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11 Body Conversations I Never Expected to Have with My Son

best illustration of a sperm in a top-hat ever, from "Where Did I Come From"

Long before I was a single mom, I knew I would be the one explaining the body and privacy and sex and health and oozy-fluid stuff to my son. I was well-prepared by a mother who gave me Where Did I Come From? before kindergarten and gave many of The Talks in a casual, factual manner. I read up, I talked to other parents, reviewed anatomy illustrations, read some more. When the time came, I took a deep breath and just started talking, whether it was about penises or conception or periods, until he changed the subject or made disgusting body noises or pretended to fall asleep.

While I had a detailed five-tiered sex talk prepared for various stages of age-appropriateness and situation, I didn’t really know all of the in-between stuff we’d need to discuss. Here are some bits about those boy bits I am not sure any mom knows she will be discussing. And how often. And in detail.


  • Why his balls aren’t actually the bouncy kind 1 of 11
    Why his balls aren't actually the bouncy kind
    I believe most boys take approximately four minutes outside the womb before they locate their penises. Then they let out a huge sigh of "OK, THAT'S there" relief and get back to nursing. But when my son discovered his scrotum and testicles, there were many questions, including how the Super Balls get in there. I am not sure who introduced him to the term "balls" but I am the one who had to (ahem) burst that bubble.
  • What SBD stands for 2 of 11
    What SBD stands for
    Sadly, silence back there invites a small boy to make lots of disgusting noises with his hands and mouth. Awesome.
  • Why all boobs weren’t made big 3 of 11
    Why all boobs weren't made big
    Back in the day when he mindlessly patted my bosom while we talked or read books together, he once stopped abruptly and said, "I love all breasts because they are big and soft and pink." And since they are clearly not all those things, it was swiftly addressed with, "Breasts come in all shapes and sizes and they change over time." It signaled to me that the boy was noticing bodies other than his own, and it was time to get bring those age-appropriate body books back out.
  • Why people keep asking when he’s going to cut his hair 4 of 11
    Why people keep asking when he's going to cut his hair
    My kid is fascinated by his own hair, particularly since he's chosen to grow it out. His new surfer style makes him delighted, soothes his need to individuate and looks super-cute. But he's baffled (as am I) when adults pipe up about when his mama is going to take him to get it all chopped off.
  • That some kids really do have mustaches (and unibrows) 5 of 11
    That some kids really do have mustaches (and unibrows)
    I clearly remember entering the sixth grade and being shocked at how many boys grew sparse mustaches over the summer. As a parent, I'm even more shocked to see kids with facial hair a-blazin' in primary grades. And I am not the only one who has noticed...
  • Why adults say his skin is white when it is clearly peach 6 of 11
    Why adults say his skin is white when it is clearly peach
    My son had a very gifted pre-K teacher who did a unit called "We Are All Shades of Brown." That spoke to me and stuck with him, and he is still working out why we too often polarize who is "white" and who is "black" without considering the continuum.
  • How to use a cup 7 of 11
    How to use a cup
    OK, I admit, I called in my father for this big-guns (or rather, peewee) issue. But I am sure I will have to address why the package will inevitably say extra-small.
  • Why it is such a big deal we have a President of color 8 of 11
    Why it is such a big deal we have a President of color
    We talk politics often, especially in election years. My son rallied to have his pre-K class conduct a mock election (well, he was convinced it was the real deal) and four years later, he's fascinated by the differences in the candidates. He also wants to know why I get teary when I think about how he will not remember a time in his life when there hadn't been a POTUS of color. Next up: Normalizing a woman in the oval office for this generation.
  • How to decide what body parts to shave 9 of 11
    How to decide what body parts to shave
    I guess my kid is pretty concerned about getting (and whether to stay) hairy. There has been much confusion about why many men and women shave different areas of their body, which was only exacerbated by seeing Olympians stripped clean of hair. I guess I didn't make that question any easier with my feminist response about choosing to remove or embrace the hair on your body as you see fit, no matter what gender you claim.
  • Why some adults sleep naked (and why he can’t) 10 of 11
    Why some adults sleep naked (and why he can't)
    The sex talk didn't faze my kid. Oh, no. It was the illustration of the couple in bed together that threw him way off. "WAIT!" he yelled out. "THEY ARE NAKED IN BED?!" He barely heard my answer before barraging me with questions about when and where he could sleep sans Lego Star Wars jammies. I momentarily considered explaining the different sides of the issue of kids sleeping naked, and then I just blurted out that he was welcome to do that in college. It was a good enough answer. For five minutes, until he wanted to know if he could get a dorm room alone because a roommate would make it all very tricky.
  • What really gets waxed 11 of 11
    What really gets waxed
    I tried to be vague. I tried to be vague. But that wouldn't do and I finally had to (sorry in advance for this) just rip the bandage off and tell him where the hair can be stripped away.
    Read more about that parenting moment here.

What body-part conversations took you by parenting surprise?

Read more Sassafrass Says So:

Would you let your mother be your surrogate?

Look out, Honey Boo Boo: Moms’ real-life nicknames for their sons

The best advice for introducing your kid to your boyfriend

 

Read more of Jessica’s adventures as a single mom in the city at Sassafrass.

Meet up on Twitter. 

Ogle shoes together on Pinterest.

 

 

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