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October 12, 2010


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amy sue nathan

I was watching a rerun of Roseanne with my daughter years ago -- and Roseanne sat on the bed to have "the talk" with her daughters. I turned to mine and said, "Pay attention."

I praise the gods of public school for sex ed.

But after it was all good and learned - we were able to talk about it just fine. Good thing too, she's 15 now.

Just wait!!!


I had Conversation #1 with my five year old last week after she saw a dog giving birth on TV. She was disgusted and said that she was happy she just "popped out of my belly button." After I confessed that she actually did come out of my vagina, she was silent. She finally asked how she was able to fit and how she got in there in the first place.

Each "simple" answer just led to another question. I definitely need a book!


Nice. You understand that my adolescence, already stunted for a variety of reasons, was further complicated by the fact that my parents actually wrote and had published a book called "What We Told Our Kids About Sex" - the highlight coming later when the local TV news went to my 9th grade classroom to interview me about it in front of all the other kids when I hadn't even kissed a girl. Embarrassment much? Of course, my real world education on the subject consisted at the time mostly of those 2 pictures of Elf boobs in the Dungeon Masters Guide and the Playboy issues I stole from the haircut place. Good times.

Angie in Texas

conversation with the 7 yo girl:

me: "... and then the sperm meets the ovum and the egg is fertilized, making a baby."

girl: "COOOOOL!" [pause] "but how does the sperm get to the egg?"

me: "the married man's erect penis is inserted into the married woman's vagina where it ejaculates the sperm." *turning blue from lack of oxygen*

girl: [pause] "EWWWWWWWWW!"

me: *sigh of relief* but thoughts of stressing the two married people in this conversation should be married to EACH OTHER...


My parents had the talk with me when I was 23. I went home for Christmas after having shacked up with a guy ten months previous in a far-off city.

"Can I borrow some money to get him a present?" I asked my dad.

"What do you want to get him?" my dad asked, not looking up from his newspaper.

"I don't know. Flannel pyjamas or something." We were in the process of moving to a super-cold city.

"Ha! He's not going to wear pyjamas!" Dad laughed, putting the paper down. He was clearly preparing to make some sort of remark with the hope of embarrassing me (he had been previously disappointed that I no longer found tampons embarrassing, the way I had when I was 12).

"How 'bout we buy him a box of condoms," my mother (who wouldn't normally engage in such a crass discussion) suggested as she tried not to giggle.

"That'd be great!" I exclaimed, which apparently wasn't what they wanted to hear. "That'll save us $10!"

My dad seemed positively relieved that by 23, I already figured out where babies come from, thus freeing him from the responsibility.


I don't quite remember how it came up, but I do remember my mom trying to lead up into "the talk" when I cut her off by telling her I had already read all I needed to know in a volume of the Disney children's encyclopedia at our library.

That was the end of the conversation.


I always love coming here and reading your take on fatherhood but sometimes it makes me sad to think that I have both a father and a husband who think so very little about what it really means to raise a child.

The Peanut is the luckiest girl in the world.


Here's my most recent: http://ngunderground.blogspot.com/2010/10/preemptive-excuses.html


The best thing you can do is to be honest with them. You can take them to a farm where a cow is being born or kittens. Let her watch what happens and lovingly share with her how the mother starts taking care of the baby. You may have to explain that a human does not eat the birth sac. This will make her ask more questions or answer all of her questions. Good Luck! Being a parent is alot of fun!


I had no parental insight but somewhere around 4th grade I heard "rumors" of the mans "head"going into the woman. Not familiar with any of the lingo, you can imagine me trying to picture that!

fan of TED

great anecdote about "the talk" with her daughter by Julie Sweeney:

Karen from Chookooloonks

We had talked about how the baby comes out of the woman about 8 months ago, but about 2 months ago, my 6-year-old daughter and I had a conversation about how the baby gets IN.

When I got to the part about inserting Tab A into Slot B, all the colour drained from her face. She was silent.

"Alex," I said, "Are you okay?"

"Umm, yeah," she said, shaking her head slowly. Then she stopped and looked me dead in the eyes.


"Yes, hon?"

"I'm so adopting."




(my family has perfected that eye roll.)

Ironic Mom


When my daughter was 4, I explained that babies either came out the vagina or a cut in the mommy's tummy (she was born by C-section).

