So, I’m driving the kids home after school. Mgazi announces that she doesn’t want to have babies. (There is no context to this proclamation. The previous discussion had centered around Zaffron’s snack bar strategy at school. “Mom, I know I’m only allowed to go to snack bar once a week. That’s why I went twice this week. Next week I’m planning to take some time off!”)
Sooooo… Gazi doesn’t want to have babies.
Zaffy: I can help you with that.
Mgazi: You can’t help me, Zaffy.
Zaffy: I can. Just don’t let your husband, you know the one you marry, don’t let him put his penis anywhere near your vulva.
Mgazi: Vagina, Zaffy. Not vulva. (She sighs like she can’t believe her sister doesn’t know the difference.)
Zaffy: That’s what I said. Don’t let a penis go near your vagina and you won’t get pregnant and you won’t have babies.
Silence. Seventy-seven seconds of it. I know this because I keep track. Silence in the car is precious to me and I savor every second of it. And usually about 50 seconds is the threshold that must be crossed in order for me to determine that a conversation is over. Fifty seconds and they’ve lost interest. But apparently this particular conversation has staying power.
Zaffy: But what if it sneaks in?
Me: What if what sneaks in?
Zaffy: What if my husband’s penis sneaks into my vulva?
I take a peak in the rearview mirror to see if she is serious. (I have a healthy suspicion that she messes with me sometimes, purely for the entertainment value.) A little crinkle has formed between her eyebrows. She is genuinely worried.
Me: I can’t imagine how that would happen, honey.
Zaffy: What if we’re in bed sleeping and it sneaks in and I don’t know it?
Me: You’ll know, babe. If it tries to sneak in you’ll wake up. I promise.
Zaffy considers this.
Mgazi: I’m going to adopt.
You too can have conversations like this! Be it in the car or at the beach!
Enroll your child in OWL (Our Whole Lives), a series of sexuality education curricula for six age groups: grades K-1, grades 4-6, grades 7-9, grades 10-12, young adults, and adults. (Second and third graders are on their own.)