How does the sperm get to the egg?

So how DOES the sperm get to the egg-

One night, at approximately 10pm (which was about 2.5 hours past my kids’ bedtimes), my darling little (almost-six-year-old at the time) daughter decided that it was high time she ask us some very pointed questions. About exactly how babies are made. And with whom they can be made. And why? And how? HOW? One night, at approximately 10pm (which is about 2.5 hours past my kids’ bedtimes), I nearly died of embarrassment while telling my darling little daughter exactly how that happens. Well, sorta.

You might remember a post I wrote about being frank with the kids, and using the correct terms for body parts. I also wrote a piece called Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby for I really thought I was ready for this conversation as we’ve been slowly doling out the puzzle pieces for ages now. Since forever, we’ve taught Story and Mason (who was then 2.5 and only really interested in comparing his penis to that of his Daddy) to use the right words for their bits and pieces. I mean, saying “vulva” or “scrotum” shouldn’t be any more embarrassing than saying, “lungs” or “spine”, really. They’re all just parts of the machine, right? Along the same theme, we’ve always answered any of Story’s questions truthfully (Mason hasn’t started asking anything but “Why my penish big?“… typical), but also taking care to give her only as much information as requested so as not to confuse her. When we had Mason, she was just over two years old, and she has occasionally asked questions about how he came to be, exactly. She seemed happy with the whole, “A seed from Daddy and an egg from Mommy combined to make a Mason in Mommy’s tummy” story.

Story was to turn six in a few weeks, and I’ll be honest: it never crossed my mind that we’d be having this discussion with her at that age, but hey, it’s done now, and there’s no un-knowing it. She knows about periods, and why they happen. She knows that she has different parts that make her female from those that make her brother and Daddy male. She knows women have eggs, men have sperm, and she knew that somehow those two products combined to form new people. It was the “how” that she wanted needed to know.

And, by the way, do you know who I blame for planting these seeds of curiosity in my sweet little child’s head? BlogHer.

plush-huge-uterus_lrg_grandeDamn you BlogHer and your sponsor booths! Damn you for handing out the cutest stuffed uterus toys I’ve ever seen (ok, the only stuffed uterus toys I’ve ever seen). I brought two of those adorable little whacky, smiling, fallopian-tube-flailing stuffies home for the kids and they’ve been a hot topic ever since. Story wanted to know what a uterus does exactly. And what are those little arms? And what about those balls? Ovaries? What? Oh, eggs? Where do they go?

What? Where? Why? HOW?

It was a late night, and the four of us were lying in our big bed together, in the dark, after watching a movie and reading books and chatting, chatting, chatting forever. This is how it all went down:

