Why I Almost Had to Explain Exorcism to a Four Year Old

Early on I made a promise to myself that I was going to try not to lie to my children.*  I said to myself (and clearly this was before my children were old enough to speak) “Self, you are going to be the mom that answers every why as well as you can. You are not going to ever talk about storks bringing babies or masturbation making people blind, you will never tell them that the dead dog went to live on a farm or that shots don’t hurt.”

So I have this thing with my kids where I end up over-explaining a lot, just to make sure I am truthful.

This is how I ended up telling two four year olds about vaginal child birth a couple of week ago.

It is also how my mother-in-law ended up explaining anal sex  to my husband when he was in first grade, but that is their story to tell. I wasn’t actually there, but I bet it was hilarious.

I know. I know you are only supposed to answer the question that was actually asked and not expand upon the subject. I understand that.

It is just when they ask question, sometimes it seems like a great opportunity for education.

But this morning, when Ian came to me at 7:00 am, before I had a chance to drink a cup of coffee, with the comics from the Sunday Washington Post and asked me to explain this I was at a loss.


In order to explain this fully I would have to describe the following things to my child:

1) Scary Movies

2) Demons

3) Exorcism

4) Priests

5) Religion

6) Breath Mints

7) The fact that the comics are rarely funny.

Explaining all of this would most likely only result in scaring the crap out of him and ensuring he slept with me all night tonight. This is the same child that freaked out for a week when he saw a commercial with E.T. in it.

And all for a crappy joke.

I just told him that the green girl had bad breath and so bad smells were coming out of her mouth so the kid was giving her breath mints.

All in all I really only had to go over numbers 6 and 7.

I successfully escaped the exorcism discussion, for today at least. I can only guess what he will ask me about tomorrow.


* Yes,  Santa is an exception and I haven’t pushed it too hard because I hate lying to them. It makes me feel bad about myself.

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  1. Reminds me of the time I almost had to say that Tinkerbell wasn’t real…….

  2. Wait… my dog’s not on a farm?

  3. Wowser!! Sex ed and vaginal birth descriptions for 2 year olds? You’re my hero! That is seriously hardcore. I think you’ve earned a free pass on the exorcism query.

  4. Well thank you for clearing that up. I saw that comic yesterday and I didn’t get it at all……. Seriously…….

  5. I was terrified of E.T. when I was a kid. We went to a drive-in to see it as a family, one of the few “family outing” things I remember from childhood. Someone gave my brother an E.T. doll. His arms and legs could move up and down. I was terrified of it, absolutely terrified. I wouldn’t go into his room when it was on the shelf. Whoah. Traumatic memory.

  6. Sometimes a moderation is not a lie. She after all DID have bad breath (Vomiting green stuff??) and unless you believe all that stuff is true anyway, well, I’m with you.

    I had the same resolves you did and even told my kids I had smoked dope (and my husband told them more of my -uh- social history than I would have preferred.

    I think the truth is worth the investment though. They trust us. It doesn’t occur to them, as adults, that we aren’t truthful with them – and I don’t think it ever has. So don’t give up because you had to edit (not exactly a lie anyway) to adapt the data to the level of experience. That was being a good mom.

    My favorite expression (that I ever made up) is that you can be ideological or you can be a good parent but if you respect you child’s nature and spirit, you definitely can’t always be both.

  7. HAHAHA! I love your list and that “Religion” “Breathmints” and “The Fact That Comics Are Rarely Funny” are things you dont want to explain to your children. Hi-larious.

  8. You know why this is making me laugh so freakin’ much? I didn’t get the comic. I thought he had raised someone from the dead, not that it was an exorcism. Another reason I’m glad you’re on my Bloglines!

  9. Heh. My five-year-old saw the same cartoon and I explained it almost the same way you did. I just said she was cranky so he was giving her candy to cheer her up.

    Y’gotta admit, that was a fairly gruesome image for the comics page.

  10. You should have explained the breath mints to him in Latin while dousing him with holy water. That probably would have confused him enough that he would never ask you a question again. Ever.

  11. I hate that friggin Lio comic strip. He jokes about mushroom clouds too. Hardy ha ha.

  12. Classic. You could have scared him off pea soup forever!

  13. One day someone flipped me the bird.

    I went home and asked my mother what it meant.

    She proceeded to tell me that some very rude men put that finger in very rude women and I should never ever let someone do that to me.

    Um, what? Perhaps just telling a SEVEN YEAR OLD that it was a rude gesture would have sufficed?

  14. HA! I would have paid good money to see someone explain anal sex to a six year old.

  15. Well done, Sarah. Way to side-step a whole can of worms!!

    Anal sex to a six year old? Oh please have your husband guest blog that story. Please. Or better yet, have your MIL write about it!!

  16. WHY is it that comics are rarely funny? Very bizarre indeed.

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