Kids are known for their brutal honesty, as well as asking lots of questions. Mine are no different, and I’ve been told and asked many things over the years. My son, now eight, has a curiosity and a need to understand how things work. He wants to know about everything from driving laws to bodily functions. Lately he’s become fascinated with puberty, mostly because he doesn’t know what it is. Have you gone through puberty? Yes. Has Daddy? Yes. What about the dogs, do they go through it? I think so?!
One of his most persistent questions was when he was about three. This question he asked me almost every day for about a year. He would not let it go until he got an answer he was satisfied with. What was this most intriguing inquiry? How do babies get out of the mommy’s tummy? Now, I tried to give him all sorts of vague explanations. The doctor takes them out. The mommy goes to the hospital. God helps the babies come out. He was completely unphased by my avoidance of the main thing he wanted to know, which was how this phenomena occurred. Eventually, he wore me down, and this is how the conversation went.
Him: “How do babies get out of your tummy?”
Me: “I told you, the doctor takes them out.”
Him: “I know, but how does the doctor get them out?”
Me: “Well, they have to go to school for a long time to learn how.”
Him: (long sigh) “Like, do they cut you in half or what?”
Me: (holy moly I better tell him something) “No, they don’t cut you in half, but some mommies do have a small hole cut in their belly to get the babies out. The doctor gives the mommy medicine so it doesn’t hurt”.
Him: “Well, what about the other mommies that don’t get their belly cut?”
Me: (ugh, he would ask that) “Ok, so you know how when you poop you kind of have to push it out?”
Me: “Well, it’s kind of like that, you push and the baby comes out.”
Him: “Huh? In your POOP???”
Me: “No, you just push like when you poop but the baby comes out.”
Him: “Ok. That’s weird. Goodnight.”
And that was not one of my finest parenting moments. I imagine he spent a little time on the toilet in the days to come worried a baby was going to come out. What I do know is he never, ever asked me that again.
What did I learn from this experience? I think the most valuable lesson is one should not offer an answer if they aren’t prepared to give the whole truth, because even a three year old can sniff out deception. It’s best to go all in or plead the fifth, anything in between is likely to find you in the gutter, or the toilet.
Lessons in laughter are not always profound, but they are certainly more fun. May we find ways to learn and laugh from this thing called life, and pass our stories on so others can do the same.