One of the coolest things about this pregnancy has been watching Annie try to wrap her head around what’s happening. When we first told her there’s “a baby in Mommy’s tummy,” she peered up at us as if to say, “What kind of a fool do you take me for?” But now, a few months later, she’s much more comfortable with the concept, and that, as you can imagine, has lead to her asking some questions.
“How’s the baby gonna get outta there?”
That question kind of caught me off guard, so I turned it around and asked Annie what she thought. She wrinkled up her nose a moment before saying, “Mama’s gonna go to sleep and when she opens her eyes the baby is gonna be there and say, ‘Waaahhhh!’” After I finished laughing I said, “That’s pretty close. Mama is going to go to the doctor and have an operation where the doctor takes the baby out of her.” Annie seemed to accept this and soon was chatting about Play-Doh and princesses.
Later that evening, however, I told Heather what happened and she was surprised because Annie had told her only a few minutes earlier that “the baby is gonna grow out of you, Mama.” I’m not sure if that means Annie thinks the baby is going to arrive Alien-style, but clearly she wasn’t sold on my “operation” explanation.
What’s going on in this little urchin’s head?
“Were you in a tummy, Daddy?”
Annie asked me this one on the way to gymnastics class this morning. I told her I was in a tummy – Grandma Kathy’s – then asked her if she knew whose tummy Heather was in. “Grandma Linda’s,” she said.
Impressed, I asked Annie if she knew whose tummy her cousin, Michaela, had been in. She thought a few moments before saying, “Auntie Monica.” After that she also correctly answered whose tummies her friends Reilly and Meghan had been in, so she’s clearly figured out that all people start out in their mother’s tummy. Or, you know, uterus, but we’re taking this one step at a time with Annie.
While Annie is starting to understand how pregnancy works, it’s hard to know what she makes of it exactly. I remember when I was a little kid I cried myself to sleep one night because it seemed to me that my mom was 100% responsible for growing me, and that my dad – who I loved and admired – was just a bystander who played no role in creating me. I’ve since learned that dads do play a role in creating a baby, but that wasn’t readily apparent to my four-year-old self and caused me some distress. Thinking back on that, it makes me hope that Annie isn’t quietly suffering any stress trying to understand all this.
Regardless of what might be going on in Annie’s head, something tells me she’ll be asking a lot more questions. I just hope I can answer them – at least in a way that makes sense to a three-year-old.
And when she asks how the baby got in there, your cool answer will be that Daddy planted the seed for it! How chuffed will she be that her cool Dad did that!
I don’t know how in depth you want to go with your conversations since she’s pretty little still, but we got our boys (back when they were a little smaller) a book my friend, a sex therapist, recommended. My boys had all sorts of “where do babies come from?” questions, so we got the book “It’s Not the Stork” and read it with them from time-to-time. I didn’t want to make stuff up because we try to be honest with answers to questions about sex and babies, etc, but I wasn’t quite sure how to phrase my answers, this book helped a lot. This book is recommended for ages 4 and up, so she’s not quite there yet, but it is a really good resource (I think). They have a series of books too, so as my boys have aged, we’ve purchased them.
Thanks for suggestion… I will check “It’s Not the Stork” out. With Annie I fear I will need all the help I can get!
My niece is fascinated with where babies come from as a friend’s mom is pregnant, so thanks for the book tip!
It seems like as kids get older the questions get asked over (and over) so you can always try again if the answer you gave did not work at first. However, you and Heather always seem to have the perfect answers for Annie!
My son asked lots of questions too…
My sister is a kindergarten teacher and her kids say the funniest things. The mother of one of the little girls in her class told her that the little girl saw her c-section scar and asked what it was. The mom explained that that was how babies sometimes come out of their mommies. The little girl then tapped her chin, contemplatively, and said “so we know how babies come out, but how they get in there is still a mystery…” So funny!
That’s awesome! A future scientist in the making, it seems!
I like that Annie’s processing the answers you’ve given her, although you’re right that she’ll have more questions soon. And since you’re aware of the distress *you* experienced as a kid, you’ll be that much more prepared when she asks what part daddies have in making babies. Good luck with that!
My son is five and recently asked about how babies get out of mommy’s tummy. I told her that mommy goes to the doctor and he helps get it out but he wasn’t satisfied. Luckily there was a distraction and I thanked heaven.
Both of my girls (ages 3 & 5) are very curious about all things pregnancy/baby-related. I have been pretty straight forward about what part of my body they came out of (which was absolutely horrifying to my 5 year old). When I asked my 3 year old how she thinks she came out, she said “I came out of your bagina with tweezers!” I laughed so dang hard. Now, every time she brings it up she talks about the tweezers and laughs hysterically.
I love it — tweezers!!! I remember one night my nine year old (might have been ten, can’t remember for sure) wanted to sleep with me which was an unusual request because she loved her bunk bed she shared with her younger sister so I said sure (single mom) and then she proceeded to tell me what she heard from a friend that day on the playground — all the facts of conceiving in explicit detail!!! I was mortified and as a physician, was so proud of my answer —- “That’s RIDICULOUS, that’s RIDICULOUS!!!” I never thought my girls would have to learn the facts of life (as we used to call them in my day) before they even had learned the truth about Santa!!! But, I , sadly had to sit them both down the next day and tell them. Too early! And the ironic thing was the kid who told her was the most sheltered, coddled kid with a mom who refused to let her daughter play with a neighborhood kid who had the audacity to point to a dog poop and call it “dog poop”!!! Crazy world!
