I don’t remember exactly her age, when Zoe asked me for the first time where do the babies come from…it was the second year in her daycare so she must have been just around 3 years old and I was cool about it because for once ….I was prepared!!
I was so ready for this question 🙂 In my control freak anxious mind I did my research in anticipation of this moment… unlike the other time when she asked me how do the babies come out of the tummy, but that is whole another story.
Whether you are like me, anticipating and looking for ideas how to address the question once the time comes, or you might be with your back against the wall googling for ideas right now with cold sweat going down your back as your toddler is waiting by your side for an answer…. here is what I have for you:
a gentle story, age appropriate and true.
No bees, no butterflies… the truth.
Stay true to yourself
I have a special relationship with my daughter. She looks up to me, she listens to me (not in an obey way… she does listen to what I have to say, to my opinions, arguments, questions, doubts…) and I see clearly that I am her role model.
She is and always has been very mature for her age, she has loads of different questions and always needs to understand and make her own opinion about things.
All this puts additional pressure on us parents because she is not the type of child to be content with short or nonsense answer.
Moreover, she has the memory of an elephant and the few times I tried to get away with something made up it backfired because I just simply can’t remember made up things and she remembers everything and e.x.a.c.t.l.y
Honesty and trust
Anyway, as I was saying, I feel the pressure to give correct and truthful answers because not only she is smart enough to figure out otherwise but because we are used to honesty at our house and expect nothing less from each other.
We have a relationship built on trust and I did not want to harm it intentionally by lying even if in good faith. I appreciate that there are moments when lie might be necessary or a better way but this one clearly isn’t one of them.
So ladies and gentleman, here is my super simple story. Mind you, this is a story told to a 3 year old:
“Mom! Dad! Where do the babies come from??”
Me, after a major look exchange with my husband ” Well, it is actually a beautiful story, honey. You know how little chicks come from eggs? So every women, even you sweetie (if talking to a girl) is born with many many very tiny eggs* in her tummy and if she is lucky, one of those eggs is a magic egg. That one will slowly start to grow a little baby inside. It will first grow its head, hands and legs; then their eyes, face and everything what little baby needs.”
“So I have eggs in my tummy now?”
“Yes, you do…”
“Can I have a baby then?”
“No sweetie, you are still a baby and also your eggs are just teeny tiny minuscule, they need to grow a bit with you…”
See what I did there? I mean, how genius is this… as they grow (kids not the eggs) and have more questions, you just unfold more details of this story. It even helps you answer other questions or push back on siblings pressure.
… why some kids are twins or someone has no children at all?
… can we decide to have a new baby now?
… why don’t I have a brother or sister?
It is so convenient to blame it all on that egg and the magic – magic – magic!! .. you got even the period talk covered (getting rid of the empty non-magical eggs..).
And it is not a lie…the fertilisation, gestation, all processes involved and leading to creation of something so precious and perfect as new baby is simply magical.
Our discussion with Zoe was over here. Question was answered, everyone was happy. My husband later than night admitted that he was so relieved I was there to pick this one up, hahaha..
If your child is older and you feel it is appropriate to give more information, go for it!
You can add that what ‘wakes up’ the egg’s magic is the seeds from daddy… You can then talk about sex too.
Basically the more detail you give to your kid the less magic you will need in the story 😉
In any case and which ever way you decide to answer this first question to your child try to:-
not dismiss or ignore the question
not get angry or obviously uncomfortable: kids give things importance based on your reactions
not make a big deal out of it: no need for a sit down talk
tell the truth (just filter the details)
use language your child understand
call things their correct names (vagina and penis vs pee pee and wee wee): I wanted Zoe to know and understand these terms even though we continue to say at home pee pee and wee wee ( I just can’t imagine saying, let’s go shower and wash your vagina 😮 )
and don’t be surprised when your kid moves on quickly: again, it is just A question for them. Unless you make it a big deal, it is not.
This is what worked well for us.
If you know another smooth way to address these first questions or if you have some great or not so much moment having this first talk….DO share 🙂
As these questions never com alone I have Kids Questions trilogy in making:
I. “Where do the babies come from?”
II. “How does the baby get out of your tummy?”
III. The placenta talk
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* ok I checked the count and it is quite fascinating (and more complicated than that): a new born baby girl is born with egg cell (oocytes) in her ovaries. Most of the oocytes gradually waste away, leaving about 1 to 2 million present at birth. At puberty, only about 300,000 remain. Only a small percentage of oocytes mature into eggs. Only about 400 eggs are released during a women’s reproductive life, usually one during each menstrual cycle.