Category Archives: babies

Baby Wants An Answer. And Wants It Now.

Last night, I sat near my seven year old son as he drifted off to sleep.  The lights were off, the room was quite, and I was about to leave when he rolled over and suddenly said, “Tell me a telling story, tell me about something funny I did when I was a baby.” 

“Okay,” I said.  “But only a short story.  It’s already past your bedtime. Let me think for a moment.”

But before I could begin to think of which baby story to tell, he interrupted my thoughts with, “How do babies get born anyway?  How do they come out?  Like how did I get out of YOU?”

My mind reeled.  I was frantically searching for answers.  For lies.  For anything I could use on this curious child to change to the subject and get him to go to sleep.  I’d already used “Shhhh! Be quiet and watch the movie!” when he’d asked that question during one of the opening scenes of Narnia: Prince Caspain the previous weekend.  Having already been used, that option was out.  Besides, we weren’t watching a movie at this particular time.

“Uh, uh, um…” was spiraling through my head. Not very helpful, I might add.

“Look!  Monsters!” I could have screamed.  Even, “Shhh… I hear something.  Did you hear that howling?”  I thought to ask.  “It sounded like a werewolf, don’t you think?” 

I contemplated any number of his fears, something to steer his mind in another direction entirely: fires, burglars, tornados, earthquakes… but he’d gotten SPECIFIC.  “How did I get out of YOU?” He’d asked.  And then also, I kind of wanted to get some sleep myself.  Scaring the shit out of him right before bedtime wasn’t really in my best interest.

In my desperation I considered this reply:  “You know, I don’t really remember, that was SEVEN years ago. Now go to sleep.” But even I knew that was lame. In fact, at the exact moment I thought of it, I could hear in my mind his likely response, “Mom! You remember. Tell me!”

And so I went with the only thing I could think of and tried to tell the truth as much as I could to my seven year old son.  And as I did so, I related things to a prayer, to squeezing muscles and to water balloons, and my son laughed wide eyed and wondered about poop.

“Well,” I said.  “You know, babies don’t really grow inside a mommy’s tummy.  At least not in the same place the food goes when the mom eats.  The mom has something inside her called a uterus.  It’s also called a womb… like in the Hail Mary prayer, the part where you say “…of thy womb, Jesus”  The womb is the uterus where the baby grows and it’s small and empty inside the mom’s body at first but as the baby grows inside the uterus, it stretches.” 

“Like a water balloon,”  I added.  “It’s small when it’s empty but when you add water it stretches out.”

“Okay,” my son said.  “But how does the baby get OUT?”  “Well…” I said, stalling to gather my thoughts.  “When the baby has been growing in the mommy for 9 months and is ready to come out, the body’s muscles squeeze really tight and push the baby out.”

“Like a water balloon,” I added again.  “If you fill the balloon with water but don’t tie the end of it, the water shoots back out again.” 

“Like POOP?!” He giggled wild eyed and nearly manic. 

“Well… uh… um… sort of like that, but the baby doesn’t come out in the same place that poop comes out.”  He was still giggling and, I could tell, slightly mortified at the thought of a baby coming out covered in poop. I imagined he was thinking about the woman on TV who swallowed her engagement ring whole after her boyfriend hid it inside a milkshake.  She had to retrieve the diamond ring days later, after it had made its way thought her digestive system.  She had to clean her own poop off the ring before she could wear it.

“What do boys have?”  I asked.  And he eyed me suspiciously and said with some alarm, probably imagining a baby emerging from one, “A PENIS?!” 

“Right,” I said. “BOYS have a penis. But girls don’t.  What do girls have?”

“A vagina!” He said. 

“Right!” I said.  “The mother’s body pushes the baby out of the uterus and it comes down a little tunnel and out the vagina.”

“Babies are small but they are kind of big.  So how do they FIT?” He wanted to know next.  So I explained again how the tunnel stretches just enough to fit the baby through and then once the baby is out, the uterus and the vagina shrink back to normal. Like an empty water balloon.

(A special thank you to whomever invented water balloons, by the way.)

“Oh, okay.”  He said, sounding bored now that he knew the baby didn’t come out the poop hole.  “Good night, mom.”  And just like that he rolled over and went to sleep.  This morning, thankfully, his questions were all about polygons.  Not babies.  

But just in case, I think I’d better go to the library and look for some age appropriate books.  Ones that hopefully will have some better explanations than I was able to come up with.   And the liquor store.  I think I’d better buy something to make myself a stiff drink.  I may need it when his classmates’ parents start calling tonight demanding to know what I told my son and why he’s repeating it to their innocent seven year olds who all know the stork delivers the baby.

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Filed under babies, children, kids, life, motherhood

Stuck in a Pile of Baby Parts

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?

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Filed under babies, humor, kids, life, parenting, questions, Snags, where do babies come from

A Letter to Lauren’s Mom

Dear Lauren’s Mom,

Hi.  So, listen, I understand from my son, Snags, that your daughter, Lauren, was watching the news recently and heard that “a man is PREGNANT!”  What a sweet daughter you have and how very kind of her to share that news with Snags and his classmates.  His kindergarten classmates.

