Sunday, April 06, 2008

Uh, Um, Gulp, Ahem, Well…

It took 5 years, 5 months and a handful of days, but it finally happened this morning. Let me set the scene for you. Lucy and Ethel were mimicking every dance step and singing or saying every word from ‘Hairspray,’ I was desperately scouring contently surfing the web for an idea to write about today, the coffee was getting luke warm, the clouds were rolling in, The Supremes’ ‘Love Child’ was playing on my Windows Media Player, our dog Mabel was asleep outside in the door-way of the twins’ playhouse, I was wearing my favorite t-shirt after just discovering it had two holes in it (yes, I cried. Like a baby), the dishwasher needed unloading…you know what, we’ll just consider that the scene has been set. I think I was a little too thorough there, sorry.

Anywhoo, as I sat reading an article about how Twinkies first went on sale today (which I would be so willingly to celebrate by deep frying them if only I had gotten that deep fryer for Christmas…stupid Santa), the TV dinner was invented today (don’t underestimate the importance of that fact in my life) and that John Ratzenberger was born on this day (remember, he played Cliff Claven, my useless trivia idol. He could totally kick Alex Trebec’s ‘I know it all’ gentlemanly ‘what is his rear-end for $500,’ if you know what I mean) when Lucy asked a question that literally made me turn pale and throw up a little in my mouth. Oh by the way, I should add that even though it really seems like a good idea, Honey Nut Cheerios, fresh pineapple and coffee DO NOT mix in liquid regurgitated form, unless you are the Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern, which if you are, please email me because I have a few ideas I’d like to pitch. If you are still able to follow along, I’m sure you have already guessed what the question was. And you’d be right. Lucy asked ‘we are supposed to avoid people who don’t like cheese, right Daddy?’ I’m kidding. Really, I am. I’d never tell them that…at least not directly. Again, just kidding. Have you sensed my nervousness here in even re-telling this harrowing tale I started two paragraphs ago?

OK, Lucy asked me ‘Daddy, when you already have kids, how do you get another one?’ Now granted I am slower than molasses on a December morn, but I realized pretty quickly what she was really asking me, so I pulled out the old Presidential Press Conference tip sheet and sidestepped the real question by saying ‘you just decide to have another one.’ And then she called my hand. She asked ‘Daddy, HOW do you have another one?’ This is the point where I was sucked out of my body, everything went silent and then my years started to ring. I think I also heard that freaky music one the Wizard of Oz when the witch lady flies by on the bike.

I don’t mind telling all of you close blogging friends that I fully planned on exploiting the way she asked me the question. Let’s review: she asked ‘where’ and then ‘how’ ‘do we get another child.’ I don’t want to play Clinton-esque semantics here (I did not have eating relations with that last piece of pie…), but since the whole ‘where do babies come from’ wasn’t really uttered, I focused on the ‘more kids’ part. Go ahead and say it: ‘this man is an idiot who probably couldn’t follow the directions to put his kids’ red wagon together at Christmastime.’ Gotcha! You should have said ‘wow, this is one brave parent tackling such a multi-faceted perception of life altering question so confidently,’ but now that I know how you really feel about me because you were so quick to repeat the whole wagon thing, maybe I just won’t continue this story…

…But I will. I’m a very giving person. At this point, so many ideas ran through my head about WHERE you could get more kids if you wanted them. Before I clutched my pipe, folded my paper, tightened my robe and answered Lucy and Ethel (you know, if I was Ward Cleaver) I concocted an idea of a lottery where you get another child. Then I thought about telling them that you write your local Congress person to petition for another child, or go to Home Depot (go Tony Stewart!) and buy ‘additional child seeds.’ I was also devising a story about a phone line or website where you ask for more children and happily patting myself on the back mentally for my quick ideas, which is pretty hard (that’s what she said).

Then, not realizing no less than 30 minutes had gone by, I was brought out of my mental back patting by the twins shouting ‘Daddy, Daddy, the movie is over and you have been ignoring us. We asked you a question. Also, we are hungry.’ Don’t worry; I was alert, bold, parental, fatherly and quick on my feet. I stammered out ‘who wants ice cream!’ Of course, they jumped on this. There’s nothing wrong with ice cream at 9:30AM. I learned that from watching ‘Little Miss Sunshine.’ Also, did you know that ice cream won’t make you fat?

It is now that I would like to thank my high school debate teacher for training me how to diffuse potential hot-button topics so quickly and confidently. And to think I almost didn’t take that class. Now, how do I avoid verbal contact with my children for the next 13 years? On a slightly unrelated note, I have a stock tip for you. You might want to buy stock in Dreyer’s ice cream. It seems to be the Lucy and Ethel’s favorite brand…

14 comments:

Hannah said...

Having taught preschool and been asked that question many times by precocious little ones, I was always able to use the same explanation “You should ask your mommy and daddy” Cause, by law we were never allowed to answer those questions.

But, because you ARE the daddy you can (as much as you don’t want to) give them a totally Disney/G rated answer like, “sometimes when a mommy and a daddy love each other so much, there is enough love to make a whole other person” Though I am sure that kind of answer might make you throw up a little, just like their question did. It made me a tad nauseous typing it actually.

Or if you would rather not ever talk about it ever ever, just use the whole “I don’t know, ask mommy”

And when all else fails just tell them babies come from SEARS. That’s the answer my friends little brother got when he asked.

The Exception said...

I think that I addressed this question somewhere in my blog...so you could refer to that or...

I always try and get at the question that they are really asking... "do you want another sibling?" (perhaps that was what she was after?)

My daughter was a different case in that she was interested in the way babies form before she was interested in how they were made so... I was able to do the cellular biology explanation.

And, just so you know, kids know that babies come from mother's stomachs... they get there because they start as a cell. She didn't ask about sex actually!!

All kidding aside, how did you answer her question???

Selma said...

My son was about the same age as Lucy and Ethel when he asked that question. I used the approach Hannah mentioned and it was as nauseous as expected. I saw half way through that I was losing him so tied the whole thing up with a dance number. Do you remember that song from the 60s that went 'Let me tell you about the birds and the bees, and the flowers and the trees, and the moon up above, and this thing called love?' I can't remember who sang it but it was very catchy. It worked a treat. Jake was captivated and was so busy singing it he forgot the point of the question. That's my method all over. Distract them by going off on another tangent. Works every time. Hahaha.

Michael C said...

Hannah: The Sears defense. Nice!!

The Exception: The ice cream kinda took care of having to answer.

Selma: For now, ice cream (or anything with sugar) will serve as my tangent. Sugar, more potent than crack. Ok, that might have been a bit much...

On a limb with Claudia said...

Well, shit Michael. I was hoping you would answer that question for me. Most of my friends get kids from China. Some get them from Guatemala. I know a couple of infants from Eastern Europe.

But you seemed to do something else. How does that work?

Just telling it like it is said...

The stork...need I say more?

Poor Micheal I know this is hard on you...

and yahooo...for ice cream

Patti said...

Michael, think back to what answer you were given when you posed that question.
Just do as your parents did, and keep the cycle going.


I'm not helping, am I?

chefmom said...

Well this was a weekend HOT TOPIC!! I was asked by my daughter this weekend "how do babies get out of the mom's body?"
Someone had apparently told her that you "poop" one out. GREAT, just what I need, my daughter thinking every time she goes to the bathroom, we get another kid.
I personally chose to describe the c-section version. When she asked if I had a c-section (which I did not), I walked