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Sperm Angst

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Jennifer Ginsberg: "How did I get inside of your tummy?" My son Shane and I were driving to the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles for our Saturday outing.

mother and her son

I thought the dreaded "sex talk" wasn't supposed to happen for several more years. Shane is only 4, and I am certainly not prepared for this yet.

I decided to be as honest and clinical as possible. "Daddy has something inside of his body called sperm. My body makes tiny little eggs. One day they got all mixed up together and you started to grow into a little baby inside of my tummy."

Not too bad! Amazing that with all the brain cells I destroyed in college, I can still remember this 3rd grade biology lesson.

But I wasn't off the hook yet. "How did Daddy's sperm get inside of your body?"

There is nothing more annoying to me than parents who use made-up words for children's body parts. I find it patronizing and demeaning. I am of the firm belief that even the youngest child deserves a truthful and dignified response to their questions.

When Shane was 2 he was watching me change his newborn sister's diaper and he had a profound lesson in human anatomy. I will never forget how he looked at her vagina in horror and exclaimed, "Mommy, what happened to Kiana's penis?"

I knew there was no way around his "sperm" question. I took a deep breath and said, " The sperm got out of his penis and into my vagina. It found my egg and that was how you were made."

He was not going to let me off the hook so easily. "How did the sperm get out of Daddy's penis?"

I called my husband on my cell phone and handed it to Shane. "That one is for Daddy to answer."

I surrender!


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