“So, how did you get a baby in your tummy, anyway?”
Of course. So. I told Roan I would answer him as soon as we had lights out, after books and brushing teeth. I wanted to find out if he was really curious, or if he was just delaying bedtime. I have to admit – as cool or progressive or open minded or NOT MY MOM AND DAD as I think I am, I was spinning a little. I didn’t really know what he should know, if there were aspects that would freak him out rather than enlighten him, or even if he would remember to ask me when we had lights out and of course yes he remembered to ask me.
So my approach was this: start broad, and wait for his questions. I felt more comfortable letting him decide how many details he wanted. So I started out saying that when a mom and dad decide they want a baby, they use their bodies, together, to make one. Starting nice and easy, I felt totally cool but he jumped up a few levels by asking “What about a mommy and a mommy?”
So, off to the reproductive system I went. I touched Roan on his tummy and told him a female has a reproductive system here, and it has eggs. A man has a reproductive system in his testicles (met by a “Noooooooo!!” then giggling) and he has sperm. When the sperm meets the egg, a baby is made. So if there are two men that want a baby or two women who want a baby, a doctor can help them, by using machines medicine and science to make it happen, but still with these same two parts.
He took that all at face value and moved on. Clearly the next piece is how did his dad’s sperm get to his mom’s egg? I went ahead and got my science voice on and said that the man uses his penis in the woman’s vagina and that it is only appropriate for adults to do and definitely not kids and not even appropriate for teenagers. I heard myself and realized that in one 2-minute conversation my son, he had turned me into a right wing, abstinence only, sex is for procreation caricature. That was weird.
He seemed like he was unscathed by our conversation thus far, and as he ramped up for his next question, I promised myself to try and be more myself, less uptight and started relaxing about answering correctly, thinking about how truth really isn’t going to hurt him. But here’s the thing – I never had this talk with my parents. I was so naïve and unquestioning that until about 4th grade I believed a woman got pregnant by asking God for a child and God agreeing that it was a probably a good idea and then presto the baking began. When a classmate started talking about sex I was wide-eyed, horrified and so forth and really thought she was a mess for making this kind of thing up.
And so. Calm and cool and returning back into my own skin, I heard Roan begin with “Mom….?”
“I will never….”
“Change that babies diaper”
Fair enough, we’d leave it to Dad, I said. And then one more,
“Mom? What’s it called? When you’re making the baby?”
“Uh, yeh well it’s called sex or doctors say intercourse and some people say making love….”
Which spawned his best line to date, “Making BABY love!” Nice. Can’t wait for him to break that one out for his classmates. To the entire collective of parents of Roan’s friends: you’re welcome for adding “Making BABY love” to the lexicon of the first grade class.