Deep Thoughts,  Inventions, Creations, Experiments

The Penis Project & More

There’s been lots of talk about sex around the Glamore house this week, mainly by me. I’ve been reading Strong Mothers, Strong Sons, which says that boys approaching adolescence should be told everything their parents know about puberty. I thought I did a fabulous job of giving Finn a technically descriptive, exhaustive sex talk a while back. As I read the book, however, I realized that I had completely failed to mention wet dreams. What kind of mother advises her son so thoroughly on the care and feeding of a menstruating woman (back rubs and chocolate) and neglects to inform him about nocturnal emissions?

I called Bill at work and got his voice mail.

“Honey, I forgot to tell Finn about wet dreams when I gave him the sex talk, and I’m afraid he’s going to start having them soon. Do you think you could go over that with him tonight while y’all are driving from baseball practice to drums? You should have twelve minutes to cover it if there are no wrecks and you drive five miles over the speed limit. Love you!”

Bill wasted no time responding. His parents had not discussed the subject with him, and he would not be talking to Finn about it between drums and baseball. Frankly, given the way he’d comported himself during the sex talk, this was what I had expected.
Nevertheless, I called him back and complained that I was ill-equipped to discuss nocturnal emissions, having never experienced one myself. Bill was not swayed, so I resorted to rummaging through the depths of Finn’s closet until I located It’s So Amazing!. I marked the page about wet dreams with a sticky tab, and inserted a note:

Dear Finn: I wanted to make sure you knew about the stuff described in the first paragraph because I forgot to mention it in our talk. If you have any questions you can try asking Daddy, but honestly, he might die of embarrassment. I don’t mind if you just come to me. Love, Mama

I tucked the book under his pillow where he’d be sure to find it when he went to bed.

The next day I looked in his room and the book had been returned to its hiding place in his closet. I worried that he hadn’t seen the blue sticky tab, so I retrieved the book and put it on top of his pillow and pulled up his bedspread until the book was covered except for the very corner where the tab stuck out.

That afternoon the boys came home from school and the twins ran straight outside to squirt fire ants with the hose. I decided I’d had enough of stealthily circling the subject. I’m more of a straight shooter.

“Finn,” I said, “did you see the part I marked in your book about sex?”

“Oh yeah,” he said nonchalantly, pouring a glass of milk. “I already knew about those.”

“Great. And you know how below that it talked about what to do if your penis gets hard like a stick in class? I think you don’t need to worry about that because you wear really baggy shorts and no one’s going to notice it if you have an erection unless you start wearing tight leather pants to school.”

Finn gasped and spit milk onto the counter. “Mom, no way I’m wearing anything leather to school. And when I pop a boner in class, I just sit there a minute and it goes away. It’s no big deal.” He ate a tremendous slice of chocolate chip pound cake in two bites. “Anything else we need to talk about?”

It was my turn to freak.

“No,” I whispered. I was having a hard time standing up. “Pop a boner…pop a boner…pop a boner” reverberated in my head. Did my first-born, my eldest, just say that, so casually?

“Cool,” he said. “Is it okay if I go ride bikes with Henry? I’ll be back by five.”

What I said was,”Sure.” What I was thinking was “Pop a boner…pop a boner…pop a boner.”

Finn grabbed a bottled of water and headed for the door as I steadied myself on the counter. Before he walked out he turned around.

“You know what, Mom? It’s really cool that you can talk about things like sex and popping boners without going all nuts. Henry’s parents haven’t even said anything to him about sex. He has to ask his brother when he has a question, and he’s got tons of acne. No way he’s come close to a girl. I’m glad I can just ask you, and it doesn’t embarrass you, like, at all.”

I nodded and smiled, trying to maintain my reputation for not going bonkers. Finn yelled “See ya!” as he slammed the door.

I walked back to his bedroom and got the book from his pillow. I lay back on his bed and thought about how it seems like yesterday that I was reading Forever and learning about the mysterious penis.
Now I’ve married the owner of one and birthed three more. The mystery is gone: the penis is the master of the man and the boss of the boy. It’s my job to make sure the penises under my control are clean and well-behaved. It’s a challenging project, to be sure.


  • Zoot

    Okay – you are SUCH a better mom than I am. I didn’t talk about wet dreams openly at ALL. I was too scared!

    But – I am buying that book right now and totally leaving a post – it in the same place. But mine will say something like “DONT TALK TO ME ABOUT THIS. EVER. I MIGHT DIE OF EMBARRASSMENT.”

  • Lauren

    I’d have to vote for best humor or best parenting. Really, it’s a toss up for me. Your posts are always hilarious, but there’s always some really good insights into raising kids and a family.
    And thanks for the little nod there about my blog! And thanks for reading. And the Crawfish Boil–haven’t thought about it yet this year, but I will go right now to see who’s playing!

  • Melina

    I don’t have kids but I have much younger brothers and a sister and I talk to them openly about sex and drugs too, cuz I’d rather they come to me then to their friends and I know our father (and their mother my step mother) are not exactly the easiest people to talk to about these issues.

    I think it is great that you can talk to your boys candidly and that your boys will discuss these issues with you. You have a great relationship with them and you should be really proud (which I know you are). Keep up the great job and I say best parenting blog.

  • bluepaintred

    my oldest son is seve. he will be eight in october. should he be told about this stuff? what age do I start telling him?

    ack! parenting!

    pee ess: our school does nothing for sex education, so other then the kids at school (eww) he will only learn from hom (eek)

  • MGM

    I’m still trying to recover from “pop a boner.” I’m laughing so hard I can barely type!!!!!!

    Sheesh! I’m so glad my son is still only 16 months old. I’m still in denial about the whole puberty thing.

