This past October I took on the challenge of explaining to my almost seven year-old son where babies come from. It was an interesting discussion that from time to time we have revisited to cover new ground and or review the basic facts.
A couple of my friends have asked/suggested that perhaps I should have waited until he was older to engage in this talk, but I disagree. I didn't want to lie to him about this. No crazy stories about storks or any sort of make believe. The bare minimum was enough to satisfy most of his curiosity, although he did ask me to explain in greater detail what positions are required to have sex.
It was a relatively innocent question along the lines of "dad, I don't get how you put it in. Do you have to stand up?"
So I told him that you could stand up or lie down. In fact, that is almost verbatim to what I said. He nodded and said ok and we went back to playing with his Lego set. Little did I know that a short time later I was going to have another sex talk of a different nature with him.
Let me set the scene for you. He and a few of his cousins are watching bloopers like this on YouTube. I sit in the room watching with them. After three or four of I decide that I want a cup of coffee and leave the room. Before I leave I instruct them that they are not to surf to any other website without an adult in the room, but they can click on another bloopers show.
As you can imagine this is where things went awry. I should have asked them to wait for me or had one of the other adults go in, but I figured that the bloopers were innocent enough and they were quiet. If you are a parent you can appreciate what quiet is like, especially after a good 10 hours with them.
In fact it initially appeared that things were fine because it only took all of ten minutes for them to follow me out of the room and that is when I found out that things had gotten farther afield than I would have liked.
"Dad, I just saw the funniest thing!" I looked at my son and said tell me about it. "Dad, his penis was in her mouth!"
I didn't want to blow up or make it into a bigger deal than it needed to be so with some effort I maintained a poker face and listened as he gleefully explained what he had seen.
"She took his penis and put it in her mouth." I carefully asked why he thought this was funny. He responded by saying that he knew the man peed in her mouth. I asked him if he saw that happen and he said no. I asked if he saw anything else.
He said no, just that the man smiled and that was how he knew he must have peed because sometimes when you pee it feels really good so you smile. He didn't ask any questions so I let it drop and went over to the computer to try and figure out how they had stumbled onto this.
It seems that during my absence they clicked on a YouTube link called "Porn Bloopers." I felt better knowing that they had innocently stumbled upon this. Since that time we have taken steps to see that this incident cannot be repeated. The primary one is just making sure that the kids are constantly monitored when they are on the computer.
The hardest part of the experience was responding to a question that my son asked in front of my mother. "Dad, is that something you like to do?" I could feel my mother's eyes upon me. I took a deep breath and asked him to repeat the question.
"Dad, I want to know if you like doing that?" I looked at him and asked him why he wanted to know. "Because that looks like a grownup thing and you like doing grownup stuff."
I breathed a sigh of relief and told him that I enjoy doing all sorts of grownup stuff. He smiled and said "that is what I thought" and went off to play with his cousins. His place was taken by my mother.
But that is a post for a different day.