What it’s like when your kids walk in on you

As a child, there’s nothing more disgusting than learning about sex. I’m reminded of this while watching a hilarious video of parents asking kids, “So, where do babies come from?”

A five-year-old boy points to his Mum’s lap, saying, “There’s some kind of hole here, like an ig-a-loo.” When asked about how her aunty had a baby, one young girl declares, “It came out of her butt.”

A third, when prompted with, “You know the place between Mummy’s legs?” answers confidently, “Oh, the van-gina!”

Soon there’s a panoply of parents umming and ahhing about a “special dance” they do “under the sheets” with “no clothes on”. “That’s really disgusting, you know,” says a boy, crinkling his nose. Others bury their faces in their hands, or cover their ears, when they discover how the penis gets into the vagina.


We were forced to fast-track The Talk after our five-year-old daughter walked in on us. To be fair, we’d avoided sex for a year for fear of being sprung. (Actually, that’s not true. We were just too buggered to be bothered, most of the time.)

It happened during a family holiday in a small cabin on the NSW Central Coast. (You know, near The Entrance, yuk yuk. Benny Hill, eat your heart out.) Hubby and I thought the kids were watching cartoons, until we heard a small squeak. Yep, we’d forgotten to lock the bedroom door.

“Oh, I’m sure she didn’t see anything,” hubby reasoned. “And if she did, she wouldn’t have known what it was.” Wrong. Within minutes, Grace was in the room, giggling: “Hee-hee, you had scissor legs, Mummy. Was Daddy squashing you?”

“Er, no, darling, we were just having a cuddle,” I answered. “Do you want some chocolate?”

Gotta love distraction.

Sadly, the seed had been planted (in her mind, not my belly, I mean). So, on another holiday several years later, with the kids aged seven and nine, we decided to have The Talk.

There’s none of this “When a man and a woman love each other very much…” because, hey, it’s 2015, not 1915. And there are no euphemisms, like “pocket” for vagina or “thingy” for penis. And we don’t delve into details from the Kama Sutra.

It’s somewhat of a science lesson, involving sperm fertilising an egg, which implants in the uterus, forming an embryo. In order to do this, the penis must enter the vagina. Fortunately, they seem satisfied. Unlike me, when I misconceived my parents’ explanation.

I had it in my head that the man deposits his sperm on the bed and the woman sits on it. Kinda like a bird with its eggs. For years, I refused to sit on any man’s bed for fear of being impregnated. Thus began a series of unfortunate events, culminating in my first sexual experience at the age of 17.

As I was unable to sit on Eamonn’s bed – for obvious reasons – our early dates were destined to be in the back seat of a 1966 Toyota Corolla. Still, I managed to convince young Eamonn to come to my house one afternoon for a private viewing of the movie, The Blue Lagoon.

As Brooke Shields’ character, Emmeline, says to Richard, “You’re always staring at my buppies”, I made my move. Mimicking something I’d heard at school, I asked, “So, how about a root?” in a way I hoped was both sassy and sexy. (I am the queen of romance. Just ask my husband.)

I shan’t soil your minds with images of the spectacle that followed.

I suspect my children will face a similar fate. After all, whose first time is a bed of roses? But at least they’ll be able to use the appropriate terms, rather than, “Hey Mum, just taking my van-gina for a spin!”

I’m re-reading the classics at the moment. (Yes, I am a nerd. *Adjusts glasses*.) The latest is Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë or, should I say, Mr Ellis Bell, because female authors weren’t taken seriously at the time. The novel challenges the strict Victorian standards for women, exploring their egregious disempowerment, and I love the main character, Catherine, a “shape-shifting, Gothic demon”, according to feminist author Ellen Moers. Gotta love a woman like that.

Aside from my usual diet of ABC TV’s 7.30 and Four Corners (see nerd confession, above), I’m waiting for the new series of Game of Thrones and House of Cards. Despite being middle-aged suburbanites, my hubby and I have taken to binge-watching these shows. Frankly, they’re our heroin. In fact, the kids have been known to berate us in the morning with, “You’re overtired because you stayed up all night watching that show about boobies” in the case of the former. I hasten to add that we enjoy the political machinations in both series, not just the boobies.

To continue my frabjous* frolic in old and new media at Sky News, Fairfax, The Hoopla and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. But my abiding passion is convening Women in Media, a networking and mentoring group aimed at amplifying female voices in the industry.

*One of my favourite words, a blend of fair, fabulous and joyous, from Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.