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Facts of Life

Someone should have told me that today was “National Visit The Zoo Day” so that I could have just stayed home. Trish and I took our 6 kids for a little impromptu field trip. As homeschoolers, we usually have the place to ourselves during the week, but not today. I actually had to stalk an elderly couple as they walked ever so slowly out to their car, so I could secure a parking place in the same zip code as our zoo.

The monkeys were an exhibit choice popular with all 6 children. Because, I suppose, they can all relate. We were pressed up against the fence, watching two spider monkeys frolic and pick bugs off of each other. A crowd had gathered all around us, and we all delighted in the monkey mischief.

During a moment of silence, I heard Cailey’s 6 year old voice ring out loud and clear, “WHOA, LOOK AT THAT HANGING DOWN THING. OFF HIS BOOTY. HE’S GOT A HANGING DOWN THING. SEE? RIGHT THERE. A HANGING DOWN THING. OFF HIS BOOTY. WHAT IS THAT?” At this point, Trish, who was closest to her, tried to quietly shush her. Which I know from experience, only makes her louder.

I heard unmistakable snickering rippling through the crowd. I whispered to Trish, “psst, let’s make a run for it.” Alas, we were hemmed in, and would have caused even more of a commotion had we attempted a hasty retreat. Especially if we had left Cailey behind. Which, I will admit, was a temptation.

I sent up a silent prayer, as I noticed the primates paying more attention to one another. “Oh dear God, please NOT THAT. Anything but THAT.”

Then I busied myself by alphabetizing the interior of my purse. Avoidance is one of my favorite coping mechanisms.

When I looked up, we had cleared the exhibit. No one was there except our 6 children, and two uninhibited monkeys.


I remember my mother didn’t negotiate moments like that well either, in my youth. When I was about 8, she made the unfortunate decision to take my 5 year old brother and me to see Romeo and Juliet. The film version.

And by the way, I carried a torch for Leonard Whiting well into my teens.

During the pivotal kissing scene between the fair Juliet and her Romeo, my brother blurted out. loud enough for the ticket takers to hear, “LOOK MOM, THEY’RE MAKING A BABY!”

Because every 5 year old knows that anytime you kiss someone, you get a baby. And we were raised in a good Catholic home. Sex was never a topic on the table. Or anywhere else for that matter.

My brother continued, because he reasoned, mom must not have heard him. “MOOOOM. SEE? THEY ARE MAKING A BABY.” She simply slunk down into her seat, and attempted to cover his mouth with her greasy- from-all-the-popcorn hand.

I remember being equally horrified. WHAT? Because by the tender age of 8, I had already kissed a neighbor boy.


I know I can’t bury my head in the sand my purse forever. I’ll have to have “that talk” at some point.

Sooner, I fear, if we continue to frequent the zoo.

But, fiddle dee dee. I’ll think about it tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day.

Um, any good curriculum y’all might recommend?


31 Responses to Facts of Life

  • Too funny! My daughter used to proclaim to everyone who would listen that she knew how to tell a girl horse from a boy horse. Anyone who humored her and asked how, she would happily explain, “Boy horses have hair on their feet!”

  • bwahahahahaha

    No good curriculum.

    I personally feel that nothing compares to the face to face talk.

    Put your big girl panties on, and do it.

  • National Geographic & Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom was where I learned things. I do not ever remember getting “the talk.”

    Sonlight (and I’m sure others) offers a series called “God’s Design for S@x” with age appropriate books. They’re fine, but you still, you know, have to read the books with them. Since I have boys, I read a couple books had a couple talks, and then abdicated and turned the issue over to their father.

    Apparently we got the point across because if there’s a question all we have to say is, “Remember that grown-up married stuff…” and Roo, especially, says “Never mind, got it!” and, voila! Conversation is over. Thankfully girls are barely a step above gross here.

    Can’t wait until you share about menses with the girls.

    Good luck!

  • We have taught, since the beginning, our FOUR boys the appropriate anatomical term for what makes them boys. Questioned once that wouldn’t it be odd for them to walk up to someone at age four and ask if they have a p****, I said no more awkward then having them walk up to the same person and ask if they have a wee wee.

    That said, I was grateful this year when I didn’t get out my video camera for Easter egg decorating. Because my two year old decided to discuss manhood after his diaper change. I have p****? And Michael? And …. all the way to the Uncle who had come to decorate eggs, and his girlfriend (also present) does not!!

  • We visited the zoo once in the early spring and the mandrills (like monkeys) were definitely in mating season. There was one that kept copulating with every female around.

    And my 6-year-old yells out, “Look, they’re playing horsie! They’re playing horsie!”. We made a beeline for the exit as soon as we could, where she proceeded to tell the ticket taker at the exit, “We saw monkeys playing horsie!”. That’s life, I guess.

