Life with kids is never dull, and just when I think I’m getting the hang of it, one or both of my two kids will throw me a curve ball. My girl is seven (almost eight) and a quiet observer. Fiercely loyal, a good friend, empathetic almost to a fault, she doesn’t like crowds but desperately wants to relate to people. My almost-five boy, on the other hand, can work a crowd like a politician, has amazing comedic timing, and a brain that scares me a little. He’s an extrovert in a family of introverts.
My nephew’s wife recently had a baby, which brought lots of questions out of the little guy.
“How did the baby get in her tummy?”
“God put it there.”
“Yeah, but how?”
And here is how we come to my best parenting moment ever. I answered as any adept parent would:
“I do,” he said. “I think God drops the baby down from the sky onto a really big trampoline, and then the baby bounces into the mommy’s tummy.”
“Works for me.”
My friend Aisha insisted I could not allow him to believe the trampoline story. I thought it was perfectly feasible, but she kept on me.
Of course, this whole topic came up when my husband was conveniently out of town, which is so not fair. He’s supposed to handle this topic with the boy child. My little girl was just quietly observing all these conversations, saying nary a word, eyeing us over the top of her book.
Which gave me an idea. I’ll buy a book!!! Amazon prime, here I come. Rush me some books.
A few days later, salvation arrived in the form of the brown box. I’d purchased two age-appropriate books that would answer the age-old question, “Where do babies come from?” I handed the boy his book and he immediately wanted to me to read it to him. I handed the girl her book and she looked horrified as she said, “I didn’t ask the question!” She gingerly flipped through the pages as if they were covered in cooties, giggled at the cartoon pictures of naked people, and then stuffed the book on her bookshelf and took out Harry Potter. I think she may have rubbed her eyes to rid them of the images.
The boy child, on the other hand, LOVES his book. He makes me read it to him often. We haven’t even gotten to the part about how babies are actually made. He’s still stuck on the page about girl-parts and boy-parts. The girl-child probably doesn’t need to know this due to the fact that her little brother will come running into the room naked if he had a really great idea that he needed to tell her right now! No time even for underwear. She, on the other hand, insists on her privacy, and the loudest that girl has ever been was when she was yelling at her brother not to open the door while she was getting changed. So he’s probably very curious as to what she’s hiding under the towel she wraps so tightly around herself when she walks from the shower to her room.
He relishes his nakedness. I once walked into the bathroom to give him a bath when he was three to find him dancing a little booty dance in all his glory, singing, “I’m so naked, so very naked!” It was hysterical. As he approaches five, he’s beginning to develop a sense of propriety. Now when he walks around naked he holds one hand in front and one hand in back. But then he’ll inexplicably do a jumping jack and yell “BOO!” So I guess not so much about the modesty thing.
The book opened up a world of conversation with my little guy. It seems he had all these questions swirling around in his head, and finally has permission to let them all out. He is thrilled about it. And all joking aside, it’s very, very sweet. His trust and his joy at finally being able to ask his questions, well, it’s worth my discomfort.
These aren’t the first awkward moments I’ve had as a parent and I’m sure they won’t be the last. But next time, I’m passing the responsibility along to Michael. He owes me. That’s what he gets for being away on business when all this went down. I’m going to make him say “vagina” over and over again.