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.
“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.