Due to the recent addition of a new baby, my other two kids got really curious about how -- ahem -- babies are made. Yikes!
Kristin Bailey Murphy: When my husband, Patrick, and I announced to our children, Lauren and Charlie, that they would soon be getting a new little sister or brother, they were beyond excited. Jumping-up-and-down-with-shrieks-of-joy excited. Patrick and I were pleasantly surprised; considering the usual sibling rivalry between them, we hadn't anticipated such an enthusiastic response. There was something else we hadn't anticipated, either: all of the questions. This one in particular was a real doozie:
"How did the baby get in your tummy?"
Uh oh. "Um ... Daddy planted a seed in there, and now it's growing into a baby," I replied.
"Yeah, but how did Daddy plant the seed?" they wanted to know.
Forget it. I had been dealing with nausea, fatigue and worries associated with my "advanced maternal age," so having "the talk" with my kids wasn't a priority. I told them I wasn't ready to have that discussion, and, at ages 8 and 6, neither were they. Of course, that only made their curiosity grow, and my husband and I were regularly asked the same question for several more months. Once their baby sister came home from the hospital, my kids' questioning naturally increased. But they gave up eventually, after getting the same tired response every time: "Shut up" (Just kidding.)
My kids and I had been able to avoid any talk of baby-making until recently, when, flipping through channels on TV, Lauren paused on an episode of "Deliver Me." Together we watched as a swollen, red-faced woman gave birth amidst loud directives: "Don't stop! Thatta girl! Puuuuuush!" With that, the subject of baby-making was brought up again. "It's time, Mom," said Lauren. She had grown up a lot since the baby was born, and she was right -- it was time. I knew she was mature enough to handle it, but now the question was: Was I?
"Just a second," I said, and left the room to call my husband for advice:
Me (pacing): "I'm about to have the sex talk with Lauren. What do I say?"
Patrick: "I don't know. Oh my God, how are you gonna keep a straight face?"
Me: "I'm hanging up."
Men. I decided to ignore my two predominate thoughts ("SH*TSH*TSH*TSH*T!" and "Yeah, how am I going to keep a straight face?") and just get it done.
In short, I did not use certain words, such as "erection," "Daddy's penis" and "Mommy's vagina" -- anything that would evoke in her 9-year-old brain an image of her parents going at it. I tried to be technical, yet use as much kid-friendly description as possible. I have to say it worked out well. I got the important facts across (and a promise from Lauren not to discuss it with her little brother or her friends -- "They'd gross out, anyway," she said), all with minimal blushing or laughter on either of our parts.
Every so often, Lauren will have another question. The other day, it was, "Mom, I heard Laurel say you get pregnant by kissing. That's not true, right?"
"Well, it can sure start the process," I answered -- and then we had a good refresher course on the whole thing. I'm glad I got to her before her friends did.
|Kristin Bailey Murphy is a writer and photographer who lives in Southern California with her surfer husband and three children. She is an accidental stay-at-home mom who's addicted to books, hiking and Target.|