    Sorry, no great opinion on which blog category to choose. I do love to read your blog though. It’s really great writing and makes me laugh.

  • Leeny

    Best Blog About Stuff and Best Parenting Blog, those are my choices for you! Oh my gosh, “pop a boner”?? This post was hilarious! But sooo instructional, too. It’ll be interesting how my daughter handles the topic when her son is of age.

  • VHMom

    Oh. My. Gosh. I’m still laughing and I first read your post a couple of hours ago! Having two girls, this whole raising-boys thing is so much fun to watch, but geez I’m glad it’s not me doing it. At least with girls, I can sorta relate to whatever they’re going through. With them being 5 1/2 years apart, this second one’s relatively easy, even though she’s 13(since I learned that having a sense of humor is 75% of good parenting–you’ve got that down pat, I must say!).

    I vote Best Parenting Blog, but the others are great contenders, as well.

  • lake lurker

    I’ll vote Best Parenting Blog because you’re as good as Erma Bombeck and Best Blog About Stuff because you remind me of Seinfeld stories. Good luck!

  • Alliebelle

    Hi Anne! I’m the one who nominated you! I was going to email you first, but I couldn’t find you listed after I submitted the nominations. I wasn’t sure if they had been accepted until I read your post about it! I hope the description I wrote is okay. I’m definitely not a writer! 🙂

    Oh, and about the categories… I just picked everything that I thought might be relevant, since you can receive votes in more than one category. Thus the Health and Photography nominations…

    I really do love your blog, and I appreciate your honesty about EVERYTHING! I have a feeling your experiences will come in handy when I get ready to have kids in a couple of years. Kind of like a reference manual! The most hilarious reference manual ever written!

  • Charro

    This has to be one of the best stories I have ever read !! Soooo funny ! Thanks so much for sharing. I vote for best humor blog…all of your blogs are humorous!!!

  • Katrina

    Seriously, I am bookmarking this post and every other post of yours that is spilling over with boy-raising wit and wisdom. Mine is only four, but I have a feeling I’m going to be needing some reference resources.

    Our only penis-related problem right now is how to make sure that the owner of it aims it down into the potty when he’s peeing, as opposed to, say, on the wall or the floor. I don’t think he’s doing it on purpose–I just think he’s easily distracted.

    Love the blog links! And for the record, I think I’m torn between Best Humor Blog and Hottest Mommy Blogger (show ’em the Angelina Jolie comparison pics–you’re a shoo-in!)

  • KLee

    That was hilarious. I’m surprised that you didn’t have the phrase “pop a boner” haunting you even into your dreams! I just thank God I have a daughter, and I don’t have to talk to her about wet dreams and erections. The talks we DO have are painful enough. 🙂

    Congrats on your nominations! You certainly deserve them!

  • Tiffany

    OMG! I think I would have passed out! I have no idea how you kept your composure. As you know, I have 3 boys & I’m so worried about how to foster an open relationship with them when I have no idea what they’ll be going through! An adolescent boy is way different than an adolescent girl!

    Thanks for blogging about these things! I’m sure many readers are reaping the benefits. As well as being thoroughly horrified! 🙂

    And I think you should go for the Best Parenting Award. You rock!

  • Laura

    My 8 year old never asked about sex and I really should be prepared for that. I’m afraid he wants to “test” with some girl how sex works.
    Well…I guess I have to start reading about the subject.
    You really are a good mother. I love your approach to the kids.

  • Kelly

    It is cool that you can discuss those things with your boys, because they do learn a frightening amount from their friends & it helps to have some common sense info thrown in from mom. When my kids were younger we travelled together alot, one-on-one, because they were both involved in travel sports teams and mom usually took them to practice 2 hours away. I learned that when they throw those shocking comments to you when you are driving, you tend to not react (that they can see), and they will tell you even more stuff when you dont gasp in disbelief. They will also open up on a road trip and volunteer LOTS of info! As one who can stand in an aisle at Walmart for 15 minutes trying to decide between irons, I can narrow it down to three: Honest Mommy, The Blogitzer (I can see your English training) and The Best Blog of All Time. Yours was the first I ever read and after moving around to many, many others I still maintain that yours is the best. I always read it first. And my kids are adults, so I’m not really reading you for child raising advice.

  • Toni

    OMG! I just come across here- a first timer and I haven’t laughed that hard in such a long time! I 2 boys and can completely relate! Loved it!

  • Shayna

    Anne, you’re hilarious as usual! I lurve your writing (but you know that :)). I thought of you today because I finally got around to posting pictures from my sister’s wedding last month and her wedding cake was from PUBLIX! They apparently do gourmet cakes now and being recently graduated, the happy bride and groom were on a budget. The cakes looked and tasted great, though, and only further instilled the deep-seeded love for Publix that I know you share. 🙂

  • Beast Mom

    My son is 8. These days are quickly a coming. (no pun intended). Thanks for the heads up. (no pun intended).

    Man, my mind’s in the gutter today. Seriously, thanks for posting so honestly about this. It’s now in my mental file under “Teachable Moments & How to Not Freak Out”.


  • Suburban Turmoil

    You crack me up! And terrify me! I can’t imagine dealing with this in about 12 years with the little baby sleeping in front of me- Luckily, I’m sure my husband will be happy to discuss it with him in exhaustive detail. Heh.

    I think you should go for ALL the categories- Did you know that people can vote for as many people in each category as they want? So they can just run down the list of yours with votes and still vote for their other favorites, too.

  • Angelika

    Thanks for this post!

    I just asked my 11 year old if I’d told him about wet dreams. No. So I explained what they were and that he shouldn’t be embarassed because it happens to all boys.

    He was underwhelmed, LOL.