I am an aunt to a 4-year old niece and (almost) 3-year old nephew and I am always amazed how much more they “understand” (connect the dots, draw conclusions) than I could have ever imagined.
When my great-aunt passed away a few ago, my nephew asked where my sister had been all afternoon and she answered I was at the hospital to say goodbye to Aunt I…. and my nephew responded: That’s not true, she’s not at the hospital, she’s in heaven.
And my 4-year old niece chimed in: I am going to draw her a picture that she can take with her into the grave.
I was like “WHAT?”….
I guess, just be as close to the truth as you feel comfortable talking to a 3-year old
When my son was 2 or 3, he asked how babies got out of their mommie’s tummy and I gave him the answer my mother had given me when I was little, “through a special opening mommies have in their bodies.” And he asked to see it, which my husband thought was hilarious. I kept putting it off, hoping he’d forget, which he did eventually. I just wasn’t comfortable with “show and tell!” A couple of years later, I bailed on the details when he asked a question about where babies came from and answered something along the lines of, “after a mommie and a daddy get married, sometimes if they’re lucky God sends them a baby” which satisfied his curiosity for a bit (we were probably in line at the grocery store or something when he asked the question). And then months later at a dinner party, the kids were off playing while the grownups were in another room and the subject obviously came up and one girl announced it wasn’t true that you had to be married because she was in her mommie’s tummy BEFORE her mother got married (they were from Norway). He told me about the conversation and I didn’t say too much. Months later, another dinner party, another kid conversation on the topic and I hear my son’s voice from the other room telling everyone the “facts” I’d presented to him and then the caveat, “BUT it works differently in Norway!”
Too funny. If I were you I’d bust out the “but it works differently in Norway” line all the time just to tease your son!
Diane B. says:
Well I’m glad I’m an American Norwegian so it worked the way I thought: married, kiss, God sends a baby, doctor “unzippers” Mommy’s tummy for the c-section.
So being an aunt with no kids of my own, I kinda figured I’d be spared these questions…not so. A few years ago, within 3 hours of arriving on the plane & getting to my house for the summer, my then 9-going-on-10 year old niece asked me why her older cousin “peed blood” every month and where babies come from–as in how EXACTLY do they get in there and back out again. Oy vey. Twas then I knew it was going to be a very LONG summer. I answered the period questions without pausing explaining a woman’s internal organs & why it happens (fortunately another aunt was pregnant at the time so I was able to explain rather easily why our bodies stored up blood & then emptied it if we didn’t get pregnant that month)…but the other questions, I had to put off until I could talk to her custodial parent & grandparent about what their preference was in discussing sex ed…and by the time they got back to me with the go ahead, she’d forgotten! (Phew!!!)
The worst part of that summer though: 4 days before she left to go home, we took her to a lake beach where a nasty old man exposed himself/masterbated in front of her. Fortunately what stuck out most in her head is how her cool disabled aunt tossed her cane & chased the perv down (after quickly taking pictures of him) and almost caught him before he jumped into his car & took off–but I got car make, model, description & all but one digit of the license plate. The pictures & info went out all over the news & the guy was caught within a week. Before she came back the following summer, there had already been a trial, plea bargain (so she wouldn’t have to testify in person) and sentencing. AND we had an awesome court advocate for my niece. She came out of it a little less innocent but not damaged–family members all on the same page & no shame allowed to attach itself to her…in fact my niece & all the extended family came out of the experience bonded & stronger than before. AND my niece NEVER once felt like a victim! She always knew from the get go that the problem lay with the man, not with her. She saw adults come to her defence. And she saw the justice system in action (being interviewed by police–cool!!!–) and it working in her favor. I pray to God that’s the only experience she ever has in the “sex abuse realm” having been abused extensively as a child myself. I was so proud of her and of those around her and of all the possitive that came out of it. If it had to happen, it couldn’t have turned out better…
But her summer here certainly began & ended with tough questions I never thought I’d have to confront! I’m just happy she chose to come back for 2 more summers before she decided that she’d rather stay home near her friends during summers instead of staying with her aunt & gramma! LOL
Here’s how my husband plans to handle the ” Well, what role do daddies have with a baby?”: “When mom and dad decided to have a baby, they both provided some specs, and then mommy used them to build a baby in her tummy. Meanwhile daddy’s job was to do everything he could to keep mommy happy, because building a baby is hard work, and mommy got crabby a lot, from the hard work”.
(He calls it “the engineering explanation”, because that’s pretty much what he does at work, too
Recently while in line at the grocery store, we saw a pregnant woman behind us. My 4 year old said loudly, “Mommy look, she has a baby in her belly!” And I absent-mindedly said yes she does. He then went into question-mode and asked me very loudly all about the baby- what it would look like, what it’s name would be, if it would be big or little, what he looked like when he was a baby, etc. All very cute and innocent and adorable. He then, practically shouting asked the poor woman how HER daddy put the baby in there! She replied, “um…uh..” and laughed uncomfortably. He then asked, “Mama, how’s that baby gonna come out? Like a poo poo on the potty??” By then the whole line was laughing and I was as red as a tomato. Gotta love the questions they come up with!
I was going to suggest a Beaver Baby http://www.oneclassymotha.com/2012/12/11/tip-for-tuesday-the-miracle-of-life-through-inappropriate-crafting/
… but unfortunately it appears that she has not yet developed one that addresses the issue of c-sections.
Kim - One Classy Motha says:
HA! I love that you suggested my Beaver Babies on here! Thanks! Guess what?! I’m coming out with one within a week or two, as I’ve had 2 c-sections myself.