After the two brief explanations, she looked at me and said, "Can't I just buy a baby at the hospital."

"Sure you can," I said.

She's now six and her plan is still to buy one. When she's 30. (That's my rule).


This is kind of about sex...when my little conservative was 9, a women's group I was in did a Christmas adopt-a-family. The single mom had 12 kids and 1 grandchild from her 17-year-old daughter so I chose one of the boys close to my boys' age. I was explaining it to my son and he says to me "Wait, why did she have so many kids if she couldn't take care of them? You mean to tell me she had sex 12 times? That's disgusting!"


NO kids of my own yet. I am scarred for life from my Talk with my mom though. I think I was 12 or 13. She said "make love" somewhere near the beginning and I remember NOTHING after that because I was SO embarrassed.


My mom didn't hesitate to sign the permission slip for 5th grade sex ed class. It got her out of having "the talk" with me and I was never brave enough to ask my parents anything about it. I do remember a friend in the 4th grade explaining sex to me. She formed a circle with her left thumb and index finger and put her right index finger through it. *bam* It all made sense! Kind of.


I don't think parents need to worry much about sex ed. Kids learn their fair share at school, and I'm not talking about the things they learn in class. Heck, no one had to tell me anything and I just picked up everything I knew about menstruation and sex from the media and classmates. You can't get away from it..the information is easy for kids to access these days.

P.S. LOVE it when you update! I think I go through withdrawal when I don't see a new post until the next month.


When I was 16, my girlfriend and I were studying at my kitchen table when my mom decides to take a seat next to us. After a curious pause, she says "Hey Girls, don't kiss with your tongue. If you do that, you'll get a tingly-tingly feeling down there."

We stared at her, burst out laughing, and she walked away saying "don't forget what I'm telling you!"

Fast forward 17 years later, she tells me one night, "if you and Ben (my husband) want a girl (we have a son already) tell him to go from the left."


Conversations with my mom are great.

Dr. Cynicism

Great stuff! It's so funny to hear the evolution of these conversations that lead up to the coup de grace statements that we hear children blurt out from time to time :-)

Boston Mamas

Ha ha ha - you said BUTT!!!!!!!!!!!


My folks took the easy way out and gave me a book to read. I like to keep in real now that I'm in charge, so I'll probably sit my kids down and have them watch midget porn with me.


OMFG i am in tears laughing at your stories... *sigh* at least Peanut has a sense of humour!


Oy vey, is right. I have three sons and the only surprise question I've fielded was, "What's a lesbian?".

I was pregnant with boy #3 when the older two were 5 and 7. They asked how the baby would get out of my stomach. I answered, "Via the birth canal!" They accepted my answer and haven't pursued details. I'm with your dad...

Captain Dumbass

My sex ed teaching consisted of my dad dropping a government issue sex-ed pamphlet on my bed and promptly leaving the room. Thanks, dad.

ray lee

I remember I was in the 3rd grade and I saw a woman give birth to a baby on Channel 13. I thought it was the craziest thing ever. A year later, I was having a conversation with a classmate and he somehow mentioned that a baby came out of the vagina. Not knowing how a vagina looks like, I said to him, "NO! A baby comes out of the butt! I've seen it on TV! Channel 13 does not make up stuff!"

-ray leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


my mother told me in 8th grade to never get in the back seat of a car with a boy cus he would try to make love to me. i told her that i knew everything there was to know about sex from reading Judy Blume and VC Andrews and she could cool it with the sex talk.


My mom borrowed some Life Cycle encyclopedias and put them in my room. Way embarrassing. It was more stuff about puberty than sex.

DD has always been very interested in all of it. I went a little nuts and showed her A Child Is Born. Parts of it to her were too creepy and bloody looking, parts were really cute, and others parts were scary. She saw the laboring mother photo and said, that lady doesn't look very happy. I said, well it's a lot of work to get a baby out.

