Awkward Convos with Kids: The Umteenth Installment, Family Dinner

Me: Ok. So tell me something you learned today.

J: We’re learning about physics in science.

Me: Cool! Can you explain it?

J: It’s all about motion like what goes up must come down and objects in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an opposite force.

Me: Right. Like your seatbelt.

J: Or a windshield.

K: Well that’s morbid.

Max: I learned that rotation of mass plus friction equals curve.

J: Like a curve ball?

Max: Yes. In theory.

K-Mad: What’s a boner?

Max: Not anything appropriate to discuss at the dinner table.

Me: I’ll explain it, but I’m just curious, where did you hear that?

K: Some of my friends asked if I knew what it was.

J: This is cringy.

Me: Ok. We’ll discuss those details later.

K: So do you know what it is?

Max: I do.

Me: So what is it?

Max: It’s when a boy has an erection.

K: I still don’t know what that means.

J: It means hard.

K: What’s hard?

Me: A penis.

K: Why would a penis be hard?

J: May I be excused?

Me: Are you done eating?

J: I lost my appetite.

Max: I wonder why.

K: That’s what I want to know. Why?

Me: There are lots of reasons but the main science reason is so the penis can enter the vagina for reproduction.

K: And it needs an eruption?

Max: An erection.

J: The eruption comes later.

K: I’m really sorry I asked.

J: We all are, K-Mad.

Max: Soooo I’m just gonna clear the table and pretend we only discussed physics and not biology tonight at dinner.

J: We all are, Max. We all are.

Convos with Kids: Old School

The scene: Malt Shoppe

Young server to Max: Excuse me sir, but you need to remove your hat when inside this establishment.

Max complies.

Max, after thinking about it: Mom? Why do I need to take off my hat but Jordyn and Kennedy don’t?

Me: That’s a great question! It has to do with some very old school rules on etiquette and manners. Men had to remove their hats when entering a building and women didn’t. I’m honestly not sure why or when it originated. We should look it up.

Max: Well I don’t think it’s fair.

Me: I honestly don’t disagree with you. In fact, when I was in high school, my teacher made a guy in my class remove his hat but not me. They got into an argument over fairness and he wound up getting a detention for arguing with the teacher. I felt horrible even though it wasn’t my fault.

Max: Yeah. But you probably should’ve taken off your hat too. But that still doesn’t make it fair or change the rule.

Kennedy: Well, ya know, boys can go topless at the pool and girls can’t do that so that’s not really fair.

Jordyn: But would you really want to be topless?

Kennedy: No. I don’t want anyone to see my nickles, but why is it ok if boys show theirs?

Max: Maybe it’s because boys don’t make milk in their breasts.

Jordyn: True. True. But usually only moms with babies make milk. Like our mom stopped making baby milk because we don’t need it anymore.

Max: Good point. So why do boys even have nipples?

Kennedy: Maybe it’s just for decoration.

Jordyn: Maybe it’s so they look more like women.

Max: Maybe the next level male people won’t even have them.

Jordyn: Mom, is that possible with evolution?

Server, approaching carefully: Um, can I get you anything else?

Me: An expert in history and evolution?

Convos with Kids: Parental Guidance

The following conversation took place at a family event while the other adults sat across the table, enjoying their own conversation…Thanks for the help…

Max: I’d really like to see that movie Little

Me: You mean the one where a grown up turns into a child again?

Max: Yeah. It looks like it’s SO funny.

Me: I agree but it’s not for you.

Max: What? Why? It’s rated pg13 and you let us watch pg13 all the time!

Me: The “pg” stands for parental guidance. Daddy and I do our best to guide you to appropriate movies. While Marvel and DC movies are pg13, we think you’re ready for the content. The content in the movie Little is a bit too mature for you, so no. You can’t watch it yet.

Max: Then can I see Deadpool? It’s a Marvel movie.

Me: Absolutely not. It’s rated R and the content is 100 percent not appropriate for you.

Max: Is there kissing?

Me: More than kissing.

Jordyn: Like sex?

