The Awkward Time My Son Asked About the Birds and the Bees

When my son was in third grade we were driving to WalMart and he was telling me about a book he had read called “8000 Things You Should Know.” He had read the book cover to cover and learned some pretty interesting facts that he enjoyed sharing with me. I, however, was not prepared for one of them.

“Mom, I know how the reproductive system works.”

What in the holy hell?!?! I was gearing myself up for this conversation that I assumed would be coming in a few years. Not on a Saturday trip to the Wal-Mart!

“Um. You do?” I tried to sound nonchalant. I’m pretty sure I sounded like Elmo.

“Yes. Did you know that men have sperm in their penis?  And did you know that sperm fertilizes eggs?  Which are inside a woman?”

“Weeeeellllll...” For some reason I had suddenly started talking in slow motion. Attempting to stall, I suppose.  “Yes I diiiiiiiiiid know that………..  Where did you hear that?”

“From my “8000 Things You Should Know” book.”

Oh Lord Almighty! There aren’t 8000 other, more appropriate for 9 year old, facts that could have been chosen? I definitely should have previewed that damn book, but who wants to read a book called “8000 Things You Should Know”?!

It didn’t stop there.

“Mom? How does the sperm get to the eggs?”

“Weeeeeeellllllll……” again with the slow motion talking.

“I mean, how do men get it out of their penises? Do they pee it out? And how does the pee get to the egg? Does the man cut a hole in the woman?”

Oh, this confused boy needed some help.

I took a deep breath.

“So, you know how women have a hole that is called a vagina?”

I’m pretty sure my face was bright red. I was not at all prepared for this conversation.

“Well, the man puts his penis in the woman’s vagina and the sperm comes out and fertilizes the egg.”

“That’s gross. But how does the…”

“IT JUST COMES OUT! HEY! Look at that airplane over there!!”

There was blessed silence for about 4.6 seconds.

Then, “Mom? So, like, when does all that happen? Like, does a man just walk up to a woman and then his penis goes in her vagina?”

Oh for the love of all that is holy, I could not even handle any more of this conversation.

“No, usually a man and a woman fall in love and then get married and decide to have a baby and then it happens.” We’ll just go with that version for now, mmmkay?

“So, as soon as you get married you have to do that?”


“Did dad do that to you?”

“Well, that’s how you make a baby, so….. HEY I KNOW!!!! WANNA GET SOME FRO YO?????”

And then, he whipped his head around and stared at me in abject horror.

“Wait. So you and dad did that three times?!?!?!”

My face was by now probably almost purple. “Um, well, yep, I have three kids. OH LOOK, WE’RE HERE!!!”

I had never before been so happy to pull into a Wal-Mart parking lot and I never will be again.

Thankfully, the subject was dropped as we maneuvered ourselves around a lot of spandex and visible butt cracks.

Later that night, after I had time to process, I said “buddy, I like that you ask questions and I am happy to answer them. If you have any more questions about this sort of topic I want you to feel free to ask them ...

... just please ask your dad.”