Boom! Done! AND I used it as a teachable moment! Crisis averted!)

8: “So … ”

(No! Stop! Why are you still talking?)

“… Daddy could just pull down his pants … ”

(No! NOOOOO! You weren’t supposed to make that connection yet!)

“… and you could just pull down your pants … ”

(all the cringing now. All. The. Cringing.)

“… and he could put his penis in your vagina, and y’all could just make a baby?”

(intensely squeezing steering wheel and gritting teeth)

Me: “Y–yeah. Yep. Basically, yes.”

(wiping sweat)

6: “That’s it?”

Me: “Yes.”

8: “Ok, can we get pizza?”

I wasn’t really ready, but I honestly think they were more mature in the entire conversation than I was. Thankfully, they were seriously underwhelmed. 

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