The Questions Parents Dread Answering:

curious boy

Having three boys means I am exposed to way too many penises in a day.  (Did I get your attention?)  My kids tell me things about their privates I simply do not want to know.  They have names, personalities and are the topic of many of our conversations.  I think when you are a mom of all boys, it just comes with the territory.

That said, they are very comfortable talking about their private parts…clearly.  I want my kids to know they can tell me anything and not be embarrassed about their body, so I go along with it.  A naked body is beautiful and at their ages, they don’t understand there is a whole other side of the naked body, i.e. sex.

I am always very open with my kids and answer all their questions about whatever is on their mind.  If it involves a topic that I feel is inappropriate for them, I either steer the conversation in a different direction or confuse them with the technical truth.  When they ask me how many holes a woman has in her vagina (yes, this was an actual question), I tell them.  When they ask me the purpose of each hole, I tell them.  Either this sounds crazy to you or completely relatable.  What can I say, I am a woman raising three boys.

We take showers together, bathe together and they see me get dressed.  Even when it is that time of the month, they ask me how I am feeling and tell me they are sorry I am bleeding.  I just heard you say, “gross” out loud and to you, maybe it is.  Privacy in my house went out the window a long time ago.  I think it’s cute at that age to be concerned and be sensitive about how Mommy is feeling and understand why I act insane once a month.

However, when my husband asks me if I am getting my period, not so cute.  Wouldn’t you agree?  I know this all sounds like I have no boundaries, and maybe I don’t, but one day, my boys are going to be very sensitive to a woman’s needs and become well versed in what it means to be a woman.  Whoever they end up with is going to be one lucky gal…or guy.  (Don’t want to assume anything.)  Naturally they have questions and I am SO happy they come to me verses getting their information from friends.  I know as they get older, that will definitely change but at least they know nothing is off limits with me.

Recently they asked me something that made me initially panic.  Luckily, I have the gift of internal panicking while demonstrating a cool exterior.  What’s that duck saying?  “Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath…” As a mom, I strive to be that duck.

It all started one night at the dinner table when the boys asked me if “gay” was a bad word.  I immediately put the abash on that, explaining it was absolutely not a bad term and that I was dumbfounded why they would even think that.  In the past, any time my kids told me they wanted to marry their best friends whom were boys, I never once said, “boys don’t marry girls” or anything of the sort, because I personally believe every person has the right to be with whomever they want.  Instead, I did say, “that would be great…he is such a nice boy”.  So since I never made a big deal out of being gay, because I don’t think it is a big deal, they were not completely shocked or confused by the definition of the word.  I don’t know where they heard that “gay” was even a bad word (which upsets me) but I always told them no matter who they are, what they do and who they love, I will always support them and be their biggest fan.

During my definition, the word “sex” came up, but I meant it as a synonym for gender.  The minute it came out, I regretted it, because soon after, my seven year old then asked me the dreaded question, “Mom, what is sex?”  WHAT???  No, I need a few more years for that!  Again, there I was, trying to be that duck.

I will not destroy my son’s innocence and the fact he has a new name for his penis every week. I will not ruin that he asks me to tell his penis good night.  (Appropriate, no, but funny and immature, yes.)  Be the duck, be the duck.

I of course answered him with a question of, “what do YOU think sex means?”.  I wasn’t avoiding the question (sort of), but I was so curious as to what he thought it meant.  When he told me I almost fell off my chair. “Well”, he said, “It’s when the penis and vagina kiss.”  I didn’t know what emotion to feel.  Part of me wanted to laugh hysterically and the other part of me was concerned as to where he even came up with that.  That is borderline truth territory.  Be the duck. be the duck.

I literally had no words for what seemed like five mites but because I was “being the duck”, I didn’t have five minutes to adjust.  I did not confirm nor deny his claim, but my oldest son, who is 9 and an angel sent from above, chimed in, “There is no way that is true.  That is disgusting.” Thank you, thank you, thank you my angelic child.  My angelic child then quickly turned into a demon when he said, “Why do you always change the channel when someone mentions sex.  I hear it all over the television.  Why is that and what is it?”.  Really demon child?  Um, well, uhhh…

Thoughts of my next move were interrupted by the doorbell and UPS delivering a package, I kid you not.  What timing? Thank you UPS.  You are my new angel.

I thought when I came back to the dinner table, we would move on to a different subject but clearly this was too interesting for them to shift their focus.  I decided that even though I always believe in being honest with my kids, seven is way too young for the truth in this case.  I didn’t lie though, but instead re-routed my testimony.  “Wow, that is a big question.  What made you ask that?”.  Sounds silly right?

My son said another child a few years older than him told him.  Unless I lock my kids in the house all day with no social interaction and no internet, they are going to learn things from other kids.  That’s just life and a part of growing up.

Trying to figure out how I was going to relay our dinner conversation to my husband, who was traveling at the time, was going to be a challenge.  I was alone, the only adult at the table, holding off laughter along with a bit of humiliation and trying to balance it all with some truth.  I so wished he was there.  It was truly a memory making moment we are going to look back on and crumble to the floor laughing.

My boys certainly throw things at me that make me laugh, shake my head and often baffle me. They are curious little creatures and curious minds want to know.  Who knows what topic they will ask me about next.  What I do know is as they grow, our talks will be more and more honest and real.  I won’t be able to pray for UPS to come knocking on the door but I am okay with that. I think any parent hopes for their child to be open and honest with them when they are little kids, teenagers and even adults.  I believe it works both ways.  My little guys can ask me anything and it’s quite obvious they do…and then some.  Oh the joys of boys!