    Visit To Love, Honor and Vacuum today!

  • We had one of *those* moments at the zoo once where we saw a zebra with…ahem!…5 legs.

    We also had the extremely dry, technical talk with the 6-year-old who kept asking questions about babies with the help of the Atlas of the Human Body which included lots of dry, technical pictures

  • We had someone come and talk to our MOPS group yesterday about how to talk to your kids about the birds and the bees. It starts when they’re little bitties on the changing table giving them the correct terminology. Give them the answers to the questions they ask (after finding out what they know–you may have to correct some knowledge.) It’s our responsibility. If we don’t tell them, where will they get their information? And what sort of attitude will they pick up from where they get their information? Like someone said earlier, pull up your big girl panties and just do it! 😉

  • Oh it is much worse when they know all the correct body names and still think it’s funny to talk very loudly and giggle uncontrollable about them! Like the time we were in a very crowded Wal Mart bathroom and I was trying not to sit on the nasty toilet seat and my very loud 4 year old boy informs me and all those in the bathroom “You don’t have a PENIS you have a GI-NA SIT DOWN, mommy!” I heard laughter even after we left the ladies room!

  • Hilarious! Once right in the middle of a mall my oldest — he must have been 6 or 7 at the time — looked at my chest and asked, “Mom, why do women have balls on their chest?” When he was 3 I nursed his baby brother, but he must have forgotten. I don’t know why he all of a sudden noticed them.

    I know the prevailing sentiment is to teach the proper anatomical terms, but that always bothered me when they were little. If you have a code name there is a chance people won’t know what they are talking about when they say it and it will go right past them. 😉

  • My advice? Start with the anatomy and wait for the other layers of meaning (mating), that’s really all she was asking about anyway. It’s we parents who have the adult perspective to deal with. Say that God made it, and that’s the way he wanted it, and he said it was good!

  • I have boys – I made my husband do it….:) Just kidding..sort of. I don’t have a problem with proper terminology. I think we get too hung up with what other people think.

    For what it’s worth – I think Nancy hit the nail on the head!

  • YES, in fact. Passport to Purity. There were a few parts I skipped, (four minutes of TOO MUCH INFORMATION for my taste, was replaced with the book The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made).

    Good luck with that. Fortunately the anticipation of telling them is always worse than the actual telling. You’ll do great!

  • I don’t know why you’re asking for new curriculum when God just gave you the perfect one… Surely you could hold class with all those other parents around too. Maybe you’ll teach them a thing or two also. 🙂

    We went to the zoo about 6 years ago and that exact thing happened… I made a vow to never go back in the Spring because those monkeys went ALL THE WAY baby. All the way. In front of my 5 year old who is not afraid to ask questions either. Or point. Yeah. Those elephants were neat to see immediately though…

  • Oh my goodness. I needed that laugh this morning. When my son was 3 and just being potty trained he told the waitress at Village Inn that he had a p***s and girls have 2 butts. I wanted to dive under the table from embarassment cause he said it loud enough for half the restuarnt to hear. Good luck with the talk!

  • The last time we visited the San Diego Wild Animal Park, the lions got it on right in front of the glass enclosure.

    My daughter, four at the time, thought it was cute that they were “hugging.” And truthfully? The whole act took 30 seconds. After which, the male lion got up, walked away 5 feet and let out a huge roar.

    The women in the exhibit all looked upon the lioness with great pity after that.

  • I’m finding it’s better to let them ask and answer it with NO ADDED INFO. Found out my twerp of a nephew told my boys the mechanics of adam and eve, adam and steve, amanda and eve. Got to love the public schooled children.
    Anywho, we (yes, we, I wasn’t about to burn alone) told them tell us what was said and we’ll set the record straight. I don’t know who’s face was redder and if I ever see spawn of my brother he’s toast.

  • Hilarious.

    I got “the talk” when i was about 5 or 6 (can’t quite remember), when my mom was pregnant with my sister. She used the book “Where did I come from” which was pretty good, imo, and I think it works for ages 5-10 or so.

    I was so excited about this new knowledge that I took the book to show my boyfriend, who proceeded to color all the penises in the book blue.

  • I feel your pain. We have been spending time weekly at a friends farm. Last month the baby goats were born. Picture in your mind adorable pictures of the kids frolicking in the field trying to help catch the baby goats so that the moms can be milked. An innocent conversation about keeping the female babies and selling off the males leads to my 5 YO DD asking the difference. As farm folk are often quite frank about such matters, the difference was pointed out before a sound could escape my throat. Good, I thought to myself. That is over and I didn’t even have to handle it.

    Flash forward to our Spring Celebration when the kids got some tiny farm animals in their plastic eggs. My DD brings over a goat with horns and asks what it is. I realize that she has only seen the females and baby goats at the farm so I explain that this is a daddy goat with horns. DD proceeds to flip said plastic animal over and explain to all in earshot that it can’t be a male because it has no p****.

