Monday, February 9, 2009

How Babies Are Made--What You May Not Have Known

While watching Father of the Bride, Part 2 (for the 176th time) the other day, my four-year-old asked me the inevitable. It was near the end of the movie, where both mother and daughter are in labor together in the hospital. I looked at Regyn and saw the wheels turning. Sure enough, moments later, she turned and asked . . .

"Mom, how did both those ladies get pregnant?"

As usual, she caught me off guard, and I wasn't sure how to answer. Thankfully, she immediately came up with her own conclusion.

"That boy just talked to them. I think that's why they got pregnant," she stated matter-of-factly.

I simply grinned. Then, unable to resist a chance to be tutored on the birds and bees by an innocent four-year-old child, I ventured into the topic a bit further.

"So, how did that work?" I asked, faking curiosity.

Her reply could only be fully appreciated had I caught it on camera. With a glimmer in her eyes and a shrug of her shoulders, she said with full exasperation, "I do not know how that happened!"

I couldn't avoid a chuckle, to which she immediately asked, "Do you know how, Mom?"

Uh-oh. I had gotten myself in a bit of a bind now. I've made a strict pact with myself to never lie to my children, even about sensitive topics. When my eight-year-old had emphatically asked last year, "Santa Clause isn't real, is he, mother?" My reply was smooth as ice, "Why would you say that?" allowing her to draw her own conclusions, therefore avoiding deception. When my seven-year-old asks me if I have gum and I don't want him to have any, I simply say, "not for you," rather than lying to him by saying I don't have any. When my children ask me if I want to play "Battleship" with them, and I really don't want to, I've learned to say, "I don't want to, but I will anyway because I love to spend time with you." And so on. I have been working on becoming the master of truth-telling without really saying anything at all.

But now I was backed into a bit of a corner. If I answered truthfully, I knew the question that would follow--"how?" If I said "no" I would be lying. What to do. My mind was reeling as two big, blue eyes stared into mine, expecting to be educated. I did what every good mother does when put into such a situation.

I changed the subject. "Regyn, would you like some chocolate milk with your lunch?"

It worked like magic! She refocused on lunch, and I blew out a sigh of relief. Only to discover a few minutes later that I didn't really want our conversation to be over. I inched out further on the limb I had been dangling on.

"So, why is that woman having a baby?" I asked, as if I were a child and she had all the answers.

Not wanting to disappoint me, she answered, "Oh, I know!!" And then after a moment's pause, "Just let me think about it for a minute,' k', Mom?"

It was obvious I was passing my tricks onto an avid learner. She was buying herself time to come up with a plausable story about a topic she knew nothing about. I couldn't wait to hear what she came up with. I waited patiently for a moment, and when she knew I was eager for an answer, she gave it to me.

"Actually, a big star was in her tummy. While she was eating, it fell out. Then ,they glued it and put it back in. And now she's having a baby."

It certainly wasn't what I was expecting, but I could tell it worked for her. There was a finality to her explanation that couldn't be missed. Still, I couldn't resist one more question.

"S0, you're telling me she's pregnant because of a star?" I asked incredulously.

"Yep! That star did it, Mom."

And that was that. My tutoring session was over, and we finished the rest of our lunch in silence. But as I chewed I couldn't help but grin as I thought of a day that would arrive all too soon, when this sweet, innocent child would be a mother herself, and her own four-year-old would look into her eyes and ask her if she knew how some lady got pregnant. I only hope I happen to be there to hear her fumble around for an answer. Whatever she may come up with, I have a feeling it won't have anything to do with stars!!


Melanie said...

I love it. I love reading you blog because you write well. I just have words that come spewing out of my mouth in random order with rare stops of punctuation. (thus my English major husband refuses to read it). I love the answer with a question technique and the change the subject...are two of my favorites!

The Martinez Fam said...

You are hilarious!! That was such a fun post to read. I can't believe you had the courage to keep asking her about it--I would have just been so thankful to have the subject forgotten for a time.:) That was quite a clever answer she came up with though. I've definitely never heard of that one before!!

Kevin and Desiree Allen said...

I am not looking forward to that day! I know now that I am pregnant the questions will come flying with Dax.