Story: What’s a uterus for, Mommy?
Me: It’s basically a nest for a baby.
Story: Why do we have eggs?
Me: To make babies. With sperm.
Mason: SPERM! Mommy, mommy, mommy, I have ooterush? I have sperm? Mommy, mommy, mommy…
Story: So boys have the sperm and girls have the eggs? If the egg needs a sperm to make a baby, then how do they meet, Mommy?
Me: Um. They meet as the egg is heading to the uterus.
[At this point I was kicking my husband to get in the game and help me out here]
Story: But how? How does that happen exactly?
Mason:  How we make babies, Mommy?
[Since the kicking wasn’t working, I then pinched Ryan. Hard.]
Ryan: They just meet up, Story.
Me: Do you have any ideas about how it could happen, Story?
Mason: Mommy? Mommy! Mommy! Mommy? I yuv my ooterush. [He said as he snuggled his fuzzy pink uterus toy close and I cursed myself for ever bringing that damn thing home]
Story: Like, does the sperm float in there? To the egg? Does it float through the air and then into the vagina and then up there and then make a baby like that?
[Thank god it was dark in the room so she couldn’t see my red face.]
Me: Well, no, not exactly. But it does go in there and if it happens to meet an egg, then a baby could be made.
Mason: Mommy! Mommy! Penish. I have a penish. My penish is big, yike Daddy. I make it bigger, bigger, bigger…
Story: So, how? Just tell me how.
[She was getting indignant.]
Ryan: We’ll tell you all about it later. It’s late, and you need to go to sleep.
Story: I can’t sleep. I have to know how. HOW DOES THE SPERM GET TO THE EGG?
Ryan: Ok, look. The man touches his penis to the woman’s vagina.
Mason: I have a penish.
[And at this point embarrassment overtook me and I nearly died on the spot.]
Story: What? So like when they’re nudies… and then…Can I…
Mason: I be nudies in the hot tub an’ I swim and I wear my wings and I be nudies.
[And I could tell at this point she was wondering what the holy hell could happen during shared bathtime with her brother.]
Ryan: Kids don’t have babies, Story.
Story: Oh. Ok. Can I have a baby with my brother? When I’m bigger? I love Mason. I’ll have babies with Mason.
[How did we get here? How did we go from a cute fuzzy uterus toy to incest? HOW? Weren’t we just reading a Franklin book, like, two minutes ago?]
Me: No, Story, that’s not how it’s done. When you’re grown up, you’ll fall in love with someone in a totally different way from how you love Mason. I love you in a different way from how I love Daddy. And I love my friends in a different way. The making babies way is different.
Mason: Mommy? I yuv you. I yuv you mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy?
Story: Huh. And then we’ll get married and touch privates and have babies?
Me: Well, kinda. How about I get you a book? Someone told me about a great book I think you’ll love and it’ll show you exactly how this stuff happens.
Mason: I read dat book. I read it? Mommy? I read dat book?
Story: NO! It’s for ME, Mason. NOT YOU.
Story: It has pictures, right? I need pictures because I don’t think I can read all those words you’re saying.
Me: Yes. Pictures. But it’s just for you. Don’t go showing all your friends because I’m pretty sure you’re the only one to know this stuff, and much like your privates, this information is also private.
Ryan: Yes. Private.
Mason: Pwivate? It pwivate? What pwivate? Daddy? What pwivate means? Daddy? Daddy? DADDY?
Story: As long as it has pictures. What if my friend comes over and finds the book and then I have to talk about it?
[Story is a child of hypotheticals, she enjoys dreaming up insane possibilities and then figuring out how to handle them.]
Me: Put the book away, then. Don’t leave it out.
Story: Huh.
Me: Can we just go to sleep? When you get the book we can talk about it more, ok?
Story: Ok. If I have more questions you’ll answer them?
Ryan: Yes. Always. Anything you need to know. Thanks for asking us, kiddo.
Story: You’re welcome.

And with that, we’re off to find a book for her that’ll satisfy her curiosity about the exact way sperm is going to reach the egg to maybe make babies with some imaginary future boy she’ll fall into some-other-kind-of love with when currently the idea of kissing someone totally grosses her out and she can’t even fathom holding hands with any of the gross boys she knows other than her brother who she also still thinks she should marry and have babies with because why not?

Meanwhile, I’m fairly sure I didn’t even know what a penis looked like till I was of voting age and I’m still in shock over having that conversation.

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29 thoughts on “How does the sperm get to the egg?

  1. hahahhahaah this is quite the story!

    My 5 year old student once asked me, ‘teacher where do babies come from’. To which I replied, ‘well honey, you fall in love with someone and get married and then the baby is a gift for mommy and daddy’

    She started giggling and said, ‘teacher you don’t know anything! John told me that we can have babies without getting married! he saw it on TV!’

    I believe I turned red by that point in time :p

  2. Ok, I’m on my phone but there is an excellent books at Chapters we got Olivia when she wad five. She has the follow up now. I’ll send you the link. She is beyond curious and book helped. Lots of illustrations, too.

  3. Okay, I think I actully peed myself laughing at Mason! Dear, darling Lexie…you have your hands full! You do know that Tylenol works wonders when they cannot sleep, don’t you?

    Actually, my ex had the talk with my son, and then I made Paul do damage control so the poor kid did not end up in therapy!

  4. Perfect conversation! 🙂 I recommend the series of books: “It’s Not The Stork”, “It’s So Amazing”, and “It’s Perfectly Normal” by Robie H. Harris. They’re cartoon books (but anatomically correct) and they’re fun! My kids like the comic strips and the funny bird & bee that talk about everything. Very cute, but very good books. Each book is for the next older age group and the last book is for pre-teens and talks about stuff like Internet safety and more! AWESOME!

