Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Enunciate those body parts!

The following has very little to do with writing, but the "where did I come from?" subject came up in my Twitter stream, and reminded me of a story. So, since I didn't have a post planned for today, I thought I'd share it with you.

If cute kiddo stories annoy you, or turn your stomach, feel free to stop reading now. You could just skip down to the comments and say "Awww." If you're so inclined. It'd make me feel good, and I promise there won't be a quiz on the details.

When Darling Daughter (hereafter referred to as "DD") was not quite four years old, TG and I decided it was time to add to the family gene pool again. After much consideration, long-term planning, and a meticulous weighing of the pros and cons of letting another person into our lives, we embarked on a repeat journey to parenthood.

Either that, or we got drunk and said, "What the hell!"

Whichever, it turned out great. Darling Son was conceived, and has brought much joy to our lives, as has his sister.

Since DD was a precocious child*, she was naturally curious about the means by which she would become that most hallowed of all creatures, the Big Sister. Being a hip and with-it mom, I was eager to answer all her questions.

Hence, the following conversation.

DD: "Why are you growing a new baby?"

Me: "Because you asked for a baby sister." [Hey, it never hurts to lay the groundwork for future blame.]

DD: "Hooray! I'm getting a sister!"

Me: Oops. "It might be a brother. That would be okay too, right?"

DD: "No."

Me: "We'll talk more about that later."

DD: "How did the the baby get in your tummy?"

Me: [Gets out adorably illustrated book that explains the whole process on a simple, yet accurate, preschool level.] "So, you see? The little sperm and the little egg come together and make a baby. Isn't that wonderful?"

DD: "Boy, those sperms sure must be strong to jump all the way from Daddy to you!"

Me: "Uh, yeah. Something like that."

DD: "How will our baby get out? Like that chicken on Sesame Street?"

Me: [Gets book back out. Points to illustration. Explains about the special passage the baby will use to get out of Mommy. Mumbles "vagina." No sissy-la-la words for my brilliant daughter!]

DD: "Does food drop on the baby's head when you eat?"

Me: "No. The food goes to the stomach. The baby is in Mommy's uterus, remember?"

DD: "Okay. Can we go to the park now?"

Whew! I'd made it through one of the "hard" conversations. I just answered the questions, using the proper terms in a matter-of-fact way, and voila! My DD was perfectly straight on where babies came from. Couldn't have been simpler.

When I picked DD up from preschool the next day, her teacher took me aside, a somewhat perplexed look on her face.

"Um," says she. "I know you told me you're expecting another baby..."

"Yes," says I, patting my baby bump. "We sure are."

"Well, that's what I thought. But today [DD's real name] told the class her new baby sister was coming from 'Mommy's South China,' so I wondered if maybe you were adopting."

Red-faced, I explained our anatomy lesson.

"Vagina" and "South China" -- guess I mumbled more than I realized.

Moral of the story: Never assume you are completely understood when you're talking to a three-year-old. Even a bright one. And, for goshsake, speak clearly!

*She started reading at two, and was writing & illustrating her own books by age four. Her Lisa the Purple Poodle was well-received, and her Baby Bunny series, including my favorite, The Baby Bunny Gets a Cough, garnered blockbuster reviews from all the grandparents. She always included the copyright date--complete with a circled C--at the front of her books, too. Even then she was concerned with intellectual property rights. Though perhaps a little vague on geography.


Susan Adrian said...



I still get red-faced a little when we have those conversations. :)

Unknown said...

ahahaha! *snork* South China ahahahaha...

oh, and "AWWWW"

Patty Blount said...



As the mother of two sons, I've had some interesting conversations, too, thought not about my "south china"... No, ours were about what happened to my penis, did it break and will it grow back, and how do I pee without one?

Usually, these conversations took place on line at the bank, online at the grocery story, or in a doctor's waiting room.

kristina said...

Awesome! Love, love, love the honor of such conversations - Dad mysteriously is absent for all such experiences if this mom is in the house. Or perhaps more reflective of families, the more easily embarrassed parent is conveniently absent.

On the other hand, wow! You ~are~ quite a woman if China is involved in your girlie parts. I'm more of a Corelle Ware gal myself.... :)


OMG, I'm not normally a fan of cute kid stories, but this one made me laugh so hard I snotted on my shirt. Too funny!


Daisy Harris said...

Very cute! I had to share another mis-pronunciation tale. As I mentioned on Twitter, my parents were not real communicative in this area. Well, at one point my mom finally decided to talk birth control with me. I mentioned that I was thinking of using "a diagram".

She laughed so hard she almost cried.

Sierra said...

Hahaha! I'm going to have to pass this along.

