About a month ago I was driving in my car, just me and my two children. I drive this way a lot, so it wasn’t really remarkable. I remember the road we were on, and what the weather was like, but I don’t remember where we were going, exactly. In any case, it doesn’t really matter, and it certainly wasn’t what makes the trip memorable a month later.
What is memorable is the turn the conversation with my daughter Hannah took. She told me that her friend’s parents couldn’t have babies anymore. This is true, as the friend’s father recently had a vasectomy. I’m not sure if Hannah actually knew that her friend’s father had a procedure, or whether she overheard someone talking, or whether Hannah was just being a 5-year-old and making stuff up. But then she said to me, “Just like you and Daddy! You can’t have babies anymore, either.”
Technically speaking, this is not true. I currently have an IUD, but it’s only a temporary measure. And, what’s more, a part of me very much would love to have another baby. That part of me couldn’t let Hannah put the nail in the coffin of my baby dreams. Perhaps it should have just let sleeping dogs lie, but instead it opened its big mouth and said, “Actually, Daddy and I could have another baby if we wanted to.”
In theory, I could produce one of these again
Then, the questions started coming fast and furious. Why can Mama and Daddy have another baby, but the friend’s parents can’t? How does the doctor stop the seed from coming out? Where does the seed come out of, anyway? Where does the egg come from? How does the seed get to the egg? How? How? How?
See? Sleeping dogs. I could have avoided all of this if my babylust weren’t so vocal. But the reality is that I couldn’t have avoided it forever. Hannah is almost 6 years old, and this is important information that I need to provide her at some point. It might as well be in the car on a random weekday as anyplace, right?
How did this embryo get in there, anyway?
Aside: I just remembered where we were driving. We were visiting my friend, on an errand to drop off some homemade sorbet, since she can’t currently eat dairy as it disagrees with her nursing baby. Friend, you know who you are, and I am going to send Hannah’s next questions your way. I think it’s the least you can do, as I found myself in this situation as I was en route to bring you frozen desserts.
Returning to our story, I did my best to provide the basic information in clear language, without adding too much detail or providing too many embellishments. And then Hannah laughed. “Ha!” she said, “You must be joking!” I assured her I was not. And then I held my breath, because this wasn’t what I was really afraid of. I was afraid of the question that might follow, “Daddy did that to you?” Somehow, discussing theoretical reproduction is much less loaded than discussing my personal experiences with reproduction.
I didn’t really want to talk about how I, personally, ended up in this state
Luckily, the follow-up question never came. But as I waited and my brain raced at 3000 miles an hour and I mentally reviewed what I said to make sure it was all OK, I was a little slow off the mark at a green light. Like, two seconds too slow. The guy in the car behind me honked angrily, and I wanted to open my window and ask that guy if he wanted to come out and explain the birds and the bees to my kid so that I could focus on the road. But I didn’t. I just drove on and exhaled when Hannah changed the subject.
This is one of the joys of parenting – you never know what’s going to come up in the car while you try to drop off sorbet.
So, tell me. Do you think that 2-year-old Jacob is covered, too, since he was in the car while I had this conversation? Because if I could kill two birds with one stone that would be awesome.