Since Little Man had some sick days to burn, I decided to let him take a couple of mental health days and take him to the beach. It was just the two of us — and I drove, all on my own with the assistance of my navigation system, and parked in a parking garage and got out and made it back home — and we had a lovely time. We talked on the entire 3.5-hour drive down there about everything under the sun, hung out by the beach/pool the whole day on Thursday, and talked most of the trip back home on Friday.
During all of that talking, Little Man told me about a scene in a book he was reading where one of the kids referenced their teaching doing sex education with them. He mentioned something about one of the kids passing out and wanted to know what would cause that reaction. I explained how a lot of kids’ parents don’t really talk to them about the appropriate names for their parts and how a lot of kids (at least everyone in my sixth grade class) act like hearing the words “penis” and “vagina” are simultaneously the most hilarious and scandalous thing of the century.
“Oh. Well, you’ve taught us that stuff…”
“Yep,” I said, feeling all proud of my awesome parenting skills (ignoring that I only started consistently using the proper names for their parts three-ish years ago), “it’s important for parents to be open and honest with their kids.”
“Oh, really?” Little Man asked, with a smirk on his face.
Son of a bitch. What did I just walk into? And did he set this up?
“All right, then…now are you going to tell me where babies actually come from?”
“Babies are delivered from a woman’s vagina or by C-section,” I said, but I knew that wasn’t what he was really asking. I’ve told him that women have the eggs and men have the fertilizer, so to speak, but I haven’t told him how that actually happens. And I definitely did not want to do that as we were waiting on the pizza delivery guy to bring our food.
“No, I know how they get out. I want to know how they get there,” he said, pointing at my belly.
Here we go.
“You might be a little young for this…” I never got The Talk, not officially. My grandmother told me that I could become pregnant at any time when I started my period, and my dad told me “guys want one thing and one thing only — don’t do it” when I was 16, but that was it. What’s the right age? Surely not 10?
“Mom, come on,” Little Man pleaded. “Just tell me. I already have theories.”
“Okay.” I gave him the details.
His response: “Wow…does that hurt?”
“Uh…generally, no it does not.”
Next question: “Well, what happens to the eggs that aren’t made into babies?”
I’m pretty sure I’d already touched on menstruation before, but I gave him the full recap, anyway.
“Wow, that’s so cool.” He was seriously impressed with the whole process of shedding the lining and stuff. He thought it was amazing that women’s bodies know exactly what to do every single month.
He then wanted to know about what age you should have sex. Godamighty, come on pizza guy. “I don’t know…it depends on the person. You should be old enough to understand all of the consequences and be able to make an informed decision. It’s not something to take lightly. And, also, some people want to wait until marriage for religious reasons, so you can if that’s something you feel strongly about, but if not, that’s fine. You just have to wait until the right girl comes along. Or guy,” I added, not wanting to send the wrong message.
“Well, you’re young and haven’t started going through puberty and having those thoughts and feelings yet, I don’t think, so when the time comes, you may be attracted to guys. Or girls. I don’t know. Whichever sex you’re attracted to is fine, of course.”
He nodded and was quiet for a few moments.
Come on pizza guy, before he asks something else, for the love of God.
“Thank you for finally giving me answers,” Little Man told me. “Now I know that one of my theories was correct.”
“Ah…so this is what you put together?”
He nodded. “Yep. When you didn’t give me a straight answer before, I thought about everything that I know about men and women and how babies are made and came up with my own answers. My first theory was penis to vagina; my second theory was butt to butt; my third theory was penis to butt; my last theory was that maybe my balls…well, testicles, but I like to call them balls…had a device that would come out when it’s time to make a baby and be like a cannon that shoots the fertilizer at a woman’s eggs like cannonballs.”
I died laughing. When I relayed the conversation to my husband later, he said that was an image that would be burned into his memory forever. And I guess that’s as good a reason as any to go ahead and tell a kid how things happen when he asks — so he isn’t left thinking he has testicular cannons. Thank god he didn’t Google that.
I wrapped up The Talk by telling him to let me know if anymore questions come up and that I’ll be straight with him. He had no further questions at the time. The pizza came a few minutes later. He turned on the TV to a repeat of The Big Bang Theory, and for fuck’s sake, it was an episode talking about masturbating. By the grace of God, he didn’t ask about that.