Always Be Prepared

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Last week, Emily and I were walking along the lake. The flooding was at it's height, and we walked around looking to see how far the lake had risen into our neighbors yards. We walked down to the front yard and watched the ducks swim around the partially submerged picnic tables.

As we walked back, she hit me with a question for which I was unprepared.

"Why do boys have penises?"

Ex-squeeze me? Baking powder? A penis discussion at 5 p.m. on a Wednesday?

Attempting to conceal the lump that has grown in my throat, I inquired, "That's a good question - what made you think of it?"

Buy the time, Dawn, buy the time. THINK!! THINK!!

Em:"Well, we talked about being safe in school and how only certain people are allowed to touch your private areas, like your doctor - or you and daddy."

Em:"That's true, but even Mommy and Daddy and doctors should ask you if it's OK first. Your body is your body and you have the right to tell anyone that you don't want them to touch you."

Em:"Yeah, I know. And I know that I have a labia and a hole where my pee comes out and a hole for my vagina, but I wondered what do penises do? What are they used for?"

My mind begins to cycle through a variety of answers, not the least of which is "NEVER TOUCH A PENIS!! PENISES ARE BAD!!!", which is irrational, but a mommy instinct. I then mentally veer to the "too much information" side where I give a detailed description of the clinical uses of the penis and it's reproductive or elimination functions.

Egad. Where do I go with this? I settle for the middle of the road.

Me:"Well, boys use their penis to pee. You know, like Daddy does."

Em:"Oh, yeah. I've seen Daddy pee."

Me:"What else do you think penises might do?"

I have an image in my head of dancing penises of various ethnicities and girths, in full cirque de soleil garb, putting on a Vegas style show.

Em:"Well, I think they help to make a baby..."

Oh. My. God. I am not ready for this talk. I cannot have the how babies are made talk. I will throw myself in the lake to divert her. OK, that seems a bit extreme. I go for the middle of the road response again.

Me:"Yep, they do. Do you have any other questions?"


Me: "OK. But you know that you can ask mommy anything, right? I will always give you answers to your questions..."

Razor's edge, folks, Razor's edge.

Originally Published May 24, 2006 at The Gimlet Eye

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