Monday, June 15, 2009
Where Do Babies Come From?
My six-year-old daughter’s first grade teacher is pregnant. So consequently, my daughter has been coming home with a lot of questions.
Questions that her teacher had been avoiding quite adeptly.
The latest question was at 6:00AM in the morning.
My husband was conveniently taking a shower at the time and my darling came running top-speed into our bedroom asking how babies were made.
Being half-asleep and on autopilot, I replied with, "The sperm and egg meet in the mommy’s body and blah, blah, blah..." Basically, my mother’s explanation. The explanation which carefully avoided the semantics of sex; but explained in great detail the development of the fetus to the magical arrival of the baby.
However, my daughter, always full of questions impossible to dodge, replied with, “How does the sperm get inside the mommy’s body?”
"Ummm, the daddy puts it there." I was suddenly wide awake and realized that I had stuck my foot in it, big-time.
Long silence. “Can you give mommy a chance to wake up? It’s kinda early, honey.”
I lay there as I listened to her footsteps pattering away and swore I could hear my mom in my head…laughing and laughing.
A couple of days later, my persistent child asked the same question...again.
“So, how does the sperm get inside the mommy?”
Sigh. “I’ve ordered a book and I promise we will sit down and discuss it when the book arrives, okay?”
I know what you’re thinking at this point. And I swear I wasn’t really buying time hoping she’d move onto something else.
Quite honestly, I had trolled around on the internet the day she had asked me the “Big Question” and had come up with a book called, It's So Amazing! A book about Eggs Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families by Robie H. Harris. Of course after I got it, I realized that it covered everything. I mean everything.
And all for ages 5 and up.
When my husband and I were expecting our first child 6 years ago, and before the reality of being parents had settled in, I swore that I would have an open-door policy talking about sex. Consequently, I reasoned, it would allow me to lay a great foundation with my children that would last throughout their teen-age years. However, oddly enough, I now felt this overwhelming desire to keep my 6-year-old innocent as long as possible and tell her the sperm was put into the mommy by the sperm fairy.
But she was asking me an honest question.
And the sperm fairy died in the 1950’s.
The evening I received the book, my heart was beating wildly and my mind was racing as I unwrapped it. I gave myself the, “you’re such a good mom” talk as I carefully leafed through the pages. I was going to end generations of ignorance! I was a child of the 70’s! Female liberation and empowerment was what it was all about!
But the sperm fairy would make a great story…
I sat down with my 6-year-old daughter the next day and we read the book from cover to cover. I only stumbled a couple of times on the v-word and the p-word but managed to not dissolve into an embarrassed fit of the giggles--and thankfully, her curiosity was abated.