“The Birds and the Bees.” “Where do you babies come from?” I knew it was only a matter of time before we’d need to answer these questions. Preschool to early elementary school is often when these things get answered for kids. But that doesn’t mean that I’M ready!!
Matthew came home from school one day and announced, “I NEED to learn about the inside of the human body.”
“Um, OK,” I said, “Why?”
With growing urgency in his voice he responds, “Because I’m going to be a paramedic when I grow up and I NEED to learn how we work. Now!”
Woah. Since we have been having a bit of a hard time with Matthew enjoying school, I decided we better act on this excitement. Post-afterschool snack, we headed out to the library to pick up some books.
I’m not the only one facing these questions. Rebecca informed me on my birthday that their three-year-old, Noah, was also inquiring about human anatomy. He just learned that girls lack the same parts as boys. On the morning of my birthday, Rebecca told her boys that we were coming over to celebrate “Ms. Jenny’s Birthday.”
Noah got all excited and loudly announced, “Ms. Jenny doesn’t have a penis!!!” I’m a little concerned that at our next Engaged Encounter function, he will randomly proclaim this news unto the group. (Not that it’s a secret or anything, but still…)
So, Matthew’s known for a while that his mother is penis-less. He knows a very generic idea that babies grow in mommies’ tummies, but has never asked why or how they get there. (It’s always convenient to play the God card though. You know, “God gave you to us…God put you in my tummy.” Etc.). But I was definitely apprehensive as we flipped through the human anatomy book knowing full-well that the two page spread on the reproductive system was coming. Obviously, it’s a kids’ book (from the Eyewitness book series), so it’s done tastefully. All the pictures are diagrams or from models (like not the super model kind but the plastic-faux-human kind).
We were able to keep things mostly general, “Well, that’s the diagram of the inside of the mommy’s parts. ‘Cuz, you know, ladies have different parts than guys.” Then we come upon the picture that shows a (microscopic close-up) of a sperm fertilizing the egg. (I always wonder who signs up to be the model for that photo and how that all works, but anyway…). Matthew asks what the picture is. I kind of sit there stumped and then Mike says – ever so geniusly – “Well, babies are part their mom and part their dad. So, this is the part from the dad right here, and this is the mom part. And together, they’re making a baby. That will turn into a person.” And we left at that. Phew! So, he still doesn’t know HOW these things REALLY work at all. We still haven’t had to REALLY answer any major questions. And I’m REALLY fine with that for now.
Then we look at the illustration of the side-view of a baby in the womb. Matthew looks at it puzzled and said, “But, how does the baby get out again? Doesn’t the mom have to push it out her…privates?”
“Yep.” I respond.
“But where does it fit? How does it get out?”
“Well, see this little channel right here? The baby comes out of there.”
Matthew’s eyeballs get as big as saucers. He looks at me and says, “Um. Ow! That looks like it’d hurt!”
“You’re telling me!”