Thursday, April 30, 2009

It's Not the Stork

I have been given no reprieve from the discussions of baby making. Suffice it to say that my child is not interested in the city or hospital he was born in when he asks "Where did I come from?" I have been a little shocked at some of the opinions shared when I've asked others how they have handled questions of bird and bee. One person with several kids insisted, adamantly even, that it is best to tell children a story about a large, baby delivering bird. Seriously. Another friend reminded me to make the distinction about the parties being grown up and married. She would be one having a more clear understanding of my baby loving and scientific son.

The best advice of course is to simply answer a child's questions as they come up. Don't offer more than what they are asking and they will only continue to ask what they are ready to hear. Okay, makes sense. Or so I thought. I actually do know my son relatively well and have had very long question and answer sessions about such things as how electricity flows through power lines, the origin of the foods on his plate, and the detailed operation of a motor vehicle. Why I thought I would be able to have this conversation in 22 seconds or less, is really beyond me.

I have checked out many books from the library and also searched on line for just the right presentation for my inquisitive son. I had yet to pre-screen the books and had to come up with some answers fast so I resorted to Google. I was directed to the Mayo Clinic's website where they offered a bit about babies being created from a "very special hug" between a mommy and a daddy. I thought this might be the perfect response. Pretty real with no gory details, no experiments that needed to be carried out et cetera. Nathan asked the question again not ten minutes after I read this suggestion so I decided to give it a try. I regurgitated it verbatim, my words carried with the tone of a gentle breeze I was so confident. That feeling lasted all of about a nanosecond, at which time Nathan looked at me like I was the idiot I am and said "But...How?" The moment of truth was upon me. I joined him at at his little table in the kitchen, elbows on knees, looked at him intently and said, "A baby is made from a very special part from a man and a very special part from a woman. Those special parts come together and they grow and grow in the womb until they make a baby." As I said this, I motioned absently with each of my index fingers and then brought them together signifying the joining of the special cells to create a zygote. By the time I finished my sentence and brought my fingers together, his eyes lit up, the corners of his lips crept into a smile and he exclaimed "I wanna do that!" Yes indeed.

Ever since, the conversation is easier, a good book is on the shelf, special parts have been named properly. I am hoping we are good for awhile. These posts are all about preserving memories for our little family, so I can not close without mentioning another related conversation that is particularly relevant to us.



"So, Mommy, what if I find someone I really love, and then get married, then 'cide to have a baby, and then, what if I can't?"

He is a gift I tell you.

"Well, then there are other options," I said. "One option might be that you get help from a doctor to have a baby, just like Daddy and I had help to have you."

"Oh, okay."

And then, there was the photo shoot. Though we have gotten down to real terms on a lot of things, my initial explanation combined with the joining of pointed index fingers has made a lasting impression it might seem. Last weekend Nathan was tooling around the house taking pictures of everyone and everything. Soon enough he was commanding us around like we were contestants on America's Top Model or the like and motioned me in the direction of Shaun with the wave of a hand, "Mommy, go sit next to Daddy!" Another snap happy person might ask his subjects to "Smile!" or perhaps the traditional "Say Cheese!" But no, he jumped up and down and happily directed us to "Pretend like you're making a baby! Smile, put your fingers together and pretend like you are making a baby!"


Sam said...

I love this! All of it! :)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

He'll be a scientist for sure--and a funny one.

One of my daughters, at 2 years old, always wanted to know "how do we get there?" She wanted street names, left and right turns, the whole shebang. And she remembered it all.