I know it's all still very abstract for her both with what a period is and the WHY in, what goes where and why. Last year I got her the American Girl "Care and Keeping of You" which I highly, highly recommend for puberty planning. There are some other books about emotions and relationships that are good, too. I did get her a cartoony book called "What's the Big Secret?" and after that she wanted to know why she had seen a lady's peepee (ie mine) but not a man's (daddy's) and could she see one. I was tempted to go all National Geographic on her but like Julia Sweeney, didn't want to do the internet porn scene either. I told her she will when she's older, but I heard somebody say that her mother purposely left out Joy of Sex and some other things like that and I think I may gear up for something like that to do too, but probably not until she is 11.

Finally, "16 and Pregnant" has already got me rehearsing a speech about come talk to me first if you want to have sex, so I can get you some birth control from a doctor and you can still go to a university.

I'm doing all of the heavy lifting on this topic; DH is convinced that if she is just told to be a good girl and keep her knees together, everything will be fine. I'm gonna need lessons in the Asian Eye Roll because the Midwestern raised eyebrows just aren't cutting it anymore in situations like these.


We have never, ever talked about sex with either of my parents. They suffer from typical Asian parent denial to the point where, when my brother and his girlfriend moved in together, they were convinced he was sleeping in the living room of their one bedroom apartment. When my cousin and her girlfriend moved in together and shared a bed, my parents just thought they were really close friends.

Oddly, though, my mom sometimes sends me these random inappropriate (i.e., about sex) email forwards. I always wonder if she gets the jokes. She must, or she wouldn't have forwarded it, right?

Steven C

Funny. I thought my girlfriend's mother invented the AER™. She's got it down pat. Especially whenever I come over.


Keep up the good job.
Alesum:summarizing the world.


Love it. Just saturday, I was in the park with my 3yo. She was on the big girl swing along with a pair of twins, about the same age. Their mom was roughly in my demographic, all smiles. We were having a good old time, talking to the kids, praising them for leg pumping, obliquely referring to the nice stranger family nearby, etc. Then my daughter randomly pops out: "YOU KNOW THAT PART DOWN THERE WHERE THE PEE AND POO COMES OUT? DOWN THERE? THAT'S YOUR VAGINA, DADDY!" I knew there was nothing I could do to deflect her attention from this subject, so I just said, "Uh... huhhh...."

"That's the VAGINA, Dad!!!!"

The other family, and all others within a 20 ft radius cleared out in about 30 seconds.

{you can edit this part out, if you want: huge fan. you are one of maybe 3 or 4 writers i look forward to seeing post.}


Metrodad...were you and the Peanut on the downtown 2 train yesterday afternoon? I think I saw you guys but I didn't want to freak you out. You two are ADORABLE together and the Peanut is even more beautiful in person!


My 6 year old first grader came home on Friday to report that one of the boys said she's sexy.

I asked, "Do you know what that word means?"

She answered, "It means he likes me and wants to marry me. But we're too young for that stuff. He better not try to kiss me. That's how germs are spread."

All the while, I'm trying to hold it together and not howl with laughter at the whole thing.


I remember being 8 or 9 years old when I learned where babies come from. A classmate of mine had just had "the talk" with her parents and came to school the next day, bursting with excitement to fill us in on all the dirty details. Now, this particular friend was infamous for being a a bit of a fibber, so naturally I didn't believe a word she said. When I got home that day, the first thing I did was go to my parents to get the real story...

me: "Where do babies come from? Because Allison said that babies are made when a man sticks his penis into a woman's vagina!!! That can't be true, right? RIGHT?"

(awkward silence)

parents: "Um, yeah, it's true"

me: "Ew, that's so gross. I'm never having kids."

Needless to say, I no longer think sex is "gross." And when I do have children, my plan is to avoid the question and hope that some kid from their class does the job for me. Then all I have to do is confirm or deny.

Jane K.

At the current rate, my best bet is if they cover the topic on iCarly.


My son is almost 5. Since his sister was born (18m ago), he's been a fountain of questions and well meaning answers. He told me not to worry, one of the other "big brothers" told him how babies come out. "They plop out of mommies." The two of them ran up and down the hallway at daycare hollering "Mommies plopping out babies!"


My parents never had the talk with me, but just hoped that Sex Ed would be enough education, and thankfully, it seemed to be. (No children, no diseases...at least I learn't safe sex).

One day when I was about 22, I told my mom I couldn't find my birth control and was looking for it since it had been in my purse. She turned to me out of the blue and said, "Shell, you do know that if you miss a pill, uh...and you...you know and...ah..you could..get...ah..."

