How to Talk About Birth With a 5-Year-Old

How can I be cool and approachable when it comes to these chats if I give half-truths and I can't even talk about vaginas?
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Mornings have never been my time to shine. When I first open my eyes, or have them pried open for me, I can hardly see. Even with little faces pressed right up against mine, I can still be confused as to who is there interrupting my slumber.

Honestly, my eyes look like two pissholes in the snow and my hair, a ratty-ass monsoon. My balance is off. I stagger, sway and bump into walls, even. No, this hangover-like awakening is not a result of a big night out or insomnia. Nor is it because I've been worn down by my parenting duties in the night. Nope. No night feedings here. And with or without wet beds and bad dreams, my day begins the same way. This is just me, first thing in the morning, and it always has been.

It actually requires a bit of effort for me to navigate the long flight of stairs at our house in those initial morning moments. I cautiously make my way down them and into the kitchen, often with both hands occupied by little hands. Once there, I put on the coffee and as it brews I am thrust into parental motion -- slow motion, definitely, but motion nonetheless. During this time I'm likely to put cereal in the fridge or milk in the cupboard. I'm a classic example of a "Mombie."

And, I wish everyone would just follow my rule: "No Talkie Before Coffee."

It's nothing but a pipe-dream though and I know it.

Needless to say, with such a groggy start to the day, I aim to keep things simple. At least the first 10 minutes, anyway.

1. Provide easy-to-make food for kids.
2. Pour coffee into mug.
3. Sip coffee.

Seems simple enough, right? (ha!)

So, when I'm confronted one morning, while pouring my first cup-a-joe, with: "Mommy, how do babies get out?" I'm by no means prepared. I've only just confirmed that today is, in fact, Thursday and I'm now thrown into an impromptu chat about childbirth?!

I look down at two curious, brown eyes and, without the approval or support of my brain, my mouth starts to speak: "Ummmm. Well, sometimes..." I begin, "the doctor does an operation and takes the baby out of the mommy's tummy. Right here." I draw an imaginary incision across my lower abdomen and I leave it at that...

My Caesarean explanation is received without further questioning and we carry on with our morning.

Later on, I reflect on my earlier explanation and I'm less than impressed. It seems my resistance to discuss vaginas at 7:30 in the morning had lead me to imply that C-sections are the main mode of baby delivery. What?! How can I be cool and approachable when it comes to these chats if I give half-truths and I can't even talk about vaginas?

I vow to re-visit the discussion.

That evening, at bedtime, I bring it up. "You know how some babies are taken out of their mom's tummies by doctors? Well, often they come out another way." Eyebrows perk up. "You see, they can also come out through... a sort of magical tunnel." Eyes grow wider as I go on to explain where this tunnel is located and that only females get to have this special tunnel. I describe that the reason it's magical is that it changes and grows because it knows exactly what to do when the time comes for the baby to enter the world. And, as I'm explaining this, I feel very much like this mystical, magical tunnel analogy is the truth.

It really is magical.

Talks about the birds and the bees had officially begun. That second time around, I'd been cool. I'd been comfy, and I'd been approachable. I'd used mystical imagery that had actually made perfect sense. It had even given me a moment of appreciation for the magical elements of my own hoo ha.

Next time, I'll be prepared. I'll be like the early years version of Dr. Ruth from now on. Bring on the sex questions, kids! But do me a favor? Let me have my coffee first.

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