Out and aboutThe question hung in the air like Pandora’s Box: "Mommy and Daddy, how does a baby get in a woman’s tummy?" It wasn’t the first time little Susan had asked about it, but my wife and I simply skirted the issue by saying, "God made the baby."
At 6, however, Susan was finally ready to get down to brass tacks. Before we could trot out the old line, she continued, "I know that God made the baby. But how does it actually get inside your tummy?"
My wife and I looked at each other with eyebrows raised, "Is this a good time for full disclosure?" One obstacle was that Susan’s question found us in the car on the way to Target for diapers. Everyone knows you’re supposed to discuss "the birds and the bees" face to face, sitting down, with an earnest expression on your face and soft ambient lighting all around. It didn’t feel right to blurt out the bizarre and beautiful mysteries of human intimacy while on a diaper run.
Also, we didn’t have any visual aids. Back in my day, we pieced things together from that funky book, Where Did I Come From? That was where I learned that sex is like sneezing.
We decided to postpone the conversation until pigs fly. Being thus resolved, my wife said to Susan, "Mommy and Daddy make babies through a special hug." Susan thought for awhile and then jovially suggested, "Hey, can I watch you guys do that special hug next time?"
In desperation, my wife shouted, "Look, everyone! Look at the train!"
Mercifully, Susan (and the other kids) forgot all about her question. Of course, this was just a temporary reprieve. At most we bought ourselves a few weeks or months. But by then maybe global warming will have kicked into high gear, causing all boys between the ages of 12 and 28 to lose their ability to sneeze.
You never know, it could happen. But I guess I’ll stop off at the library and check out today’s offerings on the subject. Just in case.
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