Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How does a baby get in the tummy?

A picture of my wife

Image via Wikipedia

We found out recently that a friend of ours is pregnant.

The kids were very excited about this and innocently enough, began asking questions like “when is the baby coming?”

Then, my 4.5 year old asked, “how does the baby get in the mommy’s tummy?”

In parenting, as in life, there are moments where you are acutely aware that you stand at a fork in the road.

This was one of them.

Yes, the kids are 4.5 and 6 and, yes, I certainly expected to have a few years before I would have this type of conversation, but I decided at that moment that I was going to take the straight, honest, and narrow path.

The tooth fairy may be one thing I can bend the laws of honesty on for the time being, but somehow, it just felt like the topic of sex and reproduction required me (if only for myself) to start off on the right foot.

And, so I did.

Trying to keep a straight face (only because I was the only one in the room who realized the cosmic significance of the moment), I calmly explained the concept using words like “penis,” “vagina,” and “puts in.”

I didn’t go into the full biology of it and I made sure to explain that there are MANY things that go into the decision like love, age (they are very aware of age now), ability to financially support, having a job, etc.

By the time I was done (and it was probably only 2 minutes, though it felt like an eternity), I think they had lost interest (though I had corrected some misconceptions such as “the baby comes out of the tush!” and “no, you can’t buy a baby at Target.”).

Still, I had overcome my initial fear and awkwardness which, I hope, will make the real Birds/Bees conversations more natural, open, and constructive when the time comes.

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