Thursday, November 18

The "Talk"

Who knew I would be talking about sex with two-year-olds!

Eleanor is obsessed with babies. She will spend hours playing with babies at playgroups, showing incredible patience and tolerance of grabbing, slobbering, etc. She's just baby crazy.

So in the car this morning, she had her baby doll, and she was talking about how there was a baby in her tummy..."no there are two babies in my tummy. No, just one, a girl baby. I'm a mommy and I have a girl baby in my tummy and the daddy has a boy baby in his tummy." She said this with a certain inquisitive tone in her voice.

I wasn't sure what to do, but I figure if we talk about sex early and often it won't be a taboo subject. So I say "actually, the daddy puts a seed--like the seeds we planted that turned into tomatoes?--the daddy puts a seed in the mommy's tummy and it combines with the mommy's seed and a baby grows. So both girl and boy babies grow in mommies' tummies, but the daddy helps them grow."

Henry was not impressed: "I want a baby to grow in my tummy!" I just mirrored it back to him: "You'd like to have a baby in your tummy?" Then we talked about how, while our family has two mommies and a donor daddy who we don't see, in some families daddies are really important. I reminded them of the dad of one of their classmates who used to eat lunch with the kids. I said, "Some daddies are like your donor daddy and they only help with the seed but other daddies are like Tom and are really important in the family. Would you like to be a daddy like Tom someday?" Henry liked that idea. "I'm going to be Tom. I'm going to be daddy Tom." Ellie said, "I am going to grow up and have a baby in my tummy." Then the weird part: "Sometimes the babies fall out." I thought, yeah, hon, sometimes they do, but I hope it never happens to you. I didn't say anything, though.

I was on a roll so I decided to keep going. I said, "Someday you might find someone you love and you might make a house with them. It might be a girl or a boy, and then you can have a baby together." Ellie immediately volunteered that she wanted to make a house with a girl. Henry also wants a girl. Well, glad we've cleared that up, LOL, it will certainly make the adolescent angst go by quicker.

Then Henry started imagining himself as a daddy. Now, I swear to you, we are not shoving gender down our kids' throats, pink and blue pull-ups notwithstanding. "I'm going to have a beard. And a moustache. And I'm going to drive a truck. A garbage truck. No, a recycling truck." (I pause to thank the goddess that some of our influence has paid off here, LOL.) I asked "Is that what you're going to do when you're a daddy like Tom?" "No," announces Henry, "I'm gonna be a GUY."


Anonymous said...

Hi Cate. I have to say I really enjoyed this post, it was quite clever and tasteful the way that you described where babies come from to the children. You sound like you are a great mom. By the way, happy almost-birthday. Have any big plans?


Marina said...

What a lovely post!

I can't help but contrast it to my coworker who won't tell her *eight* year old daughter there's any male role in reproduction.

Susan Ryan-Vollmar said...


I love this story. We are still trying to figure out the explanation of the whole daddy thing. It's very awkward. We know who the donor is for one of our children, but he has no involvement whatsover. We don't know who the donor is for the other child. For whatever reason, that has us paralyzed on talking about daddies to the girls. Utilyzing the "donor daddy" line and explaining how some donor daddies aren't involved with the family seems like a good approach.


PS: Love the illo and new design.

elswhere said...

Oh, Cate, I love this. My daughter has heard a similar explanation for about 2 years, and now likes to tell it herself: "Mama had a speck in her, and Uncle R gave her a speck from him, and they made me, and then Mama had me and Mommy adopted me." We're friends with her donor and refer to him as her "bio-dad," which I think she finds useful when other kids say she doesn't have a dad: "I have a *bio*-dad," she points out. She's also very into babies and likes to talk about the ones she's going to have.

Sorry to blather all over your blog; just thought you might like to hear another similar story from a couple years down the line...

Anonymous said...

Cate - I would like to say from one blogger to another sorry about the 'situation'. Anyways, I use blogger as a means for fun, not for serious, like school assignments that actually matter. I deleted all of the information I posted from you. I thought you had good thoughts, but I am over all the election drama already anyways. I am a little disturbed as to how you found me as I only thought my friends read my site and I guess I have some settings to change. Nontheless, I wish you the best of luck in the future and good luck with your children. - Jenny aka 'jennyfur'

Anonymous said...

Too funny! We have a mommy and a daddy in our family, but I've made a point that families come in all shapes & sizes.

But isn't it astounding how the gender roles come out of these little mouths?! My total tom-boy toddler who is going to be 4 next month is suddenly becomming a girly-girl. All Barbie, Princesses, sparkly pink, finger nail polish, dress up, hot pink poncho (like that one though) - I can't tell you all the girly girl things we're going through. It's a bit disconcerting but it's also very very fun. I was never a girly girl myself so I'm having a second chance at experiencing it all for myself.

Enjoy it - soon they'll be teenagers and won't tell us anything.

Marty said...

Hi Cate,
Let me be the first to say Happy Birthday! Hope you have time fo yourself (I remember having 2 kids that small!) to do your favorite thing(s) and time with the folks you enjoy most.

margene said...

Happy Birthday! Love and joy to you and your family for a great year ahead.


Melissa said...

Oh, what a story... arent' 2 year olds amazing?

And, Happy birthday!!

green-eyed grrl said...

Happy Birthday! And I did exactly the same thing--when the babes brought up the whole "where do babies come from?" as little, little tykes, I gave them as much info as they wanted.

I, too, wanted to be sure that they would never perceive a topic as "taboo." I never want them to think that what they need to talk about will shock me. Not that it won't! :)

Anonymous said...

Well, that post made me laugh and cry at the same time (I'm partially blaming it on the hormones)! You make me look forward to being a mommy!

Anonymous said...

Dammit, I did it again! Yup, that was me up there! At what point can I blame being this stupid on the pregnancy?

Heidi the Hopeless
Absinthe Knits