Friday, September 15, 2017


My daughter’s dreams finally came true. And no, it is NOT that she gets to be a big sister again. Let's just nip that one in the bud right now before any rumors get started. It's that she is now officially the proud owner of The World’s Creepiest Toy, the Hatchimal. Have you heard of them? If not, you are lucky. In a moment of sheer foolishness, I told her we would buy her one as her reward for successfully completing her sticker chart (instead of the live goldfish she insisted she no longer wanted). I was desperate. The girl went to school for 9 months last year and opted to actually hang her backpack on the hook and put her shoes on the shelf exactly ZERO TIMES of her own accord. Parenting this unmotivated child is going to be the death of me. Which is why I have delegated that task to her father. Good luck, Crozier!

So, I said YES ABSOLUTELY YES when this Hatchimal magical motivator entered the picture. I neglected to Google it first, this is how desperate I was. Never again y’all, never again. Did you know that real, functional, and contributing-to-society human beings pay $60 for this nightmare-inducing noise-maker? SIXTY DOLLARS!!! I about died when I learned what I had committed us to purchasing.

For those of you favored souls who haven’t yet been introduced to the Hatchimal, allow me to tell you a little bit about it. They were created by someone who must have thought to himself, I should turn a stuffed animal into an electronic and add creepy noises and eyes that flash (in what looks like hot anger to me, but actually just signifies the creature has the hiccups - my bad!) and it will be a best seller!” And surprisingly, he was right. The kids love it. The thing is terrifying, particularly in the dark when you see it in the pile of stuffed animals with eggs gleaming hot. So what does this have to do with eggs and fertilization and sex, you ask? Read on! 

Before you get to the enjoyable phase of actually cuddling the Hatchimal (Is it a bird? An owl? A dragon? A bear with wings? I still am unsure…), you first get to witness it hatching. You see, the inventor, though arguably mildly psychotic, was also ingenious. What better business idea than to sell an over-priced stuffed animal in a large plastic egg and make the breaking of the egg “part of the fun” so that, when all is said and done and the thing has hatched and the child loses interest and no longer wants the toy (which happens approximately 3 hours after hatching), horrified parents can’t even return to the beast and find themselves out sixty bucks. Perfect! Not that this was our experience or anything…

Admittedly, the hatching process was rather exciting. The creature has this hard, plastic beak (which makes it all the creepier if it was intended to be a bear…) and, if you keep rubbing and holding the egg, which needs physical touch just as much as the rest of us apparently, it pecks its way out over the course of about 20 suspenseful minutes. My kids have now witnessed the “birth” of two Hatchimal babies and I experienced some mild alarm as I heard them make all sort of proclamations likening the emerging of Hatchimals to the birth of real, live humans. God help us all, have I taught them nothing about their bodies this summer!? The most inflammatory statement came from my seven-year-old who announced to her cousins “Now you know what it is like to have a baby!” Oh child, I have no words.

I didn’t realize just how far backwards we had gone in the sexual education department until the end of the summer when my three-year-old saw a photo of me and his older two sisters and asked if he was there too. I told him that no, he was still “just an egg” in my belly and he looked at me with mild alarm. “I was in your belly!?! Inside an egg?!”

This was not the first time we’d had this conversation but obviously this takes numerous mentions to fully absorb. He took a few moments to process this information before he continued in all seriousness:

“Was I in there playing with all the chickies?”

Mic drop.

Why yes, Son, you all the baby chicks and un-hatched Hatchimals were having a grand old time in my belly. Thanks for asking. In all fairness, this reproduction stuff is rather complicated. Wait, girls have how many holes? What’s a uterus? Girls have hundreds of eggs but they aren’t all babies? The eggs need to be fertilized? What does that mean?

