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?"
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.