Monday, April 22, 2013

On Answering Embarrassing Questions

“What’s humping?” Tommy asked innocently.

The question was embarrassing in itself. What made it worse was that we were in public. Sitting in a waiting room for the dentist to call us back. Did I mention that the waiting room was full of people?

And, oh yes, the people sitting around us heard Tommy.

A few snickered and the woman sitting diagonal from us leaned forward slightly, awaiting my response.

I felt warm all over.

“Tommy, that’s a very adult word—phrase—where did you hear it?” I wanted to know. Okay, yes, I got the line from Three Men and a Little Lady. Remember the scene when Mary asks what a penis is?

“Some boys at school were talking about it,” Tommy answered.


More snickering from the other patients.

“Let’s talk about it at home,” I suggested. “It’s not appropriate to discuss in public. With young ears.” I nodded towards the tiny kids.

Honestly, I was hoping Tommy would forget.

(And bonus, both kids are still cavity free!)

Tommy didn’t forget though. When we got home he asked about it again. As I ran Natalie’s bath, I explained that it was something people did when they liked each other.

“That’s strange,” Tommy said, wrinkling his nose. Then he went, “Do you think we’ll get a tornado soon?” Because he tends to move from subject to subject quickly. Which is why it’s hard for him in social settings.

I was glad though. Phew. Tornados I can discuss.

Humping? Not so much.


  1. I like your wise answer on how it is inappropriate to discuss in public with young ears nearby, will keep in mind.

  2. He's a bright boy... asking questions... it's never wrong to ask questions...


  3. We've been having similar conversations lately ... but I am quite happy to answer them rather then letting the kids get their answers from other kids.

  4. I'm not surprised that he didn't forget!
    That's one thing that I'm sure I'll have a hard time with when/if I have kids! Those embarrassing questions - idk how I'm gonna handle them!!

  5. Too funny! When my youngest was in second grade, apparently it was a topic of discussion on the bus and my son explained it. I received a call from another mother who told me what had happened...she wasn't mad...she basically said he explained it well. As you can imagine I was shocked as that isn't a word we've ever used in our house...she thought it was perhaps because we have dogs. But they were girl dogs and we never had reason to use that word. The only thing I can think of is a book my mom sent to the kids on where babies come from way back when! Embarrassing mom moment!

  6. Great answers! I always go for the "where did you hear it" question first. A few times it's really saved me because what they were asking was totally different from what I thought they were asking.

  7. My jaw dropped when I read the Q Tommy had asked, but at the same time pretty funny too. Tommy is getting at that age where he will be hearing alot of so stuff that you will be embarassed to hear him ask you. I am surprised they don't have a special health class for 9-12 year olds in school, like they do in some schools here in Canada.

  8. I have a very distinct memory of asking my mom what rape was when I was much younger...yikes! And hh, how I dread the day when I have kids and they ask me questions I know I do not want to answer, but it sounds like you handled it well!

  9. I once asked my sister if she was a lesbian quite loudly in a restaraunt, and she was like 5 at the time, my parents were not pleased ;)

  10. Oh, Lawd! Why do those questions *always* come when you are out in public or when you are at your mother-in-law's house? Happens every time!! You handled it just right! Thank goodness for tornado questions! --Lisa

  11. Why do kids have to grow up?

    This reminds me about when I got my little sister to ask my mom want a blow job is. Best day ever.

  12. Too funny, but your response was great!

  13. I love the way you handled his asking that question in a busy waiting room!

  14. In train yards, there are signs that read "Do Not Hump". They are referring to the process of backing train car to train car so they will attach at the hitch. Just not at full speed! Full speed is "humping".

    Would this explanation have been easier for you? ;) (I learned the train definition as a college student.)

  15. Phew, you had a lucky escape. Thank heavens for the subject of tornados.

  16. our dog humps a blanket and gets a huge erection. My son said, "Thank goodness that never happens to my penis!" Leave it to animals to help with those awkward conversations!

  17. Oh boy!! Yeah, I have been getting those questions too. You handled it better than me. I just say "ask your father"...I know...horrible mom!!

  18. Phew! Good save! Of all of the mortifying places for him to ask such a question....


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