a peek inside the fishbowl

16 May, 2007

Another conversation with Emma

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

May 13th will go down in history as the day we broached THAT TOPIC.

Sarah, Emma and I were out for a walk after dinner.


I turned towards Emma. She had a look on her face that suggested she was about to ask a question that she’d been thinking about for a long time.

“Mum, what is s_x?” [bleeped out due to search engine issues]

I just about choked. Inside I was shrieking, “I’M NOT READY FOR THIS!”

I needed to stall.

“Why do you ask sweetie?” [Ugh, YOU’RE CRASHING, YOU’RE BURNING! Is this is REALLY THE BEST YOU CAN DO?!]

“Because F* said it was a bad word.” Did I mention that Sarah was there, listening intently?

“F* said it was a bad word? Um… How did this come about?” I asked. [KEEP STALLING!]

“W* meant to write SIX on the blackboard and instead she wrote S_X. F* said it was a bad word. What does it mean anyway?”

“Ummm… it’s a term that refers to how babies are made.”

“Did you and daddy do that?”

“Ummmm, yes. Yes we did that.” [Aaaaaaargh!]

“F* said that s_x is when a daddy lies on top of a mummy and their tummies touch.”

“Well, yes and no. There’s more to it than that. But yes. Yes.” [WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?”]

“So why is it a bad word?”

“It’s not a bad word. It makes some people shy and nervous because it has to do with people’s private parts.”

“But everyone has private parts!”

“I know. It’s strange, isn’t it?”


“You know how mothers give their little babies b00bymilk?”


“Do you think it’s okay for a mother to feed her children around other people, like at a park?”

“Of course! Babies get hungry!”

“Some people get upset by that you know.”

“What? It’s totally NORMAL. Those babies need that b00bymilk!”

“That’s true. But because private parts are involved some people get upset when that happens.”

“Really?” Emma was incredulous.

“Really. And the same goes for s_x. Some people don’t want to talk about it [LIKE ME. RIGHT NOW] but it is a part of life, just like birth and death is a part of life.”


“Now is not a good time to talk about it [BECAUSE MUMMY IS WOEFULLY UNPREPARED] but we’ll sit down and have a good long chat later, okay?”


God help me.

13 Responses to "Another conversation with Emma"

1 | Kristina

May 16th, 2007 at 9:32 am


I really like the way you handled that! I would never have been able to draw a comparison with breast feeding – but it’s a brilliant approach. Good for you for being so quick on your toes!!

2 | Kim

May 16th, 2007 at 9:48 am


You did great!!

When my six (now 7) year old asked me that, I about died. I literally had to sit down when the talk was over.

I had a prepared, very well thought out answer that had been researched carefully and it didn’t help a lick!!! I still stumbled and wanted to crawl under the closest table.

In the end you did much better than I did because I never got past “it’s something that adults do when they love each other” and “it’s how babies are made”

The other day she asked me how babies are made instead of what’s s*x? So I guess I am going to have to spill it.

God help us.

3 | andrea

May 16th, 2007 at 10:06 am


We’ve always told them that a man and a woman can make a baby together… including the whole sperm and egg thing. And they know that the baby comes out of the mummy v_gina. But we haven’t explained the mechanics of it all or used the actual term for it.

I guess that’s the part that has to come next.


4 | The Veggie Vixen

May 16th, 2007 at 11:49 am


I’m going to file your conversation away b/c it was handled very well and I want to explain it just like that.

5 | liss76

May 16th, 2007 at 12:00 pm


My oldest has already asked about how babies are made–though hasn’t made the connection between the “s” word and the “special cuddling” I’ve told him happens between Mommies and Popos. He’s very inquisitive, though, so I’m expecting this to come about much sooner than later. What I find challenging is figuring out what he knows already and then explaining the rest at his level without fibbing or glossing it over. It’s hard for me to judge just how much depth he wants me to go into with my reponses, so I try to let him lead the explanation.

I find it a lot less stressful discussing this with my son, though, than I think I would with a daughter.

6 | Tali

May 16th, 2007 at 2:14 pm


Maybe she’s a bit young, but the book “where did I come from” by Peter Mayle might help the next time she asks, or if she asks for more details. It’s from the 80s, but I think its still good in that in answers alot of questions without making anything seem “naughty”.

7 | BeachMama

May 16th, 2007 at 3:05 pm


phew! glad that was you and not me. I asked hubby when he was going to have that chat with our 15 year old (my stepson) he said maybe one day… I think he is stalling, but I think he should have that conversation soon ;). You handled that very well.

8 | Hillary

May 16th, 2007 at 7:54 pm


I aggree that you handled that really well. Great analogy with breastfeeding. It sounds like you are really open with your girls about other topics (judging by Emma’s reaction about breastfeeding), so I’m sure this’ll be fine, too! :)

My favourite “talk” story has to be from my aunt. Her kids were aged 5 and 6, and they were camping. It was pouring rain, so they were stuck in the tent trailer. My aunt figured then was as good a time as any to have that talk with them (they had been asking where babies come from), so she got out the book and explained it.

The kids just kinda glazed over, so she figured it was just over their heads for the moment, that they didn’t get it. She told them to be sure to ask her if they had any questions, and that was that.

Two years later, with no talks in between, Aunt was teasing 7 or 8 year old Girl Cousin about one of her little friends from school. “Is he your boyfriend???.


With a totally straight face, Girl Cousin says, “Mommy!!! NO boy is EVER gonna put his pen1s into my v_gina!”

She got it, alright! We figure that’s gonna be a GREAT story to tell at her wedding!!! ;)

ok, um, longest comment ever. I got on a tangent. Sorry!

9 | Michelle

May 17th, 2007 at 12:46 am


Reading this reminds me of a friend of mine. She was coming downstairs just in time to hear her six year-old say to someone on the phone, “Sorry, Mommy can’t come to the phone right now, she’s having s*x”

He hung up before she could grab the phone and correct his words. She never figured out who it was that called. Hope it was a telemarketer.

10 | Sharon

May 17th, 2007 at 7:06 am


You did good. I don’t remember what I told Miranda but I think it was bits and pieces at a time as she asked.

11 | Suebob

May 17th, 2007 at 4:12 pm


It sounds like you handled it brilliantly.

12 | karrie

May 20th, 2007 at 5:52 pm


Well played.

13 | Rebecca, 15

May 1st, 2008 at 1:25 pm


haha I actually remember the first time I asked my mom about s_x XD.
I said something like this.
me: “Mom how do you make babies?”
mom: “well…uhm..OH look an ice cream truck!”
*I looked and we stayed and bought some but then when we sat in the car again I got back on the topic*
me: “I think you just decide if you want a baby.. and if you want a girl all you have to do is think really hard about the thought and then you get the baby in your tummy!”
My mother said that it wasn’t that simple and I stopped talking about it.
I remember getting awfully afraid to get pregnant just because I thought of the ”thought” of having a child XD haha sorry for my bad english!

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  • andrea tomkins: I'm glad you find it restful Bonnie! I didn't on that day. :)
  • Bonnie Upton: I have a true love of this place. I drive to and from Ottawa from the NewmArket area to visit my sister snd now my son who attended uOttawa and has c
  • Amy: That sounds fantastic! As with most travelling, parts are much more comfortable when you're telling them afterwards, but they make a good story.
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  • Amy: I made a no-knead version that didn't use a Dutch oven (I don't have one and didn't feel like investing in one just for that). You put a small contai

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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