"PREGNANT?!" I finished her sentence with a goofy grin on my face. She blushed and I said to her, "Come on mom, don't you think I should know that by now!?"

My parents believe in abstinence, so it's no wonder she had a hard time talking about it. Her little girl doesn't have sex!! ;)


I got the Aer slapped out of me as a child. Yay Korean mommies!

On a more serious note, my mother placed a book discreetly on the bathroom toilet when I was about 7. It was a book of photos on the miracles of life-- or rather the miracles of pushing a mass of flesh and hair through some undiscernable hole between your legs.

When asked about the book my mother calmly replied, "That's what happens when you bbo bbo (kiss) boys." And that was the end of the conversation after which the book disappeared as mysteriously as it had appeared.

My friend, who came over to play often, and I had a serious debate on which hole it was coming out of. She was right, as I remember thinking it was impossible for pee holes to stretch that wide.


So freaking funny. Great post, MD!


I have two sons - as I explained how babies were made to my youngest I watched his face contort into a look of horror - "that's how you and Daddy made us!!"

Later that day, I related that exchange to my older (Jr High) son who was deep into sex ed at school - his comment: "wait till he finds out you did it more than twice!"


When I was small, I was curious about male anatomy, so I asked my mom to explain the difference between boys and girls. She turned to me and said, "Honey, boys have hoses in their pants and that's how they pee." Needless to say, I was terrified of garden hoses flying out of their pants for years...and always felt weird when I was watering the flowers. It felt...well, wrong.


Only thing that beats this was Harry's question about "do you put just the tip in or the whole thing including your balls?


As an adolescent medicine specialist, I second the great suggestion of
American Girl "Care and Keeping of You"
for your pre-teen... when peanut gets older

also, make sure your ex-wife covers tampons! in my research only 63% of asian-ams use tampons vs. 86% of caucasians. Asian-Ams should reach parity on tampons! We came to this country to take advantage of the benefits/technology here. women should use tampons - it makes life so much better.


I have a Korean father so I totally understand where you're coming from.

My dad never really talked to me about sex specifically. Instead as I was growing up, I had a series of 'questions' regarding my penis

Age 10: Is it growing?
Age 12: Lets see it... Is it getting bigger yet?
Age 15: I bet your crotch is really itchy, right?
Age 18: Let's see it... Is it big yet? (I think he wanted to compare)
Age 20: Do you know what you do with it other than urinate?
Age 22: You know what you put inside a condom, right?

My brother has it worse. His is uncircumcised so my dad asks, "Have you peeled the skin yet?"

Korean Dads are hilarious

and gross

Dee G

Most hilarous one ever was Anne Glamore from My Tiny Kingdom, where unfortuntely she isn't blogging anymore...courtesy of interet Wayback machine...


My daughter started asking before she was three. She was born via C-section, and her first question about that was if it hurt. I explained that the dr. gave me medicine - turned out she meant did it hurt *her*!

Next we looked though the post-conception photos in Lars Nilsson's A Child Is Born book to see how the baby grows. Then, the next year, for Mother's Day, her school made little canvas bags that the kids colored. My girl drew me a picture of her conception, straight out of the Nilsson book, complete with sperm (and pointed out which one was the one that got into the egg to make her). She explained this drawing to everyone, of course.

Now she tells me that she thinks having a baby from her body would be really itchy, so she will probably adopt her babies.


Check out Robie Harris' book, It's So Amazing. It contains detailed explanations (with illustrations!) about pregnancy and birth. While I wouldn't advise just handing the book to Peanut and letting her figure the pictures out on her own, I think it is a great resource for parents and you can even decide how much of you want to share.


There is no getting around this, we all go through it. The thing you have to do is take the bull by the horns and tell her everything. She will be able to make her own thoughts from the facts. The next thing you should share with her is, not to speak in casual conversation. Tell her that some things should be better spoke of in private.


I'm totally screwed then! I learned about SexEd through my first porn experience when I was about 15 off of hijacked satellite reception -- static makes for a painful watching experience. I have no skill set in explaining the birds and the bees.

My 8 and 6 year old have yet to ask that question, ANOTHER reason why I have ditched cable in the house. No pregnant women, no questions as to how that happens....

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