But I have kids, and when you think something like this, they can read it on your face and are willing to provide their own prompts. Without warning.
Tomorrow is Yom Kippur. This is the first time I'll be fasting in six years, so I took this opportunity to finish up the buffalo wings for lunch. I didn't want to have to think about them tomorrow. Just as I sunk my teeth into my first delicious wing, my preschooler looked at me with serious concern on her face.
"So two people can get married and decide they want a baby because they are really responsible and want kids. Then a baby grows in a mom's stomach. But how does the baby get there?"
Now. Hubsy and I have discussed at length how we will be honest with our children without over explaining. I'm sure if you are a parent of a kid under 10 and have internet access, you too have waded through the myriad of parenting articles on how to address this specific question. I'm not here to add to the pile. I am here to tell you that despite having a definite stance on addressing questions in childhood, having fielded questions from students about everything under the sun, and having even taught gender, puberty and reproductive education to children, at that moment, hunched over my wings, I froze. Maybe if I don't move she won't see me.
"Well, a baby develops from an egg so small that you need a microscope to see it. Then it grows until it is a baby that can survive outside a mom's uterus, not stomach. Until then, the baby needs to stay inside so that its body can develop organs like the baby's lungs, heart, and brain." Good job. Eat your wings faster.
"I know, but how does the egg get there?"
"Women are born with many, many eggs. They are always there."
"So I have eggs? All girls have eggs? Then why do I look like Daddy?"
This is why some people drink wine at lunch. I get it now.
This conversation went on, with talks of seeds and family structure and genetics, turning into how every living thing has a form of a seed, so that it can make more of its kind, like the apples she studied at school today. Don't you want to talk about apple day?! She sat there and stared at me with the same intensity she took to the two 100-piece puzzles she completed this weekend, both within an hour and both completely independently. She knows I'm sitting on the missing piece. She can see where it fits, but she doesn't know what it is, so she can't quite shape the questions to get it.
And now I'm stuck in this odd place where I'm relieved I could have this honest conversation with my child without telling her how sex plays into reproduction, and proud that I have a child who thinks of these kinds of obscure questions along with the fear that maybe she could sense my hesitation or that she'll start searching for avocado pits and apple pips because she is tired of me eschewing her pleas for another sibling and has some crazy idea of seeds from a talk that may have derailed a bit.
In the end, I'm glad she thinks this is normal table conversation and that she should ask us her questions, because kids will ask questions to anyone who will listen. I much prefer they hear it from me.
Disclaimer: If you read this and hoped the conversation was spurred because of recent household events, I'm sorry to disappoint. I discovered the aforementioned writing prompt idea while waiting to decline my invite to what my doctor cutely referred to as "the baby race." Let someone else win while I figure out if I can handle these questions a second time, let alone a third go-around. No, no. These are the thoughts my kids pull out of the blue.