Me: Yes. And horrible language, and a ton of gory violence.

Max: Like the f word?

Me: Worse

J: Like s-h-i-t?

Me: Way worse

J: Worse than h-o-e?

Me: Yes. And how do you know that word?

J: From Penelope*

Me: Do you know what it means?

J: Penelope said it’s when a girl has sex with a lot of different boys. Like if Amelia* had sex with Griffin* and then with Adam* and then…

Max: Or it’s a tool. Like for digging in the garden.

Me: It is a gardening tool. And yes, Jordyn, that is a terrible name to call a girl who behaves that way. Name calling is never ok. And besides, while you may not agree with her choices, they are hers to make. She is in charge of her body, just as you are responsible for yours.

J: Is there a word for a boy who has sex with a lot of girls?

Me: There is not a mean word for boys who make those choices. In fact, quite the opposite. While girls are often insulted for that behavior, boys are often celebrated.

Max: Well that doesn’t seem right or fair. I’m never calling a girl that. Girls need to be respected too. Plus, I still don’t understand why anyone would do that a lot.

Me: I’m proud of you for recognizing that, Max. That’s very mature of you.

Max: So now can I see Deadpool?

Me: Nice try, Bud.

*All names of children have been changed to protect the identity and privacy of my children’s friends/peers

Convos with Kids: Condiments

The following conversation is part of a larger ongoing child-driven conversation about puberty and everything that comes with it. We consistently answer all questions with age appropriate honesty and use correct anatomical language. That being said, most of these conversations catch me off guard and are quite awkward, albeit highly entertaining. Enjoy 😉

Jordyn: Mom, what’s a condiment?

Me: A condiment is something you use to add flavor to your food like ketchup, mustard, relish, or mayonnaise.

J: No. That’s not it. You know how I have that book about how babies are made?

Me, realizing she meant condom and not condiment and trying to keep my cool: Yep. We haven’t read it in a while.

J: Well the book said something that goes over the penis and I didn’t get it.

Me: Yes. That’s a condom. It’s a latex cover that goes over the penis to prevent the man’s sperm from entering the vagina. It can prevent pregnancy and can also prevent people from accidentally getting each other sick through intercourse.

Max: So a condom is a penis cover and condiment is a food cover. They’re synonymous!

Me, chuckling: I think you missed the point, Dude.

Max: So then is a condom a synonym with a balloon since they’re both made out of latex?

Me, laughing and thinking back to my childhood when one of my sisters may have made (extremely slippery and highly fragile) water balloons out of some condoms she found in my parent’s bedroom and my father’s subsequent reaction: No. Not even a little.

J: Well anyway, I was looking through the book last night about the S-E-X part.

Me: Okaaayyyy…

K: Mom, does S-E-X spell six?

M: Uh! Kennedy, the number six is S-I-X. S-E-X is sex.

K, upset with Max for correcting her: Well I don’t know what that is!

J: Kennedy, sex is when a man’s penis goes into a woman’s vagina to make a baby.

K: Eeeewwwww. I am NEVER doing that!

Max: Me neither. That’s gross. Besides, I don’t want to have a baby.

Me: Well that is totally respectable and absolutely your decision to make. Your bodies, your choices.

J: So the book said that sometimes people have sex even when they’re not trying to make a baby.

Me: Yeeessss….That’s true…

Max: But why? Why-in-the-world-would-anyone-do-that?

Me: Max, I’m honestly not ready to answer that for you right now. Let me think about the right way to discuss it with you and we can come back to that another time.

J: But that’s what a condom is for?

Me: Yes

Max: But not a condiment.

Me: Correct. Hey! Let’s clear the table and finish getting ready for school!

Convos with Kids: Birth Control

Before sharing, please know that we all struggle in some ways and I am acutely aware that many of my family, friends, and readers have struggled with family planning and pregnancy. I want you to know that I see you and I feel your pain and sorrow with you. I am here/hear for you, in anyway that you may need.

That being said, while I have had my own share of adversaries, for whatever reason, pregnancy (and getting my kids to eat well) have not been part of my own personal struggles.

