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Birds, Bees and Badinahs (aka the day I knew my son would likely grow up to be a gynecologist)

July 19, 2010

When I was knocked up with my daughter a few years ago, my son, three-years-old at the time, would give updates on my pregnancy to his pre-school teachers that went something like this: “Baby’s in mommy’s ootawus and soon she push it out her badinah.”

In our family, there are no woo woos or ding dongs. Body parts are body parts, no matter where on the body they may be. What I never realized is how tricky it would be (to keep a straight face) as he got older.

Recently, when my husband was out of town (of course), my son started asking me questions about his boy bits and how they worked (the fact that I refer to them as ‘boy bits’ gives you an idea of how comfortable I was with this line of questioning).

Basically, he wanted detailed, user-manual-type information about his gear and would not be deterred by my answers – which were fairly vague, mainly because I wasn’t sure I remembered what all the bits were for. We chatted about generalities (“Those hold the sperm, honey, like a purse holds money…”) until he asked the big question: “But mommy, how does the sperm get to the egg?”

How indeed. This was always a talk I figured my husband and son would have on a road trip – somewhere far away from me. I took a deep breath and uttered the 10 most clichéd words in parenthood: “When a mommy and daddy love each other very much…”

And so it began. I kept trying to dole out the barest scraps, seeing if they would satisfy him. They didn’t. He wanted to know exactly how A got to B became C, so I told him. By the time I finished, the look on his face was one of shock mixed with mild disgust, but he recovered quickly and asked, “Does a nurse have to be there when you do it?” and “Do you have to wear gloves?”

The reason I bring this up is because I always assumed that would be the end of sex talks for a couple of years (and, if there is a God, my husband would be home for the next one). But no. A few weeks ago, driving home from the store, my now-seven-year-old son started asking about a lack of visible daddy in the lives of his friends with two mommies. Or the other friend who was inseminated. And the other friend who is acting as a surrogate (obviously, we have awesome friends).

My clichéd talk of mommies and daddies in love wasn’t cutting it—and in today’s world, he definitely had a point. And that, my friends, is how we launched into a discussion about the mechanics of artificial insemination.

This time he wasn’t grossed out; merely fascinated. Questions included: is the doctor the donor; did the ‘bank’ have money and sperm; how does it get from the man into the cup; how does it get from the cup into the lady; and, my favorite, how does it know to swim to the right place, instead of, like, her armpit?

I answered the best I could, with a straight face and being honest if I didn’t know. Next time, I will be prepared. I will have diagrams. I will have books. I will have my husband on speed dial.

So tell me, how do you handle the sex talk (with your kids…don’t get me banned from FB again!)

This is my future.

37 Comments leave one →
  1. Martha permalink
    July 19, 2010 11:54 am

    Hmmm. Not sure if this is a ‘how to’ or ‘how not to’, but it’s funny! I love your blog!

  2. July 19, 2010 2:33 pm

    Made us laugh out loud! Thanks for sharing, one day soon we too will have these “talks” – for now babies are too young (or in Tricia’s case, still waiting to be born).

  3. Andrea Bitner permalink
    July 19, 2010 3:38 pm

    Now i see why is that you are going to be blamed for disrupting the grade one class jajajaja….. Thanks for this super fun stories….

  4. lisa permalink
    July 19, 2010 4:39 pm

    damn this is funny. partly because your son is a bit older than my daughter and i’m hoping to learn from your mistakes, er i mean journey

  5. Kevin permalink
    July 19, 2010 6:54 pm

    Every one of your blogs makes me LMAO! Then my roomie asks what’s so funny and I have to tell her every detail of it.

  6. July 19, 2010 10:17 pm

    Hilarious. I too believe in giving kids the least amount of info in the most honest way possible. When my daughter was four, she kept asking me questions about childbirth. To this day she remembers the conversation. “I think I’ll just buy a baby at the hospital” is her way of coping with birth.

  7. July 20, 2010 9:22 am

    First: I laughed REALLY hard. REALLY really hard.

    Second: you DO have awesome friends.

    Third: I know a great gyno professor who manages to make 1/2 the med school students decide looking at badinahs for the rest of their working lives is just what they wanted to do. I think you should introduce your son.

  8. Lesley Gibson permalink
    July 20, 2010 9:43 am

    One time I was instructing my son – who was 4 at the time, on what he should be washing “down there” not really thinking of what I was saying, I told him to make sure he also washed his balls – he looked at me and said, “what are my balls?”. I couldn’t think of the correct term (still can’t scrotum, testicles?? lord only knows) so I had to call my husband to ask him.

    • August 6, 2010 1:06 am

      Lesley Gibson, you better call me stat! We need an in-person catch up session. I’ll bring my kid’s sex book to show you the confusing parts 😉


  9. July 20, 2010 4:38 pm

    Lori, Nice to tweet you!

    I’m sending my little boy to you when he starts asking me about reproduction!!! If he hears it from me, he might learn some crazy nonsense about a stork with a basket.

    • July 20, 2010 4:50 pm

      Hee – you might want to read a few more posts before making that declaration 😉

  10. July 20, 2010 5:48 pm

    So, how does it know not to go to the armpit?

    OMG, this is too funny and the word Badinah is the funniest thing I have ever read!