    There is more. Later we are shopping and the kids are complaining that they are hungry. My husband and I explain that we will get something to eat after we finish shopping. My DD responds, “That’s ok, we can just milk these (reaches towards my breasts) and ….(I put my hand over her mouth before she can finish.) Stifled laughter comes from everyone on our very busy aisle. These incidents have spawned several “talks” this week.

  • There is a series of books I LOVE, and I’m a tough critic. Read my review over at:


  • I had too much to say to leave it in a comment here! I wrote a whole post about this on my blog instead! Here’s the link if anyone is interested: http://racheariel.typepad.com/rachels_adventures/2008/03/the-birds-and-t.html

  • We were on a field trip at a deer farm and there was one “standing” on top of the other one. My daughter asked loudly what was going on and I said the one deer needed a better look at something and the other deer was helping him by allowing him to use her as a step ladder so to speak. Me chicken.

    Anyway as far as a talk goes….just plain honesty. And as long as you don’t act embarrassed or show that you might be uncomfortable with the subject then your kids will be just fine.

    We’ve always spoken honestly around the children and answered their questions with ease and it sure has helped them be comfortable enough to talk to us about things and actually with each other. Now they don’t get down to the nitty gritty, but my girls aren’t embarrassed for their brother to know they have cramps. I would have died if my father or brother knew!

  • we went to the zoo last week and i thought the same thing. don’t people still have to work on spring break? i’m a spoiled homeschooler.

  • check out Making Home she recommended a book for this very thing and has written a few posts on the topic so just go on over and check out her stuff! it is under the category ” christian sex- ed” she has a lot of very interesting topics to read also

  • I have to say that in our family, it isn’t a big deal, until someone makes it a big deal.

    WE chose to use correct termonology about body parts. We chose to not hide, mortified when any of our children caught sight of our naked bodies. (We do try to live modestly, respecting our bodies.) We chose to not be upset, angry or mortified when any of our children pointed to specific parts or asked questions about them. We chose to not make a big deal about it.

    We answer the questions posed, and do not elaborate. We talk to others who have walked this path before us and garner knowledge and come to the discussion prepared.

    And as for the birds and bees… well… I actually have “the book” that my mom gave me when it was time. And it was the one passed amongst her friends for their daughters. That and another on the topic are on the shelf in the family room. Our almost 6 year old and 4 1/2 year old have both “read” the books, asked questions, and continue to chose those books occasionally. Because of this there have been some awkward questions. But our openness and honesty have paved a path that will serve us later when the truly difficult discussions arise.

    Good luck. No matter what.

  • Um, good luck with that talk thing. But just so you know, Leonard is 57 now. Life is so cruel.

  • Man these comments are almost as good as the post. Hilarious.

    I once went to the zoo with the hubby and the gigantic gorillas proceeded to “get frisky.” If that wasn’t bad enough they “got frisky” right up against the glass. It was quite graphic and much like a train wreck. You knew you should leave or at least look away, but you just couldn’t. At least we couldn’t. Which perhaps reveals something very demented about us.

    Anyway, while I admire all the “just talk to them about it” comments I am too chicken to do so unaided. We like the Learning About Sex series. You can find them here

  • Oh you ARE a funny lady. Love the National take your kid to the zoo day quip!

    Our monkey at the zoo experience involved air born feces. That’s poop throwin’ Y’all!


  • Oh, y’all. I cannot remember when I’ve enjoyed the comments this much! You’ve given me much to giggle about. Inappropriately, of course.

    And of course, excellent advice as a side dish!!

  • At least your monkeys were just “playing horsie” as someone else said. Our daughter told EVERYONE the story of the monkey who pooped in his hand, took a bite of it & then spit it out. What is up with monkeys?! 😀 And what is up with our kids finding these behaviors fascinating?!

    Confessions of an Apron Queen: http://anapronaday.blogspot.com

  • Oh my GOODNESS! That is SOOOOO funny, and yet not funny at all! I would have been SOOO red in the face in that situation.

    My hubby has given the explicit version of “the talk” to our teenage son. It was just before he was a teen if I remember right. He has some cognitive disabilities, so there was no beating around the bush. We kinda had to tell it all!

  • Then there was the time I took care of my sibling’s children while their 4 YO was in the hospital having to be circumcised. The parents were of the matter-of-fact persuasion regarding sharing important information, however on the way home I realized they hadn’t been entirely successful when I heard the older son in the back seat informing everyone in the vehicle that his brother was in the hospital because he had to get his p**** cut off. (!!!!!) Luckily I was driving on a side street, thereby making it easier to avoid an accident when my eyes started to water from trying not to laugh.

    Collect these stories and you can write a book! haha