Sunday, 9 September 2012

Where do babies come from?

Where do babies come from?
9 September 2012

So, we’ve all been asked that most awkward of questions by our children – “where do babies come from?”.

I think the trick is to be as honest as possible, whilst keeping your answer age appropriate.  My motto, is ask not want not.  Obviously as my kids have gotten older (firstly Luke, and then Amber), there came a time when I sat down with them and explained, without prompting from them first.  But in general, they actually lead you, when they start asking questions.  And if they’re satisfied with the answer you’ve supplied them with, chances are you’ve given them what they need and what they can cope with.  However should they ask further leading questions, you’ve got your work cut out for you.

I remember explaining in the most basic child-friendly of terms to Luke, when I was pregnant with Amber, where babies came from – because he had asked.  I gave him the headlines.  You know the whole egg/seed thing, the miracle of growth, but not much details beyond that.  At three and a half, he wasn’t ready yet.  Then when he was a bit older, the topic came up again, and again I explained it to him.  This time with a bit more detail.  And then, one fine day, completely out of the blue, months and months later, Luke came and told me that he knew exactly where babies came from.

For a minute my heart stopped.  I had no idea if someone at pre-school had perhaps been more forthcoming with info than me – sharing more of the “gory” details.  He pointed to his foot and he said that they started in your foot, and then they slowly went up your leg, getting bigger all of the time, until they came to lie in your tummy, where they got the biggest of all.  Phew!  I had dodged a bullet.

I had a friend who told her 8 year old and 5 year old sons exactly how babies were made and where they came from.  She says that they looked at her with revulsion in their eyes, pretending to throw up, covering their eyes with their hands.  Both exclaiming “Gross!  I’m never going to do that”.  But then she quickly reassured them that she and their Dad only did “it” twice, in order to have the two of them.  This seemed to pacify them, they swiftly moved on and I don’t think the topic ever came up again.

Another friend said that when the time came, when her girls were 9 and 6 years old, she went to the Library and got a great book explaining the whole thing.  There were lovely child friendly illustrations.  She says the actual language used in the book would go a bit above her children’s heads, so she sat them down, showed them the pictures and explained the process to them in language and terms that they would understand.  However, she says she made a cardinal mistake that evening.  She was nagging at her husband about his lack of participation with regards to their children’s bedtime routine and told him, that he should read the girls their bedroom story.  He eventually succumbed, called both girls over and they went and lay down on their bed.  Little was she to know, that her darling husband, would take the top book from the pile of Library books.

He is an exceptionally bright man.  In fact, extremely intelligent to be exact, but sometimes to quote her “he’s a buffoon”.  Not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to matters of a more emotional and intuitive nature.  Taking the book at face value, he read it to his two little girls – word for word.  My friend, Gail, had no idea, until she happened to walk past her bedroom.  She said she had a soft mushy moment when she peered in through the door, to see her husband lying on top of the bed, flanked by a daughter on either side.  Until she saw the book he held in his hand.  And given his less than stellar reputation, she feared for the worst.  She says that as she came closer, all she could hear from him was “and then the man’s penis becomes enlarged and the scrotum fills with semen”.  She nearly died.  And I think so did John.  I'm sure he rued the day.  It’s a story still retold over and over again when our group of friends get together.  I wonder how much those two little girls actually took in of what was being explained to them.

And now we get to the reason for today’s blog.  Our littlest dog, is on heat.  She’s our little pavement special, of indiscriminate parentage and is rather small in stature.  And our male dog is practically salivating after her – he is seriously in lust.  So we are at present having our hands full separating our dogs.  Riley, our pavement doggie, has all of a sudden became an inside doggie.  This in order to protect her from the abusive intentions of our male dog, Dax (a very large pavement dog of indiscriminate parentage), as well as all of the other male dogs in the neighbourhood.  And naturally this has sparked a virtual flurry of questions from 8 year old Cole. 

First and foremost, his dearest wish, is for Riley to be with child (ok, so it’s puppies, but I’ve always wanted to use that phrase).  Secondly, “where do babies come from?”, and “why does Dax keep on trying to jump on Riley?”.  I had been doing a bit of an ostrich move, and apart from telling Cole that we had to keep the dogs separate, had been avoiding the issue – hoping it would die down.  But is my Grantie that sensitive?  Hell, no.  So, there I was – completely unsuspectingly busy typing away on the computer, when Cole came to stand right next to me.  He tapped me on my shoulder, turned those big brown eyes on me and said “Daddy said I must ask you where babies come from?”.  That coward, Grant!!!  Yellow-bellied bastard!  I should roast him over an open flamed fire, like the chicken that he is.

So, I went off into my whole egg and seed routine, explaining the highlights without getting into the fine print.  Which seemed to be going relatively well until Cole asked where Dax got his seeds from.  “Did he buy his seeds at the shops?”.  No, I explained, it’s sort of in his tummy.  And remember the mommy dog has an eggie and then the seed and the eggie mix together and then a baby grows?  Cole looked at me for a minute, and then with a look of severe distrust said to me “so how does the Daddy give the Mommy the seed?”.  But before I could answer, Cole exclaimed all excitedly “I know!  The Daddy spits it out and then the Mommy eats it”.  Now, I didn’t think it was possible, but telling him the truth might actually be more palatable than his version of events.  So, I decided to go for broke.  I said to him “Cole, Mommy quickly has to send an urgent e-mail.  We can talk about this a bit later”.  Yip, I’m a yellow bellied coward myself.  And the heat of the flames are scorching me at present.

But did it rest there?  No, of course not.  Why would it.  Later that afternoon, as Cole and I left home to go to his swimming lessons, Dax saw a gap upon our exit and he made a dash for Riley.  Again Cole asked, “why can’t Dax and Riley make babies?”.  To which, I replied rather hurriedly “Cole, just look how big Dax is and look how small Riley is”.  And then, my darling little boy said “so what – look how big Daddy is and look how small you are”.

Words, quite simply escaped me.  Which explains why I resorted to chortles of laughter.  Cole never got his real answer and I’m still giggling.  In hindsight, I was a blithering idiot – I should have stuck to the old Stork story. 


  1. Magnificent Helene!!
    Do you remember how you found out - I sure can't remember telling you!
    Actually no - don't tell me, I hang my head in shame!!
    Yellow! You probably ended up hearing from the kids at school!
    Forgive me - those were still my drinking days.

    1. Michelle Engelbrecht10 September 2012 at 21:16

      Heard this version from a 9 year-old: "The daddy gives the mommy a bean and she swallows it...after a while it grows into a human-bean"! How do you argue with that? Couldn't help giggle when the first scan of my son looked like a ...bean! LOVE your blog!

  2. Haa-haa-haa!! Excellent as always! Too funny what kids come up with. Spitting out the seeds...I think I'm going to have to tell that version to Honey. Don't remember how we found out...but just by kissing we're still able to gross out our kids! Doesn't take much! Love it as always xxxxxx

  3. Hysterical & well written!
    Ken Silke