“I think I muffed it,” I said to Neil on the phone.Fortunately, he was too polite to agree.
It wasn’t like I didn’t know this day was coming.It’s the day that haunts parents’ dreams.It’s the question that you always secretly hope they’ll ask the other parent.I suppose it’s inevitable. And I even had a good warning, since she’d danced around the edges of the question with her grandma a few weeks previously.And of course, with several new babies in the extended family this year, it was bound to be on her mind.I’d thought about what I would say.I actually felt pretty good about my preparedness.I’d discussed it with other parents who have faced the issue themselves.But with all this, I must say, I wasn’t completely prepared for the question at 7a.m. this morning.
“Mama,” said my daughter out of the blue, “How does a baby get out of the mommy’s tummy without breaking it?”
<Ah, yes,> I thought.<Here it is.Deep breath, Bethi, you’re up to this challenge, even if you’ve only had one cup of coffee this morning.>
“Well, sweetie,” I said with what I hoped was relative calm in my voice, “God designed mommies with a special place that opens when it is time for the baby to come out.”
“Oh…” said Juli.She sounded a bit disappointed.“Is that how I was born?”
“Well, no,” I said truthfully, “You were in a funny position and the doctor didn’t think you should come out like that, so he decided to take you out of my stomach through a little opening he made under my bellybutton.”
My daughter’s eyes lit up.“You mean he CUT your tummy open?!?With a KNIFE?!?”She leaned forward expectantly, “With a BIG knife?!?”
“Um, well, no, honey,” I said a little hesitantly.This conversation was taking a turn I hadn’t quite anticipated!“He just made a little incision with a special little knife.And out you came, just as cute…”
“You mean a SPECIAL knife that didn’t hurt?” Juli interrupted, “And he made a hole in your tummy?”
“Well, no,” I explained, “He gave me a shot before he cut so that it wouldn’t hurt me.”
“Oooh!” said my bright-eyed daughter, “A SHOT!A shot right in your TUMMY?!?”
“Um, well, actually, the shot was in my back.” I continued, trying to figure out how I got into this in the first place.
“Ohhh…” said Juli, “A shot into your BACK… where? And did it HURT?And it made you go to sleep?”
“No, I didn’t go to sleep.” I said, “It just made my tummy and legs sort of fall asleep so they didn’t feel any pain when the doctor got you out.”
“Oh, you mean when he cut you open with the special knife?Did it BLEED?Where did he cut you?Can I see?”
Right about this point, I’m thinking my daughter is a bloodthirsty little ghoul.This conversation didn’t go at ALL like I had planned.And I’m totally wishing I’d told her to ask Daddy, although he said he would probably just tell her the stork brought the baby.Although if he had, she probably would have wanted to know if the stork had cut the baby out with a knife.
I just can’t wait to hear her report this to Nana on the phone.However she tells it, I just know the part about the knife will be told with relish and gusto.Maybe we’re not looking at a lawyer after all.She sure does seem interested in cutting things open.Doctor?Surgeon?Or maybe a butcher.
Can’t WAIT for the next question and answer session.