You know those times you’re innocently talking to a child and they open up a whole new dimension of where you were planning on going with the conversation? Maybe it should be called “the autobahn”or “the cul-de-sac” of a child’s conversation.
Sometimes it’s an innocent cul-de-sac. The conversation goes round and round. Other times, it takes that lightspeed Endor jump from innocent to “hold me tightly, I need a moment.” This talk we had is a combination of two types of streets.
We were on the highway and Jake was talking about some of his friends who were going or had just returned from Walt Disney World. I reminded him that he was there three years ago, but that carried very little street cred to a 5-year old who, at that time, hadn’t discovered the Octonauts. Side note: If he ever finds out that the Octonauts are a Disney property; he’ll do whatever is necessary in order for us to get that channel added to our Roku.
While he was talking about his friends I said, “You know daddy used to work at Walt Disney World.”
“Was mommy a baby back then?”
For the record, I am older than my wife, but it is nowhere near that age difference.
“No, that was before I met mommy,” I said.
“Was I a baby then?”
“Was Charlie a baby then?”
“No … he …”
“Daddy, where do babies come from,” said the 5-year-old who had just been talking about Walt Disney World and thinking about the Octonauts.
“Well, when a mommy and daddy love each other very much they’ll have a baby. It’s important to have that because …,” I started to say before he cut me off.
“No, I mean how are they made?”
Well, here is where our ever-expanding cul-de-sac of a conversation started to rev up and enter the straightaway. He’s a very detail oriented child who wants to know “why” and “how” things happen. I knew what he meant and thought for a moment about how to respond.
“It’s like chemistry,” I clumsily started. “Daddies have a special chemical that they combine with chemicals that mommies have — and that is what makes a baby.” As you can see, my initial foray into sex education went over swimmingly.
Right after I said that last word I knew that it sounded odd and inauthentic. In my mind I thought about telling him about how willies work with girls’ private parts, the pregnancy, doula, placenta, birth canal and epidural. But I was tired, driving and frustrated with myself for stumbling the initial answer.
I need an off ramp from this conversation and the closest thing was a golf range.
“Cool, check out that golf range,” I said.
“Daddy, we’ve seen that before, it’s right next to the video game place,” he said with all of the smarm and know-it-all-ness that a 5-year-old could muster.
After that he went on to talk about something else.
That topic escapes me. I just know that it wasn’t about reproduction. Since that trip, my wife and I have sorted out what he should call his private parts and we planned a basic overview of how to address the “where do babies come from” talk. I certainly didn’t expect to start this conversation when he was 5, though. \
A friend of mine had their 6-year-old ask them what sodomy was. They were listening to the news at the time and the child heard a new word that he didn’t’ know. We’ll prepare talking points for that possible query another time.