Last week when Lila was born, Luke my 10 year-old son said, "Mom told me how babies are made, but I don't quite remember."
Tess, his 14 year-old sister said, "I'm still trying to forget."
I've always believed in being straight forward with my children about the facts of life. If they ask a question, I give an answer. The answer should be the briefest, simplest explanation to their question. For example:
Child : "Mom, where do babies come from?"
Me: "From heaven."
(If they want to know more, they'll ask.)
Child: "But how do they get here?"
Me: "The baby grows in the mommy's tummy."
Child: "How does the baby get in there?"
Me: "An egg from the mommy is fertilized by the daddy and a baby grows."
You get the idea.
When my daughter Bri was three, she asked me, "What's that one thing that you and daddy do at night for a family?"
My mind began racing. How does she know we're doing something at night?
I play stupid, "I'm not sure what you mean?"
"You know," Bri answers rolling her eyes, "that thing you and Daddy do at night in the dark when I'm in bed for a family."
I keep asking questions because how can I tell my 3 year-old the "she-bam" and not have her end up in therapy?
Bri is getting frustrated. I'm getting desperate. I try change the subject. She will not be deterred. Finally Bri adds another crucial piece of information. "You know that thing with cookies."
Cookies? Cookies? Ah yes, cookies. I finally realize that she is talking about the family night phantom--that phenomenon in October that spreads throughout the neighborhood where one family makes another family a treat and leaves it anonymously on the doorstep with a challenge to do the same thing for another family and so on and so on.
So that is what Ric and I had been doing at night, in the dark, for a family. And since Bri was 3, she had already fallen asleep when we did it.
I got the ENTIRE speech one Sunday. We were at church and I was not paying attention. Feeling guilty, I turned to my mother and asked, "What are they talking about?" She could have said anything--tithing, prayer, scriptures, or even virtue and I would have been fine. But instead her face turned bright red and she said, "I'll tell you when we get home."
When we got home, I was pulled into her bedroom, the door was locked, and I was given the "talk." Every nitty-gritty detail. My jaw dropped, I turned to my mother and said, "They said all that in church?"