Grumpy about my boy’s jewels

Last night in the bath Nick had a funny look on his face, while his hands did something under the bubbles.

“Everything okay, buddy?” I asked.

“What is this hard thing?”


“In my penis.”

Eh? Show me, I said, trying to act all laid back while cringing inside.

“Right here.” He showed me his very tiny scrotum. “Oooh. There are TWO hard things,” he announced with a look in his eyes, somewhere between curiosity and deep concern. “What are they?” I tried to hide my wincing.

Thus commenced my four-year-old’s introduction to reproductive ideas.

I want to be anatomically correct in this sort of chatter, and not too euphemistic (except when I am), but I’m not ready to talk sex with the kids yet. Sometimes I think I worry too much about the right way to introduce them to the complex social and cultural and personal and reproductive issues that percolate around genitalia.

Last month Jesse asked, “how does the piece of the daddy that becomes part of the baby get inside the mommy’s body?” I didn’t even evade. “I’m not ready to tell you that yet, Jesse. Also I think it’ll freak you out.” Oddly enough, she accepted that and let it go, which tells me she’s already making some good guesses in her head.

It was easier for me to walk this early path with Jesse because she’s a girl, and I’m a girl, so there you go. I know how our business works and where it is. Nick is more awkward for me, but I gave it a go last night. I explained what I think those hard things are called. I told him to repeat the relevant words, like “scrotum,” “testicles,” and “sperm.” (Very cute, by the way. “Scwo-dem? Testicows?”) We chatted a bit about what their function is, only no details about how to share, god help me. The conversation petered out fairly quickly, for which I was thankful.

As the bath was winding down, Anthony wandered into the bathroom. I told him what Nick had discovered. I was feeling a little pensive and uneasy. I asked him, what would you say to Nick if he asked you about the little hard things in his penis?

“Oh those? Those are just your balls.” Anthony shrugged nonchalantly and wandered back out.

2 thoughts on “Grumpy about my boy’s jewels

  1. Sex is a natural part of life and weather you like it or not we are sexual beings. You did good but I think you out to lighten up a bit and tell your daughter about sex if she is ready to ask questions she is ready to know. She will probably just say ok and go on with life. I told my children about sex at around 4 or 5 because I wanted to be the first one that got to them. The way the world is today you never know what misinformation they will get from their friends. You also want to keep the lines of communication open, because now that my kids are teenagers they may seem a little awkward but they know they can ask me anything and I will answer their questions just the same as if they had asked me where tennessee is located on a map.

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