I’m a huge proponent of having one hundred, one-minute conversations about sex and not one, one-hundred-minute talk. We are making our way gradually toward that one hundred number, give or take a few. There is certainly nothing magical about having 100 sex-related talks but rather it’s simply the idea that we need to be having these short, frequent conversations. It feels like we’ve touched on this topic so many times, but in truth, I’m guessing we are only on conversation number 13 or 14. Which explains why our kids still have visions of little chickies dancing around with them in my uterus. Only 87 more conversations to go and I should have them set straight.

After refreshing my son’s memory about how girls have eggs but that they don’t become babies until they are fertilized by the daddy’s sperm, we continued with our lives. It wasn’t until we were in a massive hot tub with about one thousand other people at a waterslide park this summer that he decided to resurrect the conversation. Children always have a knack for selecting the most opportune times to discuss the act of sex. I have no idea how we got on the subject but he began reminiscing about back when he was in my belly. First, he wanted to know about how he made his exit and so I told him that I pushed him out.

This was obviously quite confusing. “You pushed me out!? How?” he asked. I could see the father sitting three feet away from us in the hot tub beginning to eye me.

Carefully, in the most hushed and intentionally-garbled tone I could muster, I whispered “Well, you know how when you have to go poop? Mothers push babies out of their bellies sort of like that.”

Oh perfect, I scolded myself inwardly. Likening the miracle of childbirth to defecation was probably not your strongest explanatory move, Kelsie. But what was done was done.

My son pondered this thoughtfully for a moment before taking the conversation backward 9 months to the egg phase. “So, I was an egg in your belly?” he reminisced. And then, as if it was the most common public hot tub conversation ever, he practically yelled his curiosity:


If people weren’t looking at me before, they certainly were now. I acted really cool and casual (read: I was DYING) as I surveyed my audience. They seemed to be ready to simultaneously grab their kids and bolt or send their offspring my way and disappear and let me do the hardest part for them. Though it was mildly tempting to educate the entire hot tub in one fell swoop, I restrained myself and through gritted teeth, told my son “This is a conversation we should continue in private” and we evacuated and made a run for our towels.

This little “incident,” one of many, reminded me of my need and desire to resurrect some notes I took from a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) talk I heard a few years back. The speaker provided a whole list of books that she recommended as a launching point for sex conversations with our kids. We’ve been slowly working our way through a couple of them over the past month and the kids are enthralled. My husband, though totally on board with the idea of educating our kids on sex and their bodies, is slightly less likely than I to volunteer the topic. But he is fully aware that I have peppered our household with all sorts of literature on the subject. He told me while laughing heartily that last weekend he walked in to the room to find our 3 and 6-year-old seated quietly together on the couch, each eagerly “reading” books about their bodies.

How does this sit with you? Where are you at with introducing your kids to the amazing way our bodies work? Maybe you’ve never had a conversation about sex with your kids and they think babies hatch like chicks. Or maybe you are 50 conversations in and your kids know more names for their anatomy than you ever did. Whatever the case, if you are feeling a bit leery about just jumping right in yet really desire to make this a safe topic in your home, perhaps beginning with a book would help. Here are a couple of titles I would recommend for starters to get you going:  

If you have other favorites you would recommend, I’m all ears! Happy reading. :) 

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  1. When saben was 2, he saw his friend getting her diaper changed and excitedly told me "Mom! Audrey has a tunnel!" He was obsessed with tunnels at that age so he was really excited for her. I used it extensively to explain reproduction to both kids. How do baby's come out? They come out through the tunnel women have that leads to the uterus. And yes, I did also use biologically correct terms, but somehow the tunnel idea really worked for my kids. We are way past that now and I'm excited to take Annika to a "Great Conversations" seminar this spring since Kyle got to do the one with Saben and loved it. They've also learned a lot through breeding our dog and her going into heat. (best way to openly discuss menstruation ever) If you want to bring your kids over to see Maple's babies come out of her tunnel, let me know!

  2. How does the egg get fertilized? By sperm. How does the sperm get in there? Through the tunnel! Eventually I did tell all, but the tunnel satisfied them for quite a few years.


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