    1. Yes! It’s Not The Stork is for kids Story’s age…my daughter is 4 and has never asked anything about where babies come from but I didn’t want it to come up later when it might be embarrassing so I brought that book home from the library and we read it a few nights before bed. I’m pretty glad I’ve got that out of the way 🙂

  5. That was awesome. Reminds me of when my (now 12 year old) 4 year old daughter asked me how the baby gets out of the mommy. When I told her it comes out of the vagina, she looked at me with horror and said “BUT THAT WOULD HURT!”, lol.

  6. Just today, my almost 6yr old son was complaining in the car how his penis was getting too big and would never go down. I guess it was interfering with the seatbelt. All my wife and I could do was laugh nd tell him to think about baseball. That seemed to work.

  7. Honestly, you might get criticism (though not on here by your readers, obviously) for being so upfront with S. at such a young age, but I think you’re doing her a favour in the long-term.

    I think the reason kids end up emotionally scarred when their parents start trying to have these conversations with them as teens is because their entire lives everything relating to sex has been all “lol shhhh that’s not appropriate and you should be embarrassed about everything forever.” But Story is still at the age where her imagination and curiosity are equally strong (if not moreso) than societal cues, so sharing information now is a transaction of knowledge without the as-yet-unstipulated qualifications and mediations demanding embarrassment and shock.

    Sure, there will be some confusion now, especially in terms of the different kinds of love (just wait until she becomes aware of bi/homosexuality and gender dysphoria), but it’s easier to map that stuff when you understand the basics rather than the other way around (to me at least).

    Most importantly (as a self-important feminist), it also primes her to understand things like sexual harrassment (we’ve all seen that disturbing but effective CWF commercial where a woman gives an expecting mother a rape whistle at a baby shower) so that she can have a more thorough understanding of things like respect, consent and harrassment.

    I wish I had saved those 3D pop-up books for you. 😛

    1. Actually, I’ve come across surprise, embarrassment, shock, amazement… but not negative judgement. And it has been with people I’m sure have no issues with criticizing what I do. I think in the parenting world, there has been a substantial shift in recent years to being more informative about this kind of thing. And for those who aren’t, it’s only because they’re not sure how to open that door, not out of some societal pressure to keep it secretive. For that I am happy.

      And she does in fact know about homosexuality, actually. Thanks to a lovely lesbian friend of mine who shared her wedding plans, and is now pregnant through IVF, Story gets to hear about that world, too.

      Confusion doesn’t really exist at this age, just curiosity. And while we cannot prepare her (or Mason, when his time comes) for what they’ll encounter in life, we can absolutely teach them that it’s all normal, it’s all ok, and it’s all just a part of the body machine, etc.

      She’s got “It’s NOT the stork” now, and has been reading it all day today, asking questions and loving all the info. I’m not saying every kid will absorb things the way she does, but I’m very happy she’s the way she is.

      I wish you could meet her, and spend time with her.

  8. I’ve read this blog several times and I can understand why it’s so popular.

    On one side, it makes me thankful that I’m still quite some time away from dealing with this with my boys. 😛

    On the other side, I’m VERY, VERY thankful for people like you Alex, who are willing to put themselves out there. If I was in this same place 5 years ago, before I learned of the magic of the internet and personal blogs, I have no idea how I’d deal with an issue like this. I was raised in a “don’t ask, don’t tell” environment and frankly, as much as I work to grow, I’m still not comfortable talking about sex or seeing nakedness in any form. Blogs like this are helping me grow and preparing me for that scary day when my kids start asking the same questions.

    Thank you.

    1. Melissa, I certainly wasn’t raised with the candidness I show my kids. It takes everything in me to be open and free with this kind of information for my kids. I do hope that when you have to have THE conversation with your boys that it goes smoothly. 🙂

  9. Okay, I know this entry is almost a year old, but at the age of two and five, I knew nothing about this whole egg and sperm thingy. I don’t know it got into your kids. LOL!

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