What do you title a post that involves teaching your kids about sex in front of your in-laws?

It was the third of July. We were at the beach house. I was sitting in a chair innocently reading a book. My father-in-law and my husband were also reading books in the same room. My mother-in-law was upstairs giving the children a bath and all was well.

Then the bath ended and the children came downstairs.

“Mommy. I have a question.”

“Sure, baby. What’s up?”

“Why does the boy have to put his penis in the girls pagina to get pregnant?”

If you read me with any regularity or know me in real life you probably know that my parenting theory involves answering their questions as honestly and accurately as possible. Even when it comes to questions about sex or religion.

But if you were paying attention you may have realized that my father-in-law was already in the room and my mother-in-law was on the stairs, and now I have to:

1) Parent wisely. I have to answer this question so that she isn’t confused. I don’t want to screw up the kids.sex_education

2) Parent well. I don’t want my in-laws to think I suck as a mom. These are their grandchildren.

3) Not start cracking up.

I explained that the man had to put his penis in the vagina because that was where the sperm came from and that the sperm had to get to the egg in order to fertilize it. Until the sperm and the egg were together there would be no baby.

Not bad, right? Straightforward and true.

And I didn’t laugh.

Oh, but little did I suspect the worst was yet to come. I was completely unprepared for her follow up question.

“Mommy? How far does the man have to put his penis into the pagina?”

Okay. No chance of not laughing here. I was laughing, Gabe was laughing, both of my in-laws were laughing and Claudia looked completely perplexed.

As a bonus, I had no good answer.

I told her “That is a very good question. I guess it just depends.”

It isn’t a thorough answer, but it is true. It does depend.

Thankfully her next question was about c-sections. Suddenly I was perfectly at ease discussing medical procedures with five year olds. We also talked about vaginal birthing which seems like it would be uncomfortable in mixed company, but once I fielded the “how far does he have to put his penis in” question a discourse on vaginal childbirth seemed as innocuous as talking about the weather.

I bring this on myself, don’t I?

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  1. Stopped over to say Happy Fourth!

    Also, must hear end of this story. I do not spend time with in-laws during vacation time too often.

  2. Thank you for dealing with that so forthrightly. That being said, my inner Puritan’s head just exploded.

  3. You mean you didn’t have the “size does matter” talk with your daughter?

    And you call yourself a mother.

  4. Congratulations on handling that with grace.

    I try to be mostly honest with my kids about this sort of stuff though my youngest can’t get past the bathroom humor of it all and I am much more vague with him.

    My big fear is that they will ask such questions, not in front of my MIL who was a nurse and will handle that sort of question naturally, but in front of my mother, who believed that ignorance was the best protection.

  5. Pure grace under pressure, that’s what you are!

  6. You handled that fabulously. Also sounds as though you’ve got a great set of inlaws!

  7. That is freaking awesome. I hope to be as cool as you when I grow up. Now I am thankful that my guys haven’t asked about how babies get into tummies, only the exit route. After a brief discussion of how babies are born my son declared it to be gross and asked why he couldn’t be cut out instead.

  8. Ada has started to ask about how babies are made, and I tend to follow a similar tactic of honesty in such matters. Therefore I will be sending her to your house for answers.

  9. My Mother still won’t talk about it – she doesn’t believe children should know those things, even when they are 30-something and 7 months pregnant. It makes my head hurt.

    I plan to be honest w/Stella when she begins to ask those questions. We’ll see how that goes.

  10. But what about the cabbage patch? Isn’t there a cabbage patch involved somehow?

    I don’t have any of the children myself, but I was pretty sure there was cabbage.

  11. LOL!!
    I try to do the same with TB, allways telling him the truth as things go. Unfortunately my wife and in-laws thing the fantasy side of things is more apropriate for a 5 year old…
    He takes both parts and uses the one that is more convenient for him depending on the situation…
    the manipulative thing!!!

  12. It does depend. Also, size matters.

  13. Here’s hoping your in-laws already knew the facts of life before your discourse.

  14. Wow. I don’t think I would have handled it as well as you.

    I would have ran out of the room with a bathroom emergency or something.

  15. Oh dang. Much as I laud you for your honesty with your children (which is clearly working in their favour, since they’re not shy about asking what they want to know), I’m extremely grateful that my girls haven’t demanded this level of honesty.

  16. DEAR GOD. That is all.

  17. LMFAO ahhhh the joys of sex talks and parenting. Dontcha just love it? LOL

  18. Just found your blog, and I nearly DIED reading this. Ah…kids!

  19. lmao!

  20. you’re killing me.

  21. That’s funny! Good job though. I think that you need to submit this to Beyond Birds and Bees.


  22. you HAVE to read my post. it’s what’s going to happen when your kids become teenagers and bust you!!
    i’m laughing…so hard right now.

  23. You’re lucky. My daughter’s next question, at four, was “What does it feel like” and yes, there were others present. She’s got two of her own now. I can’t wait for payback. And for the record, I told her it felt good.

  24. Eric Peterson says:

    Matter of factly as best you could and exactly as you did the right thing.
    Wouldn’t it be nice to solve the worlds
    problems with such ease?

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