As parents, we all know that sooner or later we'll have to have "the talk" with our kids. Learning about the birds and the bees is an integral part of growing up, but isn't it usually reserved for teenagers? CC surprised me with some very intense questions the other night - challenging me to explain this delicate subject in a way that his almost three year old brain could comprehend.
It all started when he told me that he wanted to have his own bah-boo's. I assumed the motivation here was so that he could nurse himself whenever he wanted, but when I asked him why he surprised me. "Because I want to be a mama." Oh!! Here we go.
He very seriously explained to me that he wanted to be a mama so that he could have a baby. Not a brother or a sister, but his OWN baby that HE would keep and take care of. Daddy and I would not be allowed to help - only his cousin, Fox.
"So I need to be a mama so I can get that baby in my tummy! Mama, tell me how I get that baby in my tummy! PLEASE Mama PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE."
I sat there with my face clenched between his two little hands and wondered what on earth to say next. Should I explain genders to him or leave his little mind open to whatever fancies and possibilities were simmering away in there? He clearly is asking me for more information about how this all works, but will telling him that he can't carry a baby in his tummy like mama does crush his dreams? Jeez this is sticky.
So I decided to start by explaining to him that men and women have different kinds of bodies and that you need one of each to make a baby.
"So I need to get married?" he asks.
"Well... That's why Mommy and Daddy got married," I tell him. "So we could make our own baby, you!"
"And there was a wedding? With dancing and cake?"
"... OH!! I need to get married! I need to make a WEDDING!"
I laugh and ask who he's going to marry. I wasn't at all surprised when he pointed to me. He was not very pleased when I explained that I was already married to Dad and that I couldn't marry him too. Thus began a whole side conversation explaining marriage. I started by telling him that two people get married to promise to love each other forever. Then he pointed out that we would love each other forever so clearly WE should get married.
"OK, so sometimes they also get married to make babies", I say.
"But I need to get married so I can have a baby!" he insists.
"But honey, you need to be a grown up to get married anyway. Only grownups can get married and have babies."
"NO. I'll have a kid wedding. With cake and dancing."
"Ai yi yi. Ok, who are you going to marry?"
"Calvin. Then me and Calvin can have a baby. ...Wait, Mama, how can I get the baby in my tummy again? Mama tell me how. MAMA TELL ME HOW!"
Here we go. I start over and try to explain how babies are made - in three year old terms. I tell him that grownup men, like Daddy, make a special seed with their body, then plant the seed inside a grownup woman's tummy so the baby can grow.
I'm feeling awfully proud of myself until he starts groaning and straining and hopping up and down.
"What are you doing, honey?"
"I'm trying to make that SEED!!! It's hard work, mama."
"But honey! You are a kid. Only grownups can do that."
"NO! KIDS CAN!! TELL ME HOW MAMA!!!!"
"Honey, you can't make that seed until you are a grown up. Besides, you don't have anyone to be the mama."
"I told you, CALVIN."
Double face palm.
He continues... "Calvin will put the baby in his tummy then when it comes out I keep it."
Wait a minute - "Calvin doesn't get to keep the baby?"
"No. MY baby."
"Sweetheart that's not usually how families work."
"OK... me and you and Calvin and Fox will all get married."
I give up. "You know you might want to find out how Calvin and Fox feel about all this."
"Yay! YAY! We have to get ready for the WEDDING!!" Twirling ensues...