My son has always been curious. Like most kids, the answer to one question always leads to another question… and another. I don’t mind it most days. In fact, I admire his curiosity. Sometimes I’m concerned if I shoot down answering questions that later in life he will be less inclined to come to me when he hits a topic he doesn’t understand. So, I answer his questions. Regardless of how tired I am, or how frustrated I may get, I still answer them.
When I became pregnant with my second child, my son asked the same questions I imagine most kids do.
How does the baby grow?
How does the baby eat?
Where does the baby use the bathroom?
Outside of how the baby got in there, nothing intrigued him more than how the baby would get out. When he first asked where babies come from, I did like any good parent, I threw on my tap shoes and danced circles around the topic. I simply told him “the baby just comes out of your stomach.” I mean, he was only four. How much detail did he need? As usual though, my simple answers didn’t suffice. It just didn’t make sense to him that a baby would come out of a stomach.
A year or two after my daughter was born, he asked me once more where babies come from. I decided to tell him the truth. I watched as my endearing little boy burst into tears. Full-blown, wrinkled face, can hardly understand what my child was saying tears. In that moment, I didn’t know how to react. I expected more questions—not tears.
I wasn’t feeling like the mother of the year.
I asked my son why he was crying and his response was, “Because I know that must have hurt you.” My eyes water. I thought I was teaching my son a lesson and instead he taught me one. He taught me that I was raising a kid that was able to sympathize. Even though he will never know what it feels like to give birth, he took some time to think about my feelings and my physical well-being.
He’s going on ten now and we have since moved on to other big conversations. While the topics are sometimes uncomfortable, I like the part I play in his growth and development. I enjoy that he comes to me for understanding and that I get a bit of understanding from him too. Parenting sometimes includes awkward walks with our children, but if my son is bold enough to hold my hand and ask uncomfortable questions, perhaps I can be bold enough to answer. Even if means feeling clueless.