Sunday, April 1, 2012

Where Do Babies Come From?

Most only children like their setup, but Lily lives in mortal terror of ever having another sibling. And while we don't have any plan to have another kid (and I hope I didn't jinx our birth control into failing by making this statement), we're aware of her concerns, so this sometimes leads us* to making odd threats like "Clean your room or mommy's having another baby right now."

Anyway, a few days ago, I was just sitting and hanging out with Lily when she asked, "Where do babies come from?"

Now, this isn't the first time she's asked such a question.

Shortly before she turned three, she asked "How do we make new people?" We knew that we'd be getting something like this eventually, eventually, but we thought it would come in a more traditional fashion.

Then we had this conversation when she was still four.

Lily: I was worried that I might fall through the toilet and get stuck in the pipes.
Me: No, you're too big. The worst that might happen is that you'd get a little wet.
Lily: What if I was a baby? Would I be small enough to get stuck in the pipes then?
Me: No, even babies are too big to get stuck by the time they are born.
Lily: What about little babies before the daddy puts them in the mommy? Are they small enough to get stuck then?
Me: *blink* ...I am not ready to have this conversation now.

Up until now, we've always been able to answer these questions to her satisfaction by saying, "From their mommy's tummy," and then answering the follow up "How do they get there?" with "Their daddy puts them there."

But this time she pressed further, and I'm pleased that she has the acumen to see a deflection for what it is, and the intellectual wherewithal to push back against it.  I think that kind of persistence will serve her well in later life. Now, however, it puts us in an awkward situation.

I want to be able to answer all of her questions, and I think she's capable of understanding an abridged version of the reproductive process. She's a good kid, she's a smart kid, but unfortunately, she's also a social kid and I'm sure that the information won't stop with her and we're not sure we want to be the parents of a Pre-K Doctor Spock who shows and tells the most instructive things during show and tell.

So, I'm opening the floor to suggestions. Does anyone have any recommendations?

*And by "us", I of course mean, "me".


  1. Show her the movie 'Alien'. That will at least give enough nightmares that she will forget the question all together. Other than that you're on your own.

  2. If we're going to terrify her, we might as well tell her the truth. I know if my parents had even *implied* that they'd had relations together, I would have packed my bags and joined a monastery on the spot, because my view of sex would have been forever tainted.

  3. I'm quite impressed with your daughter. She is quite curious. I haven't had the conversation with Abby yet (she's 8 1/2), but the conversation is coming. I'm already having problems with how much she has grown this year in 3rd grade.

    Of course, my dilemma has been more about learning new words that relate to sex. Friday she learned the "F---" word at school (I can't believe it took this long). She's also listening to music at school like, "I'm sexy & I know it." She wanted to know what it meant to have a "party in my pants." I didn't know whether to laugh or get annoyed :).

    Needless to say, I want to inform her as well. Later this school year, she's going to have her first classes on human sexuality. In a Catholic School, I hope that means just reproduction. In the past, when she asks me those questions about babies & sex, I simply told her "you're too young now. I will teach you more about it when you get older." Hopefully the school will give her the basics until puberty sets in, HAHA.

    If she asks an age when she's ready, well, that I don't know. You're daughter already seems to be quite precocious for her age, and I don't mean that in an insulting way. I think you must be amazed at the level of discourse you can already have with her. I have been lucky to have some conversations like that with my daughter Abby, especially about death (her cousin died 4 1/2 years ago, so she understands death to an extent.)

    Anyway, that's my two sense as a father of two girls. The boy can learn on his own, lol.


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    Robie H. Harris (Author), Michael Emberley (Illustrator)
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  5. When I was a kid, my family had "Where Did I Come From?"

    It satisfied my curiousity _AND_ I remained a virgin until college. Coincidence? Who knows, but it could work for you!