Just before I saw your post, Little Man pulled a similar stunt on me.
It went down like this:
Eating breakfast with a 6, 3 and 1 year can be something like the Olympics. You are running, jumping up, leaping over small piles of toys, and climbing out of your sleep deprived haze. You have to multitask – coffee (check), homework (check), lunch (check), school bags (check). On top of this regularly hectic time, we just started back to school this week so I wasn’t quite in the routine yet. Life was a bit crazy. I was a bit crazy.
We were having regular morning conversation, ‘what are we going to do after school today?,’ ‘can I have more milk?,’ ‘more cereal, please?,’ ‘Mommy, how do you make a baby?’
I wasn’t ready for this. I didn’t think he was ready for this. My three year, listening intently certainly wasn’t ready. Where did this come from? Didn’t he just ask for more cereal? Or was it milk? Wait, did he just say what I think he said?
My mind was spinning. I didn’t have a prepared answer. My mind keep going to the REAL answer and trying to back out of it…simplify it. Like you, I had read/heard that the simplest answer was the best. That kids don’t ask for more information than they can handle. Answer in small bits and they stop asking when it gets to be enough.
Nice advice, but this question was a doozie. How do you simplify such a broad question?
I also feel compelled to tell the truth. I don’t want to make up something and then have to correct it later. I want my kids to out in the world with the real (age appropriate) information so they can make the best decisions. I want them to feel comfortable to talk with my husband and I about these sort of things. I don’t want them to feel embarrassed. I’m sure that will come later, but he is 6! He should be able to ask me anything with confidence that he will receive an honest (age appropriate) answer.
I keep saying age appropriate because it was what I was stuck on. Was this conversation age appropriate? But he asked. I can’t just leave him without an answer.
Lucky for me. My pregnant pause (pun intended), was long enough for him to go ahead and ask a follow-up question…to clarify what he was really asking.
Like, Mom, do they come from seeds or something?
Whew, I got this.
Me: Well, no. Babies are actually made from eggs.
Little Man: Like the kind we eat?
Me: No, those come from chickens. Mommies have teeny, tinny eggs inside their bodies that help make babies.
Little Man: Whew, I didn’t want to eat babies.
Little Man: (After thinking a bit longer) Wait, am I eating baby chickens?
I just said no and he let it drop. The truth is that most eggs we eat (probably all) are not fertilized and therefore not baby chickens. However, I didn’t want to introduce a new topic or a new vocabulary word.
I need to do a little more thinking on how to address these topics so I am prepared.
In case you missed it Natalie’s post The Birds, The Bees, The Truth and a Little Ice Cream is Part I in this series.
If you like this, you might also enjoy: