At age Three years and 10.2 months, we were asked the inevitable question by Bean: How was I made?
I sat there and stared at her sweet, cherubic face. Her eyes were wide with wonder; mine instantly locked on J's eyes and we both sat looking uncomfortably at each other. A mixture of fear, mischief and confusion splayed across our faces. We said nothing. For once, our dinner table was quiet. Bean had shut us both up.
One minute passed. Two minutes passed. Her question hung in the air above us, dangling future conversations about sex in our faces. Pre-schoolers are smart. So smart. And they absorb so much information, even when you think that they aren't paying attention, they will shock you with big words or remember an event from months ago. J and both knew that whatever we said could define us as parents.
Would we answer scientifically in the confines of proper biological nomenclature? We'd choke on the words "penis", "vagina" and oh I can't say it "insert?" I ran through that scenario in my head and that conversation would likely end with us all us traumatized with Bean shouting "vagina" and "insert" loudly and inappropriately for the remainder of my days.
Would we answer according to our shared religious upbringing? Yikes. Definitely no. I feared that this would ostracize whatever modern families that Bean was bound to encounter in her life. I certainly didn't want her to view families as "when a man a woman love each other... bam, baby" because there are countless other ways that families are made and I wanted to somehow acknowledge that.
Still, we sat there stunned, grappling with words until this gem came out:
"Well, we loved each other so much that our bodies couldn't contain our love any more so all this extra love came out and made you. Half of daddy and half of mommy came together and made a very tiny you. And you in grew my belly. You started out small and then you got bigger and bigger until finally you were born."
"And HT was made that way too?"
"Yes. HT was made that way too."
"Oh. Okay. I'm made out of blood, dinosaur bone, cartilage, and water. Can I watch a movie?"
"No." I breathed a huge sigh of relief. We went back to our dinner and for the first time I was grateful for our discussion to return to princesses.