Apparently, I was that precocious kid. My mom's favorite story is from when I was about the same age, and with a baby brother on the way and all of the new knowledge of how he got there. I turned to a pregnant lady in the grocery store, announced that I knew "how the baby got in there," and proceeded to tell her loudly and in detail...*facepalm* 28 and I still haven't lived it down.

Ann Marie Gamble said...

Our local indie video rental place has a jar of free condoms on the counter. Learning-to-Read Son sounded out the sign while we were getting our week's cartoon allotment.

"Mom! It says 'Free'! Can I get one?"


"Why not?"

"Because we don't need them."

"Why not? What're they for."

All the video store staff leaned a little bit forward on the counter at this point (c'mon guys, I know you you know what they're for). "We'll talk about it at home."

So no immediate parental death by embarrassment. Discussion collapsed in giggles when I told the kids this body part is called (are called?) testicles. And it collapsed again when DNA came up, and I used Jurassic Park as the lead-in ("And Mom, remember that other part, when the guy's arm gets bitten off?"). But I don't think they currently think babies come from Spain or someplace.

Elizabeth Ryann said...


Now I'm wondering if Cynthia Reese purposefully tells people babies come from South China, or if I just misunderstood... awkward.

abby mumford said...

this is a CLASSIC example of (a) what happens when you mumble. trust me, i should know. (b) how adorable kids are. (c) how much they actually listen to you, so make sure you get your facts straight before talking to them.

thanks for the giggle!

Candyland said...

You could have written this as a day in my life!!! Haha!

Rachel said...

What a wonderful story! Haha! That's great!

Reminds me of one from my own childhood that's a little less embarassing but just as hilarious!

My baby sister--around the age of 4 at the time--found a picture of our mother while very pregnant with her. She asks Mom why she's so fat. Poor Mom is trying to prep herself for that lovely talk and says, "That's you in there." Sister studies it for a minute, and we're bracing ourselves, and then she stares up at Mom, shocked, and says, "You ATE me??"

I love it :)

Linda G. said...

Suze -- They are a little awkward, aren't they? Wait until Child is a teenager. Then you will learn the true definition of "red-faced." ;)

Karla -- Yeah, geography affects me that way, too. ;)

Patty -- How do you pee without one? OMG! Snort! And of COURSE these conversations have to take place in the most public places possible. Murphy's Law. :)

Kristina -- LOL! Now, why did "bone china" just pop into my head? ;)

Tawna -- Shirt-snotting funny, huh? I'll take that as the supreme compliment. :)

Daisy -- ROF,L! Now, a diagram may, in fact, be somewhat helpful with sex, especially the first time, but not likely to do much about preventing babies.

Sierra -- Ha! Oh, I wish I could've seen that. The look on your mom's face must've been priceless.

Ann Marie -- LOL! Close call. I predict much hilarity in your future.

Elizabeth -- I'm pretty sure when Cynthia is telling the story, she really means China. Can't imagine her saying the other word. ;)

Abby -- The perils of not speaking up, huh? And thanks! :)

Candyland -- Now, that makes me feel honored! :)

Meadow -- LOL! I can only imagine your sister's horror. Aren't kids great? I love what comes out of their mouths.

Unknown said...

here's how it went @ my house:

Mom- How would you like... a little brother or sister??? (brows arched hopefully)

Me- (age 4) No. That's okay.

Mom-- but wouldn't it be nice??? always having someone to play with???

Me- No thanks.

Mom-- (paraphrasing here) "Well tough, it's on.

Me-- Then why did you even bother asking if you didn't really care about my opinion? ~pouted for next several years over lack of input in such big decisions~

GĂ©nette Wood said...

Pretty sure I got the stork story when my sister was born (although we're still working on the theory that she's adopted and my parents are taking advantage of my early years to plant false memories).

In any case, my kids are getting the stork story. They can find out about sex the same way I did: the Christian kids at church whispering all the "dirty" words. Seriously. It made it way less awkward for my parents.

Linda G. said...

pseudosu -- Awww. I feel your pain. Not that we wouldn't have still had DS even if DD had objected, but still. And at least it all worked out well for you in the long run, right? RIGHT??

LadyGenette -- Good luck with the stork story. As internet savvy as tots are these days, I think you'll be busted in no time flat. ;)

Kelly Breakey said...

Now I know what we were doing wrong. Thanks for the lesson.

Jessica Lemmon said...

Bwa HA HA HA! South China! Classic.

Linda G. said...

Kelly -- Sex? You were doing sex wrong? *blink*

Jessica -- Geography is an important and often-neglected field of study. ;)

Deborah Small said...

Bwahaahaahaa! South China indeed. I told my oldest I bought them during a K-Mart blue-light special; the two youngest were advised they came from Walmart. One day I may venture to tell them the truth. Probably when I'm a grandmother and I know it will gross them out. *g*