Monday, January 4, 2010

The Parable of the Awkward Parenting Moment

Do you know how you can tell that you are about to experience a really horrifying, awkward parenting moment? You don’t know. That’s what makes it so horrifying and awkward. If only kids were like Tivo, then you could press their pause button until you figured out how to handle the situation. Plus, if they were really like Tivo, you would have gotten a message in your “messages” folder with a subject that would have read, “Awkward Parenting Moment Ahead…Avoid Your Child for the Next Hour.” Incident averted.

But kids are NOT like Tivo.

This afternoon, as Mike was getting Aaron ready to go outside to play in the snow and I stood at our desk trying to file a heap of paper work, Aaron hit us with the question that we have been dreading since the day that we saw the two pink lines appear on the little stick. They were just about to go outside when Aaron said, “Wait, I have a question. How do babies get born?” Really? That’s your question? Now? On your way out the door to play in the snow you want to know where babies come from? Wouldn’t you rather hear about why it snows?

Mike’s response was, “Uhhhhhhhhhh what do you mean?” My response was to quickly turn around so that I could hide my giant grin and uncontrollable giggles, as I was getting much enjoyment out of the fact that it was Mike who was thrown the question.

Aaron continued to explain what he was asking while Mike continued to try to answer Aaron with a series of questions that might throw the kid off and thus put an end to his awkward misery. Even though I was enjoying their give and take on the subject, my mind raced frantically trying to produce an answer that would appease Aaron without providing too much detail. Anytime that I have read about how to handle this conversation, the articles always say to answer honestly with enough facts to answer the question, but without more information than the child is actually wanting. There’s no need to get all birds and bees if you don’t have too, right?

As I began to realize that it is possible to have a thousand thoughts run through your mind without actually having one cohesive thought…it happened. Mike said, “I don’t know Mommy. What do you think?”

Oh, so that’s how it feels to be thrown under a bus. I always wondered. Thanks Honey!

So, I came up with an explanation that included God and the fact that all mommies have eggs in their bellies where the baby is placed and grows until it is time to come out. All true. No lies. Nothing lame about a stork or anything. He had a few more questions for clarity sake, but then he moved on and headed outside with Mike to play.

Here’s the deal…I really hate how we handled that situation. I always knew that someday that question would be raised, and I put a lot of thought into what I might say when that time came, but I never had a concrete answer ready. For me, I am just not comfortable with laying out the whole process to my four year old; five year old in one more week. I just don’t think that he needs all of the “mechanical” details right now, but I do wish that I had a response ready for him that was much less Bueller…Bueller...Anyone?

I know that there are many parents out there that wouldn’t think twice about explaining the baby-making process in its entirety, but here in the Hicks household we prefer the more conservative, less is more approach to these kinds of questions. I wish that we had been more ready to answer Aaron, but I think the answer that we I provided was sufficient given his age. He seemed happy with the explanation, but knowing Aaron as well as I do, if he has any more follow-up questions, he won’t hesitate to ask. And if he does, I will try my best to give him as much information as I feel is appropriate for his age.

So boys and girls, the morale of the story is when your son or daughter comes to you with a question that paralyzes you like a deer in head lights, you can count on your husband to heave you right into the oncoming car to save his own deer ass.


A mom's LIFE (more than just kids) said...

Been there, just wait until Aaron gets older and needs more than just the baby in the belly.... I try to run when the ???'s start to fly! My 9 yr old is more ? filled than my 12. When mine were younger I just told them that God gave them to us as a gift and they were placed in mommy's belly for a little while.