Anatomy Lessons While Driving

Sometimes the car is not the place for an anatomy lesson. Sure, if you’re 16 and in love, maybe it’s the place where you learn what getting to second base is all about. But if you’re a mom, anatomy lessons while driving can be dangerous.

Questions don’t quite jar me like they used to. I’ve learned to expect anything from my kids on the open road, or on the ten-minute trek home from school. Either one. Oh, my kids have thrown some doozies at me just as I was trying to maneuver a busy intersection with the stealth skill of a Frogger champ. They somehow break through that tough barrier of concentration. It’s like someone’s in the backseat yelling, “Hey, driver, driver! Hey, driver, driver, hey!” I try to block them out, but those pesky kids are determined to chip through my focus. An innocent question hangs over my head and I hem and haw and brake and steer and hyperventilate all at once while my mind screams, “Get me out of this tiny box with these kids!” and “How come they never ask my husband these things on the way to school?”

Through the years, my kids have found the stained gray velour seats of our van a safe haven for asking the tough questions, a therapy bench if you will. I’m convinced it’s the no eye contact thing. That or the questions have been brewing in their minds at school all day, and their brains finally explode like steam from a kettle as soon as they get me alone.

“But what I don’t get is, how does the baby get in there?”

“Where does the baby come out of?”

“Parker told me on the playground that his mom is Santa. Is that true?”

“Mom, is s-e-x-y a bad word?”

And recently my kids were talking about crotches, which led to this: “What I want to know is what a girl’s private parts are called.”

Now I know I’ve mentioned that to them before, but I told them again to a response of giggles. And then a song about it. And then “a va-what?”

Just once I’d like for my husband to get those questions and I’d like to be a fly on the wall when he squirms and tells them the answer—and then I’d like to sing a song about it. Because I think I am finally over the discomfort and the hemming and hawing and the surprises from the backseat.

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40 Comments

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40 responses to “Anatomy Lessons While Driving

  1. What an absolutely delightful post!

  2. I love “get me out of this tiny box with these kids!” haha! And they never ask my husband any of this stuff, either. Just this morning, at around 6 am, my daughter decided to bombard me with simple questions like, “Where is God? Is he in the moon? Does he have a face? After my birthdays can’t be counted on all my fingers and toes, does this mean I’ll die? (her birthday is tomorrow) When will grandma die? Where do we go after we die? How do we become babies? Do we get little? etc. etc.” I was like, ummm…let me drink another two or three cups of coffee and I’ll get back to you on those…

    • Oh yes. My daughter asks me all of those questions too. And my son tells me all the weird things he and his friends come up with and as much as I’d like to dismiss it, I have to set him straight. Though one time, my husband did step up and tell him what a wiener was. Evidently he could not have him living life with the wrong definition of that. ;)

      • haha! Good for your husband. I’ve tried to discuss where babies come from with my son and I think halfway through the conversation, I passed out and my husband took over, thankfully.

  3. I prefer the blunt responses, myself. It takes the naughty wind out of their sails when I just say it all very casually and medically. :)

  4. Ah, the joys of motherhood and Frogger-like driving. Who knew that Atari game would prepare us all so well! I have often searched the dashboard for a magic button that would lower the plastic noise-resistance barrier between me and the backseat people. But, then I’d probably think it was too quiet and miss their sillies. Awesome post!

    • And I guess our brothers and sisters were the Frogger distraction to prepare us for future kids. ;) I do miss them when I’m driving alone. I often say something and realize I’m by myself. Oops.

      • Red

        I think that is the only time I am willing to talk on the tele while driving. I think it has happened exactly twice in 20 years.

  5. Loved this post! Made my morning. :) Crazy kids and their questions. I’m still getting the “What would happen if…” From my 5 year old and am dreading the deeper questions from his big brother. :)

  6. I’m excited for those questions (of course I say that now). I embarrassed my mother and father when I was fairly young after watching Look Who Is Talking. In the middle of the restaurant in my loud child with a fact voice I told my mom and dad “Boys have a PENIS, and girls have a VAGINA”. The couldn’t exactly scold me could they hahaha

  7. Just discovered your blog, and grinning while reading. Our kids ask really abstract questions sometimes… “why is this a road?” was a good one. You’re never quite sure if they’re asking *anything* just to get attention…

  8. Lisa

    The Santa questions are hitting me hard right now. I usually can divert their attention sometimes with a dead animal on the road. Thankfully there are lots of those.

  9. I am a father and I do get asked those questions. And I am useless in answering them because I giggle just as silly as my kids, much to the dismay of my better half!

    • Oh trust me, I am the giggler in this family. My husband rolls his eyes at me because I’m the one who thinks most of that nonsense is funny. However, I did get a bit squirmy at the sex talk stuff. That was rough!

  10. I think you are on to something with the no eye contact thing. I also think that they know we are trapped with them in the car and they somehow feel a bit more powerful knowing we can’t escape them and their questions. Cody asked me about his “bottom hole” and what it was really called. I give you one guess what his new favorite word is. Sigh.

  11. So funny, my kids asked car questions too and I can still remember every one. The real problem for me came when one asked a question and I tried to figure out an age appropriate response for kids of three different ages. I can still chuckle thinking of the things I told them….great post.

  12. I swear some of our deepest/most hilarious conversations happen in the car — of course, when I can’t jot them down to laugh about later.

  13. And you still managed to pull into the driveway safely. *applauds*

    • They all seem to happen around this one light. I’m trying to turn left, the kids are throwing surprise questions at me about body parts and the birds and the bees and words I think they shouldn’t know until high school. It’s tough, very tough. Lots of times I just sit at that light and wait for the next green arrow. Too many things coming at me at once, ya know?

  14. What a perfectly splendid post! So true — my daughter is the same way about asking me off the wall life questions in the car! I wish I could remember some of them. I need to keep a notepad in the car.

    • I think in general, the car is just a good place to think. Being driven around, looking out windows, kids just remember all the things that have been going through their minds all day I guess.

  15. It is odd, isn’t it, that those conversations always tend to happen in the car. I think you are right about the no eye-contact part. I wonder how people conducted these talks before the advent of electric motors.

  16. You’re nominated for the Super Sweet Blog Award. :)

  17. LOL My kids all knew everything about EVERYTHING by the time they were five (sperm, egg, male penis into female “egg-or-baby-hole,” growth cycle to birth, and, finally, the birth process). I use dogs, birds, and bugs as models for sexual behavior; they rarely “do it” behind closed doors.

    Father Time fixes the rest of it, humanizing it — I can always tell by the way a ready 10-yr-old awkwardly scrunches his face and walks away from any intelligent conversation on the “sex” subject matter. Or they way he rolls his eyes when Mom and Dad go upstairs and lock the door for a few minutes.

    Yep. He knows alright. The rest, the gory details, I’ll leave those to Dad. :)

  18. I am no longer reading your posts with food in my mouth!!! I dread the day when my kids ask this question. I’m afraid I might have make them watch “Kindergarten Cop’…”Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina”. Or you can have them watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy’…”O’Malley, you better quit looking at my Va-Jay-Jay.”

    • They break you in gently, don’t they? At this point, they ask so many questions I get tired of dancing around them some days. I’m sure they will still manage to surprise me. I really am glad they come to me with them because I talk to a lot of parents whose kids don’t. So if yours do, see it as a blessing, uncomfortable maybe, but a blessing nonetheless.

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