The following awkward yet honest conversation took place over breakfast:

J: Kennedy, you know you were a fluke.

K: I am not a whale’s tail!

J: No. I mean an accident. Mommy and Daddy didn’t mean for you to be born.

Me: Whoa, J. Hold it right there. I think you need some clarification. First of all, Mommy and Daddy may not have planned to get pregnant with Kennedy, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t want her when we found out that I was pregnant with her. In fact, we didn’t really plan for any of you. You all just happened, and we were very happy when we found out about each of you. We were very lucky that it was so easy to get pregnant with each of you. For many women, it’s not that easy and it can be very sad for them.

J: But weren’t you on birth control when you got pregnant with Kennedy?

Me: Yes. But didn’t you ask for a little sister?

J: Fair point.

Max: What’s birth control?

Me: It’s a way that can prevent a woman from getting pregnant. It can also prevent people from getting sick from each other. Some kinds even keep people healthy. There are many different kinds of birth control but most aren’t a guarantee. There’s still a chance a woman can get pregnant, hence, Kennedy.

J: What kinds are there?

Me: Well, I walked into that one…So let’s start with the basics. First, there’s a condom.

Kennedy: What’s a condom?

Me: A condom is something that goes over a man’s penis and catches his sperm so it can’t go into the woman’s vagina.

Max: Cool. But I don’t have sperm yet.

Me: That’s true. But you will when you’re older.

Max: Well I’m not sure that I want my penis in someone’s vagina. Even when I do have sperm.

Me: Well that’s excellent. But should you change your mind, please talk to Daddy and me about it first.

Max: Ok! But not today.

Me: You got it.

J: Is that what you and Daddy used? That conga thing?

Me: No. A conga is a type of dance. A condom is the word you’re looking for.

Max: Con-dom… that’s like condominium! Do you hear it? Condom-indium. Do you think that’s the root word?

Me: No idea. We’ll have to look it up.

J: So what were you and Daddy using?

Me: I was taking birth control pills. It’s a medicine that a woman can take everyday. It tells her ovaries not to release an egg.

J: So your ovaries didn’t listen?

Me: Well, there are different kinds of pills with different medicines, depending on what your own body needs. I was switching from a pill that was safe for women who breast feed to one that was for those who don’t, since I had stopped nursing Max. It takes time for your body to adjust to new medication and that’s when Kennedy came to be.

Max: I really miss breast feeding.

K: I do not. But I do wish Mommy would by chocolate milk. That’s the best! Even the almond kind.

Max: That is an excellent point, Kennedy!

K: Well fank you, Maxwell.

J: So are there more kinds of birth control? Like how do you know you and Daddy won’t have any more babies?

Me: There are lots more kinds. We know because after talking about it for a long time and deciding it was the best decision for our family, Daddy had an operation that prevents the sperm from getting into my body. It’s called a vasectomy.

J: How does that work?

Me: A doctor cuts the tube that connects the testicles to the urethra so the sperm can’t come out.

J: So you can still get pregnant but Daddy can’t make babies?

Me: Yep. Pretty much.

Max: That’s ok. You can still adopt me a 17 year old brother. I’m ready. And I can show him how I can fart with my armpits like this!

Laughter ensues and life goes on…

Awkward Convos with Kids: A Natural Continuation

The following conversation is a natural continuation of previous conversations we've had with the kids regarding human bodies, reproduction, and how it all fits together. These conversations each begin with child lead curiosity and are followed by age appropriate discussions using honesty, real words for anatomy, and answering their questions, no matter how awkward or uncomfortable it may be.

This is not the first conversation we've had on the matter, and will not be the last. We believe in education over ignorance and communication over silence.

