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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Birds, Bees and Bulls

August 20, 2011
Last Monday, I believe it was, Ellen and I were walking down over the ridge to get the 4-wheeler from where hubby leaves it after his round-up. As is usual, the bull was standing there in the trees, a ways behind the milk barn. (He follows the herd up the hill and then stands there while hubby shuts the gate on him. He later decides he wants to join the cows and pushes the gate down to get to them. But that is a different story.)

Ellen has seen the bull numerous times. We have had many discussions about how cows have udders and give milk, but she’d never really thought about what the bull is for…until that night.

As we were walking by she suddenly asked; “Mommy, what does the bull do?”

Trying to keep it light and unthreatening (to myself, not to her) I replied: “He eats grass and sleeps all day.”

“No, Mom,” Ellen wasn’t satisfied. “What does he DO?”



I jumped in with both feet and just gave her the truth, since she obviously wasn’t going to fall for anything other than the unvarnished facts.

“He makes baby calves.”

She thought about that for a moment.



I forget exactly what I told her, but I said something along the lines that bulls and cows make calves. She was satisfied with that and went on talking about parades and flags and whatever else 4 year olds ought to be worried about. The whole conversation took maybe less than a minute.

Hubby was aghast that I told her that much. But I doubt I did any lasting harm.

Facts is facts; as they say.

Two nights later we walked by him again. This time she paused and looked at him. I could tell she was thinking. Just a few minutes earlier she’d said that the bull was going to miss getting milked. I told her that bulls don’t give milk. So she had to check him out. Obviously he didn’t have an udder.

She pointed.

“Mommy, what’s that hanging down there?”


After a split second of thinking about how I could get out of it, I just gave her the clinical answer.

“Those are his testicles.”




She hasn’t mentioned it since. I hope and pray it’s awhile until she sees him in action; performing his duties. Please, God. Maybe she’ll hit her father with that question. Hahahahaha…

But really, seriously, I am glad she is noticing so young. I am just going to give her the simplest facts for now and as she gets older there won't be any overwhelming shock, surprise or disgust about it; it will just be natural and normal.


jel said...

that is funny :)

Mary said...

Atta girl....proud of you. I had four children on a dairy goat farm. I had a new little toggenburg buck and a herd of tall nubian does. My 7 year old son watched the goings on for a while then rolled a tire out to the goat herd and held a big doe beside the tire. The little tog buck jumped on the tire and did his thing....Noel just shrugged and said it looked like he needed a little help. Farm kids never need to feel guilty or ashamed of what they see or learn from is Nature. Use the full blown correct terms for everything Ellen asks. Is is so nice to walk along and visit with a 7 and 10 year old who point out, "Look Granny, those walking sticks are mating"...and then we stop and watch a while and go on about our walk like nothing odd happened, because it didn't!

Anonymous said...

You're doing great, Rebecca. Proud of you!

Donna. W said...

You're doing your job well as a mother. Just don't be too shocked when the Sunday School teacher tells you that Ellen has been explaining bull anatomy to the class. Haaaaaaaaa!