Snags didn’t really have many other details to share.  It sounds as if Lauren was supposed to be doing her homework? And you made her turn the T.V. off right in the middle of that groundbreaking report? Snags thought the idea so prepopsterous that it might have been a joke, that the news people were trying to make people laugh, right? I suggested that perhaps the whole thing was an April Fool’s Day joke.

And might I suggest to YOU, that you, oh, unplug the friggin’ television set for the next nine months or so?  Unless, of course, you plan to come to the elementary school and give a big detailed  presentation about this to Snags and his classmates?  Hey, maybe you could even work with the children to collect money to throw this man a baby shower…

Look, I’m actually a pretty liberal minded gal.  I don’t particularly care which way the wind blows when it comes to personal preferences about how people live their lives.  I think it’s nice that this man is pregnant.  I hope the pregnancy goes smoothly and that baby sleeps though the night from the get go.

I just really don’t want to have to explain how a person gets pregnant to a six year old.  And I especially don’t want to have to explain how a man got pregnant to a six year old.  A six year old who knows that only women have babies…

When Snags is in middle school, well, sure then I’d be happy to explain this stuff.  He’ll probably be picking up free condoms from the nurse’s office by then anyway.  But right now, I’d just rather not go there.  And so that is why I keep the television news turned OFF in my house.  You might want to consider doing the same.

Oh, by the way, did Lauren tell you that I got my nose pierced?  I didn’t know if Snags had mentioned it to her yet.  If not, that’s okay.  I’ll be chaperoning the upcoming planetarium field trip and she will get to see my nose piercing then.  I’ll be sure to tell her ALL about it, and how she can be cool like me and get her very own nose piercing, too!

That should give you something to talk about over dinner Thursday night, don’t you think?

Sincerely,
Snags’ Mom

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Filed under babies, kids, Kindergarten, motherhood, parenting, Snags

Thank You, Randy Newman

I’m short. 5’3” short to be exact.  Except when I wear heels and I can trick people into thinking I’m taller than I really am.  My husband, he’s tall.  Taller than me.  Probably average tall for a guy.  I can’t remember exactly how tall he is and so I can’t tell you here because you know how men are.  If I get it wrong, especially if I err on the short side of his correct exact height, he’ll get all upset and I’ll have to come back and issue a correction.  Something like Correction: For the record, my husband is X and 1/4” tall, not X and 1/8” tall as I had previously stated…  And I’m so not in the mood for that.  So let’s just say he’s a fair deal taller than I am and leave it at that.

For the most part, my height hasn’t been much of an issue.  Well, except when I buy clothes and have to pay some highly talented seamstress to trim 3 feet of material off the bottom of my pants.  Where ARE all these women who are eight feet tall anyway?  I’ve never met any of them but when I shop most of the clothes seem to be made for them.

But this isn’t really about clothes. It’s about attitudes and it’s about music, because it made me think of the Short People song by Randy Newman.  It’s about religion and gender (but only barely) and wondering what, exactly, got into my son. Really, it’s about the things kids say that make you go “hmmm…”

Because at breakfast this morning my son Snags said to me, completely out of the blue, “Ms. Trish is short, too!”  Then he asked, “Are all women like that?”

I said no, some women are tall. Ms. Trish is one of his teachers, and while I haven’t actually measured her, if I had to guess, I’d say she’s about my height. I reminded Snags that his Aunt Viv is pretty tall.  I pointed out that his cousin Christina, standing at her full height of young and strikingly beautiful and about 6 feet, is tall. 

And he looked at me and said, rather pointedly, “Yeah, but she’s really skinny.”

A little later, as I buckled Snags into his booster seat in the back seat of the car, he stopped me so he could adjust his shorts.  “Do you want my waist band to be higher than my belly button?” He demanded to know.

“Higher than your belly button?  Sure. Doesn’t matter to me.” I replied, still stinging from the implied fat comment.

Then he made up a song and sang “Higher than the women were the lemon drops!  Higher than everything were the clouds.  The rain came down on all the women and the men hid inside their houses.” 

Yeah, the men were probably watching football, or playing Xbox, I thought.

Then his song turned kind of dark…

“The men locked the doors so the women got soaking wet.  Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! HA!”

I don’t know why but I started getting irritated at his five year old callousness. I said “Hey, that’s not funny.  That’s kind of mean. You shouldn’t make fun of women. If it weren’t for women, men wouldn’t even be here.”

He looked contemplative then asked “Why not?” 

“Well,” I said, “Women are the ones who have all the babies. Girl babies AND boy babies.  If there weren’t any women then there wouldn’t be any boy babies so they couldn’t grow into men.”

“Why can’t men have babies?”  He asked. 

“Because,” I said “God made it so only women could have babies.”

“God could do it!” He retorted. “God is really powerful, right?  He could have babies himself or he could just make them.”

“Or,” he added after a short pause, “God could make men have the babies.” 

“No,” I said, “That wouldn’t work.  The men wouldn’t take care of the babies.  They’d probably sit around playing video games all day, ignoring the babies when they cried and needed to be fed or have their diaper changed.”

“Yea-ah” agreed my son.  “That’s why the women would take care of the babies.  “Anyway,” he added, “You’ll understand one day when you’re as tall as dad.”

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Filed under babies, God, height, humor, short, Snags, tall