That being said, this is what I woke up to this morning:
Continue reading

Redefinition #24.7.365-7.11: Headbang

Headbang: verb

That moment when you’ve spent the day accomplishing every tedious task on your to do list including but not limited to laundry, dishes, vacuuming, dusting, taking out trash & recycling, straightening out the damn rug that’s always lopsided and actually gorilla gluing that shit to the pad underneath, finally changing all closet knobs in kid’s rooms because one has been broken since you purchased the house in May, showering and putting on real clothes and maybe some makeup, spending 1/2 hour on hold waiting to speak with IKEA customer service to find out if an item could be placed on hold until your husband arrives because he is driving from one IKEA to another because he’s not very good at planning ahead in his personal life {with a few exceptions that may or may not be explained in another post} and he’s actually quite surprised that the one item he wants isn’t available THE WEEK OF CHRISTMAS and his honest surprise doesn’t surprise you at all, but IKEA is a first come first serve store and shipping on that item costs 4x the price of the actual item so he drives to the next state and next IKEA with your 4yo while you continue to meal plan and make a shopping list for the upcoming holiday that you are hosting, cook dinner, set dinner table, get child’s CCD costume ready for the play that you just learned about this morning even though the play is tonight and you’re the parent from the other faith of your interfaith marriage, text fervently with class parents from public school trying to figure out if you were supposed to do anything for the class winter party or if there is even a party since the class parents haven’t mentioned anything about the supposed party that is on the calendar for tomorrow but your children have said isn’t happening due to “too many allergies” in the class, take a deep breath, wrap and hide all gifts for the next round of “holidaze”, clean up, realize you actually got it all done and are ready to celebrate but just as you’re leaving to go pick kids up from school, the doorbell rings and you see yet another package from UPS that contains things that need to be wrapped while your husband backs into driveway with 2 IKEA boxes in the trunk that will need to be assembled…

 #soclose #nicetry #bangsheadonwall #holidaze

(This #redefinition brought to you by P&BS {Parenting & Baloney Sandwiches} and sponsored by Murphy’s Law Firm, the only firm you can count on for true accountability.)

CWK #247365711: The “Playground”

Lady J: Mom, can we play on the beach playground?

Me: What beach playground?

Lady J: You know… The green and brown one. It’s right on the beach. The one with the climbing things and tunnels.

Me: There’s no playground on the… Wait, you mean the drainage pipe? Sure… Why (the heck) not. (I feel like getting berated by complete strangers as to how I should raise my children anyway.*) Let’s go!

Lady J: Thanks, Mom! You’re the best mom we’ve ever had!

(That last part always amuses me, no matter how many times I hear Lady J say it…)

*It should be noted that I was only berated by one complete stranger as MY children happily played on the “playground”. But that’s for another post at another time…maybe


Oh Sh*#! 8.7.14

While watching The Goonies as I cook dinner, Lady J enters the kitchen and whispers, “Mom, what does shit mean? Because Chunk says it a lot in the movie. Like, a lot, and I just don’t know what it means.”

All I can think is, “Oh SH*#! This is the beginning of the end.”

From her tone I can tell she knows it’s not an appropriate word, and my initial thought is to respond harshly with the standard, “We DO NOT use that word. It is a bad word and I don’t EVER want to hear you say it. Understand?”

But a flash from my own childhood played in my head. I was standing at our front door, maybe around 8 years old. I asked what the word Hell meant. It was an honest question that I really didn’t know the answer to. I have no idea where I had heard it and I had no idea that it was an inappropriate word to use. So I asked. The reaction I got was less than explanatory, though I never said it again in front of my parents, as a child.

So I take a step back and answer her with honesty, “It means poop. But it’s not a nice word and you are not allowed to say it. It’s rude.”

“Is it like ‘hate’ and ‘stupid’?” She questions with translucent innocence.

“Yes,” I reply.

“Okay. Then I won’t say it. But Mommy?  Chunk says it a awfully lot of times when bad things happen that are also silly. It’s kinda funny. He kinda says it like when you say ‘oh dear’ or ‘oh my goodness,'” she chuckles knowing she nailed the context usage.

“Oh poop,” I mutter, “Here we go.”

She exits the kitchen quietly giggling, “Oh poop…”


Running With Lady J: 7.3.14

We left the condo at 6pm in a blur of pre-race excitement. The double stroller was packed with water bottles, jackets, and a few non-essential essentials. Bud and K-Mad were buckled in and already cheering for their big sister.

