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March 05, 2008

How Are Babies Made?

SpermToday as I was driving my family to karate class, Sam, my-six-year-old, asked me how babies were made.

I knew this question was on the horizon, but somehow I still didn't expect it. And being the awesome parent I am, I hadn't formulated my answer.

I do believe in answering questions at the time they are asked instead of telling my children that we'll talk about it later, so I had to come up with an answer on the fly.

Okay. All the experts say to go simple, that they don't need a detailed answer. They say that if you make it too complicated, that's not what they're looking for. So...simple. I can do that.

"Well, Sam, a mommy and a daddy decide they want a baby, so then the mommy grows it in her tummy, and then it is born." As these words were coming out of my mouth, I was second-guessing my "mommy and daddy" statement.

But, no. Simple. Don't start talking about two mommies or two daddies or any of the other permutations, I told myself. He doesn't need the gray areas. Keep it simple. Hold it together.

"What about the egg?" he asked. Or something to that effect. I don't remember his exact question because I was thinking to myself, "He knows there's an egg?! How does he know there's an egg?! Who has he been talking to?"

"Are you talking about people babies, Sam, or other animal babies?" I asked.

"People babies."

Okay. This is not so simple. Should I start talking about sperm?

"Well, the mommy has an egg and the daddy has a...seed and they put them together and the baby grows in the mommy's tummy."

"Does the baby grow from the seed?" Sam asked.

"Ummm. No, the seed fertilizes the egg and then the baby grows from the egg," was what I said. "Please don't ask how the seed fertilizes the egg," was what I didn't say. "PLEASE don't ask how the seed fertilizes the egg."

Instead, he asked, "When can we have another baby, Mom?"

Phew. The biological aspect of the conversation ended there and the pleading (by Sam) and the dashing of hopes (by me) began. Poor kid. He doesn't have a chance in hell of winning that argument.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post, crossposted at Stimeyland.

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