Sometimes, we have conversations with our kids, and they just don’t seem to listen.
I know… weird, right?
Several months ago, we tried to have the conversation with Ian, age 10, about his birthing-babies theory. We were concerned that kids at school might start to make fun of him if he started referencing a mom pooping out her babies.
Knowledge is power and all that.
Unfortunately, knowledge isn’t power unless the kid actually hears you and acquires the knowledge.
I discovered our lapses in educating Ian during a recent car drive. I was taking Ian, Aden (8), Cai (3) and Cael (3) home, and the following argument ensued:
Ian: “…poops it out her butt.”
Aden: “Frows it up out her mouth.”
Ian: “Poops it out her BUTT.”
Aden: “Frows it up out her MOUTH.”
Ian: “POOPS. OUT. BUTT!”
Aden: “FROWS. OUT. MOUTH!”
I can always tell when an argument has deteriorated beyond control. When kids start adding an extra syllable — an “uh” that’s more of a grunt than part of the word, not unlike the noise a tennis player uses to punctuate a particularly hard hit — to the end of everything they say, it’s pretty much all over. So when “butt” became “butt-UH” and “mouth” became “mouth-UH,” I knew it was time to intervene.
My friend Bev drives Aden home from school every day. Bev’s started to contemplate writing a book titled “Ten Minutes with Aden” because their time together can be so enlightening. It was from Bev that we first heard this theory that the mommy throws the babies up.
Aden showed Bev her imaginary kittens, and then proceeded to stuff the kittens in her mouth to keep them safe while the car crossed a river. Bev asked Aden what would happen to the kittens if she accidentally swallowed them, but Aden wasn’t concerned. “Then they’d be back in my tummy,” she replied, adding, “so I can frow them up when I want to play with them.” Makes sense.
Now, I have to give credit to my kids. In the absence (despite our best efforts) of reliable information regarding birthing, they each formed logical theories for how babies must be birthed. Not only do they have their theories, but, by golly, they’re going to stick by them come hell or high water! That’s conviction, folks!
However, as I mentioned, the uh-grunts were forcing my hand in the response department.
Me: “OK, Ian and Aden, that’s enough. Those are good ideas about how babies come out. But they’re not quite right. Do you want me to tell you how babies are really born?”
Both, though Ian with a slight hesitation, which shows some wisdom on his part: “Yes.”
My Child Of The Overly Sensitive Gag Reflex (read: prolific puker) began involuntarily to try to get those imaginary kittens out of his tummy. Bless his heart, he rolled his window right down and stuck his head out of the car so as to not get puke all over. Chivalry is not dead, ladies!
Aden, on the other hand, was quite taken with the whole idea and clearly felt very empowered as a woman by this information. Her resounding, “YES! The babies come out a VAGINA!” could probably have been heard for miles.
At this point, my three-year-old boys, who had been wide-eyed with rapt attention for the entire previous conversation, felt it was time to chime in.
Cai, shaking his head back and forth and back and forth, as though he just learned that monsters are real: “No, Mommy. No, no, no. That’s GROSS.”
And Cael, my ever-logical, scientifically-minded child: “Except my babies, Mommy. Them come out my penis.”
All in all, my favorite car ride of all time.