Friday, September 12, 2008

Oh Baby

For about two and half years, Abby has been on the brink of demanding an answer--she desperately wants to know how a baby gets out of the mommy. She asked me diligently every three to four months and I've answered just as diligently.

When she was three, I said, “When it’s time.”

When she was three-and-a-half, I said: “At the hospital.”

When she was four, I tried: “When it’s time, at the hospital.”

At four-and-a-half, I replied: “The doctor takes the baby out at the hospital.”

“How does the doctor get it out?” she prodded.

“Very carefully.”

My answers have been honest. But at her last questioning, I saw her pondering the information (again) and looking at me curiously, knowing somehow that I wasn’t being as forthcoming as I should. I knew the time was near--time for the full answer.

I don’t believe in deceiving children about life’s larger events. However, I don’t think kids need intricate and intimate details until they’ve come to that point in their maturation. Well, welcome to that point in Kate’s maturation.

After school yesterday, Abby drew a picture of herself with a baby in her tummy. (It was quite lovely, actually. A big, round circle full of orange dots.) While I worked in the kitchen, she told me about the imaginary twin girls she had in her tummy, “coming out in about five days”. At dinner, she fixed her gaze on me and said, “How does the baby get OUT of the mommy?”

I tried “the hospital”, “the doctor”, “very carefully by the doctor”, to no avail.

“But Mommy, HOW does the doctor get it out?”


"I'll tell you at bedtime." (Whew.)

So bedtime arrived. Abby, Brian and I all laid in her bed. “So”, I said, “you asked me at dinner how babies get out of the mommy’s tummy.”

“Yes!” said Abby cheerfully. (“Finally”, I heard floating through her intonation.)

“The mommy uses her stomach muscles and pushes the baby out of her vagina.”

Abby said, “The vagina?!?! But the vagina is so icky in there!”

“Well, sometimes it can be. You know how you use your stomach muscles to poop? You use some of the same muscles to push a baby out.”

“But you don’t poop out a baby.”, Abby said matter-of-factly.

“Right.” I said. “You don’t poop out a baby.”

(But you might poop while you’re pushing out the baby. Luckily we didn’t have to cover that one tonight.)

To which she responded, “OK, let’s read Winnie the Pooh now!” She snuggled in between Brian and me and sleepily listened to the sweet adventures of Christopher Robin and gang.

Now I’m just waiting for the next destination in her maturation, “How does that baby get IN the mommy’s tummy?”

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