Lady J was dressed to match me, per her request, in her running outfit, pink hat, with a ponytail braid. “Mom, when I’m old enough for a phone, like 7 or 8 or 16, can I get an armband for it like you have?” She was a jumping bean of ecstatic enthusiasm, “Mom, in the race I’m gonna run like this!” She bolted down the hall to the elevator like an Olympic gymnast sprinting toward the vault.

We walked one mile down the boardwalk to the library to register for the race. Lady J was practically bubbling over and racing already. I wasn’t sure who was more excited at this point, her or I. This was our first race together and her first “distance” race.

“Mom, maybe when I’m big enough like in a year or a week I can run in a race by myself and you’ll just cheer for me and meet at the finish line, like when I’m 15 or 8, maybe 9 or 12. Those seem like good ages, ya know, when I’ll be old enough.”

We registered and I pinned our bibs on. We checked, one last time for ‘sneaky pee’ before heading to the starting line.

On our way to the line we talked about what to expect during the race and how it works. I made sure she knew that she could run ahead of me but I would not run ahead of her. I assured her that I could keep up with her, even if she sprinted the whole way, even with the stroller. And I told her there were only two rules she needed to know for the race:

Have fun & Try your best.

I looked down at her, as we took our place towards the back of the small pack of racers lining up and saw that Lady J wasn’t her usual bubbly self and any trace of pre-race excitement was nowhere to be seen.

“Mom, I’m scared,” she looked up at me and spoke with the blunt honesty that most lose as we age, “I don’t think I can do this.” Looking into her steely-blue eyes I could sense the knots in her stomach and feel the flutters of her heart.

And this was the moment. A defining moment that, as a parent, you have a choice to validate or ignore, teach or observe, be present or absent.

The. Moment.

I am generally of the ‘old school’ belief that children need to be taught to just do it, suck it up, follow through, and a whole host of other notions that modern society is just beginning to (hopefully) re-embrace.

But this brief moment deserved so much more attention than a simple acknowledgment and brushing off with a quick, “I’m right here.” or “I’ll help you.” and especially, “Of course you can!”  Although all would have been truthful, none would have been appropriate, nor what she needed to hear at that moment.

I knelt down and leaned in toward her, “Can I tell you a secret?” “Uh-huh,” she answered nervously.  “I am too,” I whispered those three little words into her ear. “You are?” she gasped in total disbelief. “Yup!  I get scared before every race. My heart beats super fast and my legs feel wobbly.”

She reached out for my hand in understanding and solidarity and lined up next to me. “Mom? I think we can do this together,” she put on her shield of bravery, “I know it’ll be awesome in the end. Let’s have fun and try our best, even if we don’t win.” “You got it,” I winked as we crossed the start together.

Lady J sprinted out in front of me, slowed to catch her breath, quickened to a jog, and walked briefly to rest. By the half way point, she settled in to a moderate and consistent pace.

We passed a few participants along the way and were cheered on by bystanders. “Go 321!” the onlookers shouted and clapped. “Who’s 321?  Who are they cheering for?” she inquired. “You, Lady J!  That’s your bib number. They are all cheering for you!”

She beamed, grabbed my hand again, and quickened her pace with pride. “It kinda makes my heart feel funny when they clap for me, Mama. Like it’s getting too big.” “I know exactly how you feel, J.”

We ran the rest of way, holding hands and cheering for those we passed. When we saw the finish line I let go and told her to go and “finish strong, J!”

Man, can that girl can fly!

“We did it, Mama! We did it together! You were great! Thank you for this awesome race and running with me!” she leaped into my arms with pure joy. Tears of pride and awe fell from beneath my sunglasses for both her achievement and her overt selflessness in her moment of accomplishment.

We high fived other finishers, offering our congratulations and stayed to watch the end of the racers finish. No one cheered them on with more enthusiasm and sportsmanship than Lady J.

Best. Mile. Ever.