Unexpected Conversations

My 5-year-old son has had me on my toes of late. From racism to our rejection of homophobic policies, I’ve been explaining topics I hadn’t expected to at this point in my parenting. So, it shouldn’t have come as any surprise when he brought up “the birds and the bees” last week. It went like this:

Last Monday
“Mommy! Today, David {all names of his schoolmates have been changed to protect the innocent} kissed Katie. On the lips,” said R.

“Oh,” I said. “Did Katie want to be kissed?”

“Yes,” he answered, his eyes wide.

“Did David ask Katie if he could kiss her? Because you shouldn’t kiss anyone without asking.”

“Yes, Mom, she wanted to be kissed!”

“Hmmm, do you want to kiss anyone?” I wondered.

“No!” he said, outraged and looked at me with disgust.

Oh, thank God, I thought.

Last Tuesday
“Mommy! David and Amy got married today!”

“What?” I asked.

“Yes, they got married,” he repeated.

“What does it mean that they got married?” I inquired. But he was off to play with some toy, providing no details about the soap opera that his school day had become. That David gets around, I thought.

Last Thursday
We’re driving home from school. It’s dark and cold. I can’t see the kids in the back seat but I am listening to their updates on their days, their giggles, and (most likely) their requests for spaghetti.

“Mommy,” said R. “Steve told me that you need scissors and a knife to get a baby out of a mommy’s belly.”

Whoa, I thought, school is getting a bit too interesting. “Well, that’s not how babies always come out, honey,” I said.

“How do babies get out?” he followed up, not missing a beat.

“I really didn’t think I’d have to answer this right now,” I said, despite myself. Then, my 3-year-old daughter started yelling about something, and we unintentionally switched to a different subject.

Later that night, I came back to the car conversation, feeling bad about being unprepared. I just hadn’t expected to talk with him so soon about these topics. He’s still my baby. Now, I have to explain baby-making? My Mom’s advice was to answer the question asked. Don’t elaborate too much; remember that he’s a kid.

After his bath, when he was in his adorable red and green pajamas, playing in his room, I broached the subject again.

“Hey R, remember how you asked me how babies get out of their mommies’ bellies?”

“Yup.”

“Do you want to know how?”

“Yup.”

“Well, the mommy builds a little house in her belly for the baby. It’s called a womb. This little house has a cord that attaches to the baby to bring the baby food because the mommy can’t reach the baby’s mouth since it’s inside her belly. There’s a tunnel out of the house. When the baby is ready to come out, it goes through the tunnel and is born.”

“Where’s the tunnel?” he asked.

“It’s about here,” I said, gesturing down and trying to avoid too many specifics.

“Where?” he asked again.

“Here,” I said, gesturing again.

“Oh, the vagina?”

“Yes,” I said, smiling and started to say something else when he held up his Iron Man car.

“Hey, Mommy, do you want to see my Iron Man car?”

“Yes,” I answered. “I do.”

And that was my week. After this, I figure I might be ready to take on explaining the situation in the Middle East and the fiscal cliff to him. After all this, that will be easy.

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One Response
  1. February 5, 2013