The other night, Jammy turned to me, pointed to his testicles (I was giving him a shower) and said, "Mama, I don't understand what this part of my winky is for. What does it do and what's inside it?"
Oooooookaaaaay....... let's run through all the possible things I could have said:
1) Well, that's called a scrotum. It holds your testicles.
If I say this, I'll need to answer all the inevitable follow-up questions ("What are testicles? What is sperm? etc.. etc...). I wasn't quite ready to follow the Straight Talk Express to its (pardon the pun) sticky conclusion, especially to a 4-year-old boy.
2) Ask your daddy, he's a boy like you so he knows.
If I say this, I'll look stupid and he'll think mama doesn't know anything. No thank you.
3) You don't worry about that, you'll find out when you're old enough.
It's a bit like Sarah Palin hiding from the press, isn't it? How easy it would be to just refuse to take questions -- but I'm not Sarah Palin and I couldn't do it. We've always been pretty open about our bodies and I'm happy that my kids are comfortable enough to ask me any kind of question. No, it's too much of a copout -- I have to give some kind of answer.
4) I don't really know, let's get on the internet and find out.
It's also tempting to say this, because I figure but it makes it less easier for me if I read someone else's words to the kids. Of course, it's still a cop-out (or a delaying tactic, at best).
In the end, I blurted out a combination of #1 and #4: "Those are your testicles, honey, and you know how your veins hold blood? Well, your testicles hold some kind of liquid that makes boys boys. Hmmm, I'm not really doing a good job of explaining it, am I? So let's go borrow a book about the body from the library and we'll look this up."
Boy, am I a loooooser. An incomprehensible answer and a delaying tactic (because of course, after the shower, Jammy forgot all about it). I need to get better at answering these kinds of questions because they're coming at me faster and faster. I don't have any experience in parent-child sex talk (as a parent and as a child) but I do know that I want to answer their questions honestly, in an age-appropriate manner. I'm bookmarking this post because I love the way Sarah E. answered her sons' questions -- direct, brief, humorous, in a way they could understand. Sarah, I might have to quote you directly the next time my kids ask me about this stuff.