Friday, December 18, 2009

Baby juice for breakfast

I was sitting with some other parents while waiting for the girls to finish dance class when one of the mom's started talking about her breakfast conversation.  It turned out her daughter wants a little sister, so she asked her mom to drink some baby juice for breakfast.  While the rest of us were trying to figure out what baby juice is, she said, "I laughed so hard.  A few months ago she asked me how babies were made and I told her Mommy drank baby juice to make her." 

This opened the floodgates for stories about how the other parents explained how babies are made.  I just stared at them for a bit.  I was amazed that no one just answered the question.  They all came up with these elaborate stories that seemed way too complicated for the question. 

I realize it's an uncomfortable topic, but how detailed do you need to get when a five or six year old asks how babies are made?  It's not like you are pulling out a high school biology book or a PowerPoint deck to explain the mechanics and after-effects. 

It's such a natural question for their age group.  The girls have several friends with infant siblings.  They saw those moms go through the entire gestation and post-partum timeframe.  As they asked questions, we answered them in the simplest possible terms.  They know it takes a man and a woman to make a baby.  They know babies come from a woman's private parts.  They know babies grow in a woman's tummy. 

As far as I know, that's the grand sum of their baby-making understanding. And, you know what? That's all they need to know right now. It never occurred to me to make up a story when they asked their questions. 

Some of it they learned from their friends.  They asked a friend how the baby was going to come out of her mommy's tummy.  The little girl said, "It drops from between her legs."  Okay, it's not technically how it happens, but it's close enough for a six year old.  They asked if it was true as confirmation of information they already had.  If I made up a story, they would have gone back to their friend and said, "My Mom says you are wrong." 

Sooner or later I'd have to admit I lied, and nothing good comes from that conversation -- even if they are so young.   

I wondered what these parents are going to do when their children's friend's moms have babies. Do they have to bring the other parents in to their lie? Or do they just hope those children won't talk to their children.

I realize the questions will get harder as the girls get older, and I hope we'll be able to continue to answer their questions honestly.  For the most part, I'm sure we will because we want that type of open dialogue with them.  Plus, the I'm just too lazy to make up a lie and keep it going.  I don't have the time, nor do I have the energy. 

5 comments:

dcr said...

a friend of mine recently relayed a story about how her initial where-babies-come-from conversation with her 10 year old son...

mom..."i think we should talk about where babies come from"

son..."do i have to know?? i have a feeling i don't want to know."

she relayed that she's giving him a brief reprieve before trying again.

i thought it was hillarious.

Julie K said...

I'm with you... be truthful. We started with a discussion of why he has a belly button (and why all mammals have belly buttons... I'm the daughter of a biologist after all). He knows he was connected to me and grew in my belly. I had a C-section, so I've told him the doctor made a cut in my belly to get him out (he didn't ask how other kids come out... we'll deal with the birth canal answer later). He knows Mom and Dad each added ingredients to make him (and he never asked how those ingredients were mixed... thank goodness). We kid around and I tell him I 'pooped' him out, but he knows that's a joke (and he's 'in' on the joke).

Dawn said...

I don't know. I think it's relatively harmless. My 6 year old has known since he was 3 and I was pregnant with his brother that babies grow in their mommies tummies. When he asked how the baby would get out, I just told him that "the doctor will help him come out," and he didn't ask again until this week. And we just told him that babies come out of their mothers' private parts. Thankfully, he didn't ask how they get in there.

But, I understand that feeling of being caught off guard and not being ready to have that conversation. I also understand there's a fear that if you answer that first question, then they will ask how the baby gets in there and you might not want to be fully forthright with your 5 year old on that. Of course, our son is about to be 7 and I think we're about to give him "the talk" because both my husband and I heard about sex around that age from friends with older siblings and learned things that weren't true.

Jacque said...

I too have always been honest with my children...while trying to insert my values (first the mommy and the daddy get married ;) at least that's whay God likes...and then, like you, the facts in language that they can understand and when it came time for the actual 'talk' it was no big deal. They knew most of it.

Noelle said...

This post reminds me of when I was little and my mother told me she was growing a watermelon in her belly. I was terrified of watermelon pitts for years!