Serves me Right
It all felt very right, very – “communicative.” In the car last week, when my 6 year old daughter asked me a really thoughtful question, “Are all girls born with a teeny tiny baby in their tummy?” I was excited at the prospect of helping her to understand – just a little – about the biological beginnings of a baby.
She already understood that only women get pregnant, and so by extension, it made sense that she would imagine all girls would hold the teeniest, microscopic baby in their tummies until they were finally old enough and ready enough to be Mommies and really ‘grow the babies.’
I told her she was very close in her guess – that when girls go through the process called ‘puberty’ – when a girl’s body goes through many changes and becomes a woman’s body – one of those changes is that she gets ‘eggs’ in a special part of her body called the ‘womb,’ – eggs that are basically “half a baby” only super teeny tiny. (No, I didn’t elaborate, nor did I explain anything about the ‘1 egg per month/period’ thing. Let’s let the child live in a blood-free fantasy world just a bit longer, shan’t we?)
At the same time, I added, boys’ bodies go through puberty and when THEIR bodies change from boys to men, they get these things called ‘sperm’ which also have all the ingredients for half a baby. In this way, when the Mommy and Daddy are finally ready to ‘make a baby,’ the baby is made from the ½ baby in the dad and the ½ baby in the mom, and becomes a ‘whole baby seed’ that grows inside the mom.
The few questions that followed were lively and logical, and didn’t lead us down any paths I couldn’t answer for her 6 year old capacity to understand. (She didn’t wonder too deeply when I contradicted her claim that “that’s why babies can ONLY come when a Mom and Dad get MARRIED” – I did tell her it can happen other ways but that, bottom line, there has to be the ½ from the boy & the ½ from the girl to get the whole things started.
I was faintly glowing all evening from having such a successful ‘mother-daughter’ talk – and then forgot mostly about it until the next evening, when Rachel announced knowingly to her older brother: “Did you know you are pregnant with half a baby? It’s true! Ima told me!”
I think I should have just changed the subject back when I had the chance.
Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)