Wednesday 9 November 2011

The Talk: Let's Talk Vagina

A lot of people have a lot of different philosophies about how to handle The Talk with their kids and I'm not here to say one is better than the other.  Whatever philosophy you have it is probably ridiculous because nothing feels sillier than trying to explain sex to your kids no matter what.  For me The Talk is not just one excruciatingly awkward informational hour but a painfully ongoing conversation that sometimes borders on the inappropriate.  And what better way to handle my parenting PTSD than to use it as blogfodder?  And because this Talk is an ongoing conversation I can probably stretch it out over a few posts.

And so I present to you the first instalment of The Talk: Let's Talk Vagina

It all began at the tender age of 3 1/2 when Frick was trying to figure out the differences between boys and girls.  It was very confusing for him.  Every time he thought he had it there turned out to be some kind of exception.

"Girls have long hair and boys have short hair, right Mommy?"

"But what about Gramma?  All your Grammas have short hair and they're girls."

"Oh.  Right.  Ummm, boys wear pants and girls wear dresses?"

"I'm wearing pants right now."

"Oh.  Girls have boobies?"

"Girls don't get boobies until they grow up and we don't wait until they're grown up to know they're girls."

"Well then how can you tell?"

"Because boys have a penis, like you do, but girls have a vagina."

"A va- What?!?  No they don't!  They have a penis!"

"No, they don't.  I don't have a penis!"

"Yes you do!  I've seen it!"


"But I don't have one!"

"Yes, you do!  It's a hair penis!"

Oh boy.  It's really amazing how a blank slate of a brain will interpret information sometimes.  Apparently Frick's young mind needed to interpret my pubic hair as a "hair penis" because that was the only thing that made sense to him.  Explaining this was going to be tricky.  Also, I really needed to trim my lady garden.

"No honey, that is not a penis.  I have a vagina.  It's very different from a penis and it is what makes me a girl."

(Skeptical) "No.  Penis."

In this moment I am mentally struggling to find some way to explain this to Frick so that he will not only understand but also be convinced.  The only thing I could come up with was to show him a picture.  I was pretty sure my pregnancy book had diagrams in it so I told him to sit tight while I went to find the book.

Utterly unconvincing.
Frick easily understood the penis diagram.  That was familiar.  But the diagram for the vagina, with the uterus and ovaries made absolutely no sense.

"You do NOT have that!  You're tricking me!"

"I do.  You just can't see them because they're inside of me."

"Penis!  Hair Penis!!!"

Once Frick gets an idea in his head, his brain locks onto it like a pitbull.  You almost have to pry the idea out of its stiff dead jaws.  Diagrams were not going to cut it.  He was going to have to see the real thing.  There was nothing else for it.

I sure as hell wasn't going to show him mine.  Besides, he'd apparently seen it before and that's what got us into this mess in the first place.  I knew all I would get from the internet was porn.  So there was nothing left but whatever was in my pregnancy book.  And all of those vaginas were in various stages of childbirth.


.... at least they left no room for ambiguity.

After possibly traumatizing my son with these graphic, but thankfully black and white (and therefore artistic) photos of babies emerging from vaginas, he no longer doubted.  He was quiet for a moment.



"I'm glad I'm a boy!"


  1. You are a very brave woman and wise too I would say. I do not look forward to this "talk" but I think being honest as you were is the right approach. You can't really hide it because they either have one or the other and are going to find out eventually - may as well be from us!

  2. YAY for vaginas!! My youngest wondered at first why daddy didn't have two butts like hers(this is when showering with daddy was no longer allowed) ... I said Cause daddy is a boy... boys don't look like that... she says, "sssooo, daddys vagina fell out?" All I could say was "yep"

  3. "daddys vagina fell out?" Bwaahahaha! That's hilarious!

  4. I plan on having many talks with the kids, I have no problem with them being aware of their bodies. Andrew wants us to avoid it as much as possible, but I was raised to never be ashamed of the human body and I'd like my kids to have that. Also, kids will decide something for themselves, might as well make sure they're kind of right.

  5. That was my thinking, too. I don't want it to be left to their friends. When my boys are teenagers I want to be talking about respecting women and protecting themselves from disease. I don't want to be having to correct misinformation about mere mechanics. They'd run screaming from the room before I could ever get to the "don't sleep around" part.