Kristan Higgins
Kristan Higgins


family, Jaunty Post, Kristan Higgins, Love, parenting

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, okay, it was a dark night, as most nights are. I was oh, maybe eleven or twelve years old. All of a sudden, the door to my bedroom opened, and my mother was there. “Kristan? Kristan? It’s time we had the talk.”

“But I’m dreaming about unicorns,” I may have mumbled.

“Too bad.” And there, in the pitch dark, Mother perched at the edge of my bed and informed me in as fast and clinical a way as possible, where babies came from. In a previous blog, I may have mentioned that I was a late bloomer, only receiving my first kiss just two (fine! three!) short years after I got my license. But apparently, I’d made a comment to an aunt about God sending them another baby and how nice it was. I know I was happy—another cousin to play with and command! Good old God! And hey, who was really to blame with my blissfully naïve ignorance? Mom was the one who dragged us all to church every week. God did everything, right?

Well. Not everything, apparently. In one, long run-on sentence that seemed too horrific to be true, Mother Mine whipped out words that I’d previously only seen scrawled on the seats of the school bus. I listened in utter silence and shock until she ran out of breath. Then there was only the sound of the wind.

After a few minutes, I spoke. “That’s not funny.”

“I’m going to bed,” she said. “Good talk.” Then she left me to my doomed night.

Life thereafter was quite gross. First of all…my parents! Oh, the humanity! How could I ever look at them again? There were three of us, so three times, that utterly disgusting act had occurred! Boy, they really must have loved kids to go through such ickiness. Then the horror mushroomed. My grandparents had nine children. My youngest uncle was just about the same age as I was, so that meant…!!! And what about all those cousins of mine? Apparently they too had started out in such a terribly undignified fashion! Why hadn’t anyone ever adopted a baby in our family if this was what they had to go through to become parents?

It wasn’t until I starting reading romance novels that I realized there were reasons other than the biological imperative to, um…you know. Even so, it took me quite a while to be able to read one of those scenes without dying a little.

Years and years later, my own beloved Princess Daughter asked me to confirm a rumor told to her at school about where babies came from. I took pride in the fact that I could tell her with the lights on. Her reaction: “Mommy, no offense, but I don’t care how in love you are. That’s disgusting.” (She is still currently planning to adopt all her children.)

So where were you when you learned the facts of life? And if you’re a parent, how’d you do telling your own kids?


19 thoughts on “The Talk

  1. Mia Marlowe Mia Marlowe says:

    I was 12 and had just been visited by my first menses–as if that weren’t jarring enough! I may have had a young woman’s body, but I still had a little girl’s heart. Like you, I was horrified!

    When it came time to tell my own daughters about the facts of life, I fell back on a time honored family tradition. We read a book about it together. We’d been reading aloud for years and this smoothed the way for all of us. However, I’m chagrined to admit that I don’t remember the title of the book or the author–only that it mercifully had no pictures!

  2. Kathleen OD says:

    I would say, if I can remember that far back 😉 That I was most likley around the age of 12 or 13.. I think all young girls are horrified by that first lesson in where babies come from..

  3. Liz Flaherty says:

    I learned it in the locker room in junior high, loooong before the first kiss. It was years before I knew some of my 7th grade friends might have had a few things wrong. 🙄

    My daughter has three kids and her dad is still convinced all three times were by immaculate conception and our son-in-law is only in the house to take out the trash and warm the cars up on cold mornings.

    This was so funny!

  4. Kelli says:

    I learned most of that stuff from my friends. My mom never had “The Talk” with me. Guess it doesn’t really matter because I’m 33 and I’ve never even been on a date before. I think my mom was embarrassed to talk about it so she thought I would just figure it out on my own.

  5. Shana Shana says:

    I found out really early, like before I could read. My mom had a kids’ book with pictures, and she read it to me. I didn’t really think anything of it. I was like, okay. I think she was sorry she had told me so young, though, because a few weeks later, my sister and I were with my parents at a store and there was a Superman towel hanging up. I yelled, “Mom, Superman has a big penis!” I didn’t quite have that filter yet!

  6. Tracy Gilpin says:

    Sadly, I never really “had the talk” from my parents. I learned about the facts of life from school (health classes), friends (comparing notes), TV and trial and error (fortunately, lucky in that regard). I did read a lot of romance novels from the time I was in the 4th grade (although back in those days, they barely even kissed) so I was aware of the reason people got together. I’m not a parent, but I like to think that I would be able to talk to my child with lights on matter-of-factly.

  7. Grettel says:

    I never had the talk with my parents either. I looked for the information in books, and occasionally asked my older sisters. When I started dating, I realized that non fiction books were less useful than romance novels. 😉 My son, who is fourteen, hasn’t asked anything about babies. My older daughter, who is twelve, has been asking about everything (boys, kisses, love, babies) since she was seven, so I try not to blush, and answer everything as clear as posible, knowing that her siblings are listening too. So far, she has expresed her disgust, but she said has resigned herself to endure it, in order to be a mother.

