I don’t know how it happens that I am always the one that gets caught, like a deer in the headlights, with the hard questions. With questions like, “Mom, tell me everything you know about babies!”
My first thought, when Snags asked me this two nights ago was, as always: “Where the hell is your father now?” Followed by, “Why don’t you go ask him?” But once again, I held fast. I sat there, rooted to the spot by my panic, and trying to stall.
“Um… what do you mean, exactly?” I asked Snags. “I don’t know what you are asking. Tell me specifically what it is that you want to know,” I added, desperately hoping for some clarification. Because I know a lot about babies. I know they pee and poop, cost a fortune in diapers, and cry and cry and cry and keep new parents awake ALL.NIGHT.LONG, but I had a feeling that wasn’t what Snags was asking.
I was right. It wasn’t.
“Tell me,” he said, “like how babies are made and where they come from and all that.”
And ALL THAT?
I don’t know if Snags heard the little part of my brain that up and died a screeching death as it wailed in horror, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Not THAT!” I think the sound was so high pitched that only dogs could really hear it. When it happened, I didn’t hear anything myself, but I felt it, and a few seconds later I heard some dogs barking outside. I went blind soon after that.
My eyesight slowly returned as I thought to myself, “No, this is not REALLY happening, is it?” But there sat Snags with an look of eager anticipation on his face that would surely have landed him a spot in a Heinz commercial if they had come knocking at that particular moment.
Only they didn’t.
So I asked Snags for a bit more clarification and he said: “Well, I mean does God build the babies by putting two halves of them together, like the left side and the right side? Or does he build them by taking all the parts, like the legs, and attaching them to the stomach, and then does he screw on the head like this?” (pantomimes screwing a head on to a baby – note it had a LOT of threading, because he had to turn and turn and turn that invisible head onto the invisible baby).
“Ah,” I said, nearly crying with relief and understanding. This was less about HOW babies were made than it was about how babies were MADE. I almost laughed out loud.
“Well,” I said cautiously, “I think that babies actually grow, kind of like a plant, from a seed. I guess God gives a seed to a mom and a dad when they really love each other and then it grows into a baby.”
Snags seemed happy enough with that explanation. He didn’t ask how the seed gets into the mother. When he does ask that question I am going with one of two answers: “Go ask your father!” or “She eats it.”
Still, Snags had one more question.
“Well then,” he said, “The thing I don’t understand is, if babies grow from a seed, how come they have this line down here?” (pointing to towards his perineum).
“Hmmm…I don’t really know,” I said. “Maybe that’s just how the seed grows into a baby.”
“Or maybe,” Snags said, “Maybe that’s the medicine hole. If a baby is in its mommy’s tummy and needs medicine but closes its mouth, maybe there is a hole there and they could still get medicine to the baby that way and then it closes up when the baby comes out or however it gets out.”
I pretended to ignore his comment about how babies “get out”.
Instead I said, “You might be right.” And I pondered two things: a misplaced umbilical cord, and the pillow I made in Home Economics in 7th grade. The pillow was made by sewing three quarters of the way around on the reverse side of the fabric. Then the pillow was turned inside-out (or right-side out as the case may be) and stuffed with pillow stuffing. The small opening was then stitched shut by hand, leaving a bit of a seam. Not unlike the perineum, I suppose.
Lucky for me, it was bedtime at that point, and Snags didn’t ask anymore questions as he settled down to sleep.
I however, had a question. Actually, two: Where the hell WAS his father? And why, once again, was I the one stuck with the baby questions?
Okay, I admit, there was a third question: If God really did screw our heads on, why can’t we turn them all the way around, like an owl?