The other day, Thing 1 asked me about one of her friends back home in Illinois; how she was doing, what’s going on with her, etc. I told her that I really hadn’t talked to her mom so I wasn’t sure but, I do know that her mom is expecting a baby. She looked at me in all seriousness and said “Why?” I laughed and said that apparently they want another baby. “They just had one!” “Okay,” I replied, “so, now they are having another.” She stood there for a moment, then said “How does she keep doing that?” “Doing what?” I asked, somewhat hesitantly. I was almost sure that I knew just where this conversation was headed and I didn’t like it one bit! ” How does she keep having babies?” Now, I had plenty of room to play dumb here but, I knew that what she was really asking about was where do babies come from. I hate this question! I am a 46-year-old mother of five and I absolutely hate this question. I paused briefly and finally offered up “Well, you know, daddy plants the seed and it grows into a baby.” Lame. I know it was lame but, it was all I had. She was not deterred. She looked at me and, with dramatic flair said “Hooooow did he plant the seed? And Wheeeere did he plant the seed?” I wanted to cry. I did. I really wanted to burst into tears but, instead I quickly looked around and seeing a perfect distraction, I yelled “PICK UP ALL OF THESE TOYS! THIS ROOM IS A MESS!” It wasn’t pretty and I’m not proud of myself but, it worked. Don’t judge me.
So, I’m thinking that she’s only six! Why is she asking these questions at such an early age? Who is she hanging out with? Are they talking about this stuff on the playground? What kind of kids are they and maybe I need to do background checks on their parents? Then, I thought back almost exactly sixteen years ago. Mr. C was about the same age when he started asking about the birds and the bees. I freaked out then, too (I’m fairly consistent)! However, I did have “The Talk” with him.
Oh, just a side note here: Unfortunately, this will be the first of many versions of “The Talk” that you will have with your children over the years. I’m sorry.
Anyway, the truth is that I wanted him to hear it from me, not some filthy mouthed kid or a school health teacher. No, I wanted his first explanation to come from me. It took me a month or two (or six) to prepare myself but, I went and bought an age appropriate book (Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle) to help me be a little more eloquent. Also, since I was a single mother at the time, I wanted him to always know that he could talk to me about absolutely anything! So, I put on my big girl undies, so to speak, and dealt with it.
One night, as we were watching television, I said, “Honey, do you think that you know where babies come from?” He said, “Sure. You eat a peanut and it grows into a baby.” Folks, I don’t know where he got that from. Did that mean that there were a whole lot of pregnant elephants? I chuckled and said “Well, no.” Then I took out my book that I had strategically placed under the sofa pillow, moved him closer to me and started reading. Now, let me say that this book is a very child centered, no-nonsense approach to reproduction. It makes it clear that all of this happens between a husband and a wife and the people in the book are not drawn to look like super models. They are somewhat zaftig, which, I thought was a great idea. I mean, why set the kids up for disappointment! As we read, I went from embarrassed to uncomfortable to pretty proud of myself. I had actually put aside my own fear and stepped up to the plate. He was listening so intently! It went really well! By the way, if he had actually asked me if this was how he was conceived, I was going to tell him “No, because I am a goddess and only mere mortals have to do it this way.” My ability to deal with reality only goes so far.
After I was done reading, I asked Mr. C if he had any questions and he assured me that he did not. Further proof that I had done a fabulous job! I hugged him and asked “Now do you know where babies come from?” He smiled and said “Yep. You eat a peanut and it grows into a baby!”