How Do You Make a Baby?


English: Dr. Ruth Westheimer Deutsch: Dr. Ruth...

English: Dr. Ruth Westheimer Deutsch: Dr. Ruth Westheimer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How Do You Make a Baby?

I always knew that at some point in time the question about how to make a baby would arise, just not when. When my son asked I took a deep breath and considered how to answer it.

He is just short of 5.5 so I didn’t see a need to give him too much information, but at the same time I didn’t want to shortchange him. I am not embarrassed or bothered by the question. It is age appropriate and just one of a thousand questions a day that he asks me.

I have a standard response to almost all of his questions that goes something like this “what do you think?”

The purpose is for me to try and understand how much he has heard about a particular topic. Once I understand what level of understanding he has it is much easier for me to provide an appropriate response.

The first time he asked we were in my car. I was stopped at a red light on Ventura Boulevard. Somewhere behind me or to the side there was a car emitting a loud booming noise. The bass must have been deafening for the passengers, to me it was just irritating.

Yet, at the same time there was something fitting. It felt like an introduction to my opening monologue.

“Little Jack, how do you think this happens?”
“Dad, I think that we crawl up inside the mommies.”


Son: “Yes. I think that we must like being in there.”

The juvenile part of me had a million smartass remarks that I forced myself not to say. The light changed and I set the car in motion.

Me: “Have you talked about this with your friends?”

Son: “Yes.”

For a moment I had this funny image of a group of five year-olds standing around on a street corner exchanging war stories and advice.

“Check out the girl in the Dora dress. She is so hot!”

Son:”Dad, my sister is going to be a mommy one day.”

Me: “Yes, but not for a very long time. One of your jobs is going to help me keep the boys away from her.”

Should I issue an apology to my daughter now or later. Sorry baby, daddy grew up with lots of sisters. This was drilled into me by your grandfather. Like how I pass the buck. 😉


Me: “Nevermind that, let’s talk about your question.” Do you remember what is different about girls and boys?”

Son: “Girls are poopheads and peepee faces.” Followed by gales of five year-old laughter.

If you are ever in need of a way to entertain young children scatalogical humor provides endless amounts of humor to both boys and girls. It is a source of tons of fun to them.

I took another deep breath and launched into my explanation.

Me: “Let’s be serious. Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina. When they love each other very much they sometimes decide to show that love by doing something together.”

I paused for a moment and tried to decide how I wanted to describe sex. I wanted to give him enough to satisfy his question but not so much to make him think that I was carrying a copy of the Kama Sutra in the car. I keep that at home.

Instead of continuing I opted to check in again and make sure that he was following along. So I stopped and asked him if he understood.

Silence….I repeated the question and again was greeted with silence. So I looked into the rear view mirror and saw that he had fallen asleep. For a moment I was nonplussed. Our first real sex talk and I bored him to sleep.

I remember the first time I saw any sort of sex scene with my parents. It was a movie, can’t say that I remember which one. What I do remember was a warm uncomfortable feeling. The last thing I wanted to do was watch with them, but that is a different story for a different day.

That conversation with my son took place a few days ago. I want to finish it, but I didn’t see a reason to bring it back up until he does. This weekend I picked up a book by Dr. Ruth that addresses this issue.

I expect that later this week we’ll revisit this topic again. I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes.

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  1. Jack's Shack May 2, 2006 at 6:12 am


    And every now and then you come up with a comment that is related to the post. It is a nice change.


    What can I say.


    Pepper Pike




    Good answer.


    There is always tomorrow.


    I am sure.

    Mary P.,

    Your mom sounds like a smart lady indeed.


    Some of my best conversations have been while driving.


    The questions are something else.


    My son was a little short of four when his sister was born so we were careful to keep it very simple.


    I think that the sex talk is easier.


    Hope it helped.

  2. Amishav May 2, 2006 at 2:55 am

    This is great! I’m going to have this conversation in a few years myself. Thanks for the tips!

  3. Yoel.Ben-Avraham May 2, 2006 at 1:39 am

    In addition to the “birds and the Bees” lecture, I always add the “Magnetc Attraction” business. Letting pre-adolsecents know what they will feel when those hormones start flowing!

    [PS I’ve got 6 wonderful children and just finished the last “We need to talk …” discussions last year. Now we are working on the “How do you know she/he is the right one …” discussions. Sex was easier!]

  4. trn May 2, 2006 at 12:47 am

    Good move responding with, “What do you think?” I’ve found that doing the same offers me a good starting point, including concepts, vocabulary, and phrasing to use.

    I liked the book with the in-utero photographs of the developing embryo and fetus.

    What did your son already know with respect to the expectation and arrival of his sister?

  5. Richmond May 1, 2006 at 9:55 pm

    Oh jeez… Good luck! I am facing much of this at my house with my girls (there are “changes” afoot, even at 8 & 9). And questions…. So many questions…

    But I must admit, when I read the title my first thought was “Well, gee Jack… If you don’t know by now I don’t know if I can really help you!” 😉

  6. Regina Clare Jane May 1, 2006 at 7:49 pm

    Wow- I can’t believe you were giving that talk while driving, Jack! That’s real skill, I tell ya!

  7. Mary P. May 1, 2006 at 5:27 pm

    At five and a half, you don’t even need to get to the mechanics of the act. My mother (not in the least bothered by the subject) told me when I asked that women have eggs inside them and men have seeds (she called it that and then used the word – sperm), and when the seed meets the egg, it makes a baby.

    As the years went by, I asked more questions and got more information about the inner workings of boys and girls. I was eleven before I thought to ask HOW that seed got as far as the egg. Mum gave it to me straight.

    My response? “EEEEWWW!”

    She just laughed and said, “You won’t feel that way in a few years, dear.”

    Smart woman.

  8. kasamba May 1, 2006 at 4:58 pm

    Actually, there is a way of telling kids about the birds and the bees in a very ‘yoishy’ way so they don’t think it’s dirty.
    that seemed to have worked with most of my kids except for my 17 year old who never allowed me to use the word ‘sex’ in front of him. The quickest way for me to get him to leave the room is to say, “Son, I think we have to have THE talk….”

  9. PsychoToddler May 1, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    You’re a brave man. I still haven’t talked to my kids about sex and one of them is in college now.

    (word verification: swfrk star wars freak?)

  10. swiftthinker May 1, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    Nice job. Last week, my five year old son came up to me and started asking why his girlfriend down the block stood up to pee when she should have sat down. I answered that she was just trying to impress him.

  11. westbankmama May 1, 2006 at 3:18 pm

    What a great post! You handled this beautifully, and the kid falls asleep…A metaphor for parenting if I ever heard one..

  12. Stephen (aka Q) May 1, 2006 at 1:31 pm

    No wonder you bored him to sleep. When you brought up penises and vaginas, he probably thought you had changed the subject.

  13. Datingmaster, Jerusalem May 1, 2006 at 12:42 pm

    very entertaing
    occasionally you come up with a good human interest post

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