    My daughter has been asking these questions again lately too. She is 7 also. I have told her the how it happens, even used those very ten words, which seemed to satisfy her until recently. Her father and I have been divorced for over 6 years so she can’t remember a time when mommy and daddy loved each other very much so she just can’t picture it. Her dad and I get along very well, and there is probably some love left but not that kind. I had no problem getting through the discussion but then she wanted to know why we divorced, and that is a much harder picture to describe to a 7 year old. Maybe you could explain it to her?

    And you have way cool friends.

    • July 20, 2010 6:46 pm

      I think we should have my son explain it to her…

      When divorce questions came up, I hightailed it to the library and got a book. I’m sorry I don’t remember the title, but it was great (I need the sex version of that book).

      Good luck!

  11. July 20, 2010 5:56 pm

    You had me at armpit. Hysterical stuff. Sorry, can’t help. I’m childless (quietly counts blessings, no sex talk worries here!)

    • July 20, 2010 6:41 pm

      Kathy – you and my sister, both! After visiting us she’s never been so happy with her dog…


  12. July 20, 2010 6:21 pm

    I am a surrogate so I’ve had to explain the entire process to my kids who are 4 and 10. I thought I had done a pretty good job of it (“They take a part from the man and a part from the woman and put it together and then put it in me.) until my son told me he never wanted kids because he didn’t want anyone taking part of him away and that it would probably hurt. Needless to say I had to go into a bit more detail. (The fact that I am surrogate for gay men just makes the entire process that much more fun to explain.)

    • July 20, 2010 6:37 pm

      Jen – We need to get our friends together, stat! I’m going to pass your awesome website to my friend who is being a surrogate – she wants some resources and is thinking of anonymously blogging her experiences so she doesn’t drive her husband crazy.

  13. jamie permalink
    July 20, 2010 7:01 pm

    I am dreading the day this will happen with my (non-existent) children!
    My poor little dad had 4 girls and still has a hard time saying ‘underpants’ around us.
    I believe the first/last ‘sex’ conversation he had was when at the age of 2ish I was showering with him and, pointing at his Boy Bits, asked “Mommy what’s that?” to which she replied “Well, that’s his penis.” Me: “Peanut? That’s a peanut? It looks more like a sausage!” Aaaand… get out.
    And, even though they thought they were teaching us the right names for our parts, I still managed to go until I was about 12 thinking my ‘badinha’ was called a Foof. C’mon.

    • July 20, 2010 8:41 pm

      Classic! Despite my insistence on having my kids use proper terminology, I personally refer to a badinah as a snapper, so there you go!

  14. Lynne permalink
    August 2, 2010 2:40 am

    Loved it! Funny stuff, LD.

  15. August 3, 2010 9:38 am

    As the ‘inseminated’ one…I had to laugh (and I’ll be plagarizing your topic later)….my friends kid asked where my husband was and after some himming and hawing I said – you’ll have to ask your mom.
    Oh and my granny thought I should tell everyone the doctor was the dad…she thinks he gets it on a technicality!

  16. August 3, 2010 7:15 pm

    Hilarious! I’m dreading this day. You did a much better job explaining than my parents did. I didn’t have any idea how babies were made until I was about 11 years old and Blanche’s daughter considered insemination on Golden Girls.

    Meanwhile my 5 year old nephew thought he was purchased on sale at Kohl’s. (thanks to his grandmother…that took a lot of undoing)

    • August 3, 2010 8:17 pm

      Many of life’s greatest lessons can be gleaned from Golden Girl reruns…

  17. August 3, 2010 7:59 pm

    Very funny! I grew up with my mom being a registered nurse at our town’s only hospital. She is a practical woman who doesn’t mince words, and is a firm believer in telling the truth. Mind you, the sex talks she gave my sister and I included her nursing books which had very detailed illustrations of every body part. I swear I was the only fifth grader that knew what a Vas Deferens was, and could safely say that you could not get pregnant by sitting on a toilet seat. Thanks for sharing your stories. I have read most of your blogs since you got on the front page. You’re an excellent writer. I enjoy your sense of humor.

    • August 3, 2010 8:07 pm

      Megan – thanks so much for your kind words and funny memories! I just had to give my barfy son a suppository (blech!) and needed to take my mind off of it, so your sweet comment couldn’t have come at a better time… 😉


  18. Xilxi permalink
    August 3, 2010 8:31 pm

    This post cracked me up! Great humour in what could be interpreted as a “serious” post!

  19. August 4, 2010 6:43 am

    You’re obviously doing a great job, if your son is fascinated and not disgusted (or worse, confused!). I grew up with books on human reproduction just part of our regular reading (from toddler-hood or earlier), and I still have one of those books – I think it’s called “Where Babies Come From”. My own children now have it on their bookshelf. It’s a lovely book with beautiful paintings, accurate but not too graphic, and has pictures of a baby growing in the womb. It’s a little dated (“It’s impossible to know whether the baby will be a boy or a girl before it is born”), but I think just having it there and being matter-of-fact about such things right from the start saves a lot of embarrassment and confusion later on.
    Hooray for being “Freshly Pressed”! I’ve enjoyed reading your writing 🙂

    • August 4, 2010 8:05 am

      Kate – thanks so much for your kindness! We’re big fans of proper terminology at our house…in front of the kids. When they’re out of earshot, though, my husband and I turn into 9 year olds!


  20. سیـــار permalink
    August 4, 2010 6:23 pm


    That was refreshing.


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