  8. thea says:

    I know I asked lots of questions and of course my mother never answered them correctly. like she told me babies came out of your hip/upper thigh. Gosh she was wierd. but i found out how many times one goes into zero in about fourth grade, was horrified and decided it would never happen to me. later in life, i read cosmo where i found out professional women could happily be sluts. One day my mom picked it up to read, then came to me to tell me NO ONE does oral sex because it is germy. And one other time she confided in me that women like to have sex, because they too get hot in the pants. umm, that is a direct quote that I still haven’t forgotten. All this from a woman who made it through WWII as an army NURSE thinking she could get pregnant by french kissing. Is it any wonder I’m a wee bit nutty?

  9. Danee says:

    My talk was when I was about 15 and my mom went for the scare tactic not facts. She brought home a book with pictures of all kinds of STDs in it and made me look at it. (Yeah, I had no idea what a penis looked like.)
    Basically, the talk consisted of: if you have sex you will get a STD or aids. If you get either one you will die. And if you have sex you will get pregnant. Then you will wish you were dead because I will kill you or you will get an STD and die anyway.

    My sister and I have no idea how we turned out half way normal. sigh..

  10. Terri Osburn says:

    I had to tell Kiddo in small bits because we’d get two sentences in and she’d freak and refuse to hear more. I’m not sure if we ever did finish the talk but she’s 13 now and I’m pretty sure she gets the gist. She’s quite the prude, which makes me very happy.

    As the youngest in a neighborhood full of kids, I never got the talk. Very little is a mystery when you’re 9 and surrounding by teenagers.

  11. catslady says:

    I don’t believe I was ever told! I got a pamphlet about periods and that was it lol. I met my boyfriend (now husband) at 16 and the rest is history lol.

  12. Shanah says:

    I was 10 or 11, I think. My mom was very good about telling me what I needed to know. I am not sure how I approached her with it, but it was just she and I, so she was ready with some answers, at least.
    I had to explain things to my eldest daughter when she was 9. We watched a tv show together which surprised me with elements I had no idea would be there (and they were at the end, so I couldn’t stop the show), and I had some explaining to do.
    We were staying at my mother’s, house-sitting, and I ran around looking for my sister’s anatomy book. She’s a med student and I was sure there would be some good informative pictures and such. My daughter is very matter of fact, and likes it told as it is. I ran around finding nothing and ended up drawing comical stick figures, and horrible illustrations of anatomy. She was amused, but quite disgusted, and also swore she would never ever do such a thing.

  13. Jen says:

    I got half the story from Judy Bloom and the other half from Jude Deveraux. Mom was totally off the hook – no need for talking. She’d just chucked some books at me. I thought that was how everyone did it…hmmmm. And I have boys, so I’m planning for Hubby to be the Talker! 🙂

  14. Phyllis says:

    Not exactly a “Talk” but my parents had that essential 70’s book, “Where Did I Come From?” and I guess I learned it from there. When my oldest started getting curious about babies (he was 6 or 7), I happened across a copy at Goodwill or a library book sale or something.

    Much worse is that I’m pretty sure my husband has not talked to our now 12 year old about puberty and um… embarrassing stuff I don’t want to talk to a boy about.

  15. thea says:

    one day my kid asked me what a hymen was and i didn’t get much past the word membrane before he started clutching his head screaming TMI! TMI! well, he asked. with my other son and his friends, we’d watch those teen movies where the kid is delivering pizza to the cougar lady and she drags him by the collar into her house. I would announce to the room, ‘this will, sadly, never happen to any of you. and that rosey palm would be their friend for a long long time.’

  16. Mozette says:

    My folks are Baby Boomers; so having The Talk with my brother and me was very hard for them. But my high school was way ahead on it than they thought and they had PDP (Personal Developement Program) nights where for a month, each Tuesday – or Thursday – we were booked in and went to the high school to talk about sex, hormones, The Pill, condoms, parents, kids and how it all works from everyone’s point of view… it was very interesting right up until my parents began talking about penis’ and breast size… that’s when I began hiding under the table. I wasn’t the most popular kid in high school and the last thing I needed was kids quoting what my parents said the next day!

    Otherwise, I had ‘Every Girls’ Life-Guide’ by Miriam Stoppard when I turned 16 from my parents as a birthday gift. I used borrow it from the library so many times, that nobody else could get it out … so they bought it for me so I could have my own copy; also so I could find out things I didn’t want to ask them. It was a great idea. However, I was going to hand it onto my niece; but it’s now out of print and the copy I have is a first edition, so I can’t get rid of it.

    As for talking to my kids? Well I don’t have any or plan on having any. But my niece has been well-advised about the birds’n’the bees so with any other questions, it’s usually about boys or why she often feels like she’s not ‘normal’… which she is to us, but then, we’re not your ordinary family 😛

  17. Margo Maguire says:

    Funny, I don’t remember exactly how I found out. What I DO remember is walking home from my best friend’s house (across the street) thinking “NO WAY.” That is never gonna happen to me.

  18. MJ says:

    I never had the talk, either, and also learned a LOT from books. My husband gave my son the initial “talk” in 5th grade, but it was me the boy came to for practical sex talk. It was horrid, but I kept telling myself at least he feels comfortable talking to me!

  19. Shannon says:

    I’m dreading the talk. My kids are still little. They know that babies come from a mommy’s belly, but they haven’t asked how yet. It’s only a matter of time…

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