I wasn’t ready for the “how are babies made” question

Miss E. has been asking for a sibling for quite some time now. I have tried to explain that while that ship has sailed in our house, some day she may have a baby cousin, but that’s not really flying for her. She specifically asked for a sister and I proceeded to start to bumble through something about chromosomes and then stopped. I paused and finally just told her science doesn’t quite work that way, so even if we did have another baby, she might be disappointed.

This conversation led to “Just exactly HOW does that baby get in your tummy anyway?”

Me: Blink. Blink.

Her: Mom? HOW?

So I went into a small explanation of how women have an egg and when the egg meets a seed in your uterus, a baby can grow from there. I was really, really hoping I didn’t have to explain the rest.

Lucky for me, she showed an expression of total understanding and said “So you put an egg in the bowl, stir it up with the seed and bake it?”

Ummmmm….not exactly.

Then, OMG, you guys, she said “you put the egg and seed together and SWALLOW it?” I tried really hard not to bust out laughing. After regaining my composure, I promised to show her a picture the next day and we could talk about it more. (My children have a habit of asking really tough questions at bedtime. I think it’s a stalling tactic.)

So the next day, I turned to Google and found the classic biology photo of a woman’s internal anatomy, sat both kids down and explained how the egg moves into the uterus from the fallopian tubes and potentially meets a seed. Then I said “any questions?” and prayed to every god that ever was that the answer was no.

It was. Whew.

It’s coming. I know it’s coming. It may not be today or tomorrow, but I’m going to have to sit down with them both and explain the technicality of how babies are made and mention sex. I’m going to have to use the words vagina and penis in the same sentence. (Please don’t make me!!)

As much as I dread it though, I know that the anticipation is the worst part. This is what I want. I want all the initial information to come from me (and my husband.) I want them to know the facts before some kid passes down information they heard from their older sibling on the school bus or playground. I want them to come to me with these types of questions.

And I know it’s going to take more than one conversation. We never quite know how much they are paying attention, do we? Half the time I think the kids aren’t listening and they’ve heard every word. Other times, it goes right over their heads.

My kids have already heard the word “puberty”. (Thanks, Inside Out.) Both kids know that they’ll get hair all over their body and that their armpits will get stinky at some point.

Just recently, Miss E, who is learning to read, was in the bathroom yelling, “T.A.M.P.A.X. – what does that spell????” I briefly tried to explain what they were for and at the mere mention of blood, her face was that of sheer horror. She quickly changed the subject. But I wanted to be honest. I don’t want to hide stuff from them.

5 year old girl with a puzzled facial expression

It is my hope of hopes that if I’m honest with them with these early-stage awkward questions, they’ll continue to come to me when they need more information on way more awkward subject matter. I know when they hit middle school, I’m going to be wishing all I had to do was say penis and vagina. Thank goodness that in times of pure loss of words, there’s always a book that can help in a pinch.

How did you handle the “how babies are made” question?

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  1. Jessica says

    So funny! That was the time I was so grateful for having in vitro babies! I said that a doctor took the part of Mommy that makes a baby and the part of Daddy that makes a baby, mixed them together in a petri dish and then put them inside Mommy’s body. It worked like a charm!

  2. Lisa says

    “So you put an egg in the bowl, stir it up with the seed and bake it?” made me snort out loud. But “you put the egg and seed together and SWALLOW it?” has me doubled over in laughter in the Honda Service Department and people are now moving away from me, because they think I’m a lunatic.


  3. says

    I’m dreading this with my daughter! My son is older, and he was always very matter of fact, so the scientific answer was best for him. She—- She will want a video, popcorn, and a drawn diagram. Ughhhh!

  4. Malia says

    The one thing I feel like we did “right” was to sit our kids down before they started middle school and get the sex talk dialogue started. We began with some basics about anatomy and terminology and encouraged them that if/when they heard stuff from their friends that they were confused about, they could always come to us and ask without fear of embarassment or ridicule. But yeah, it’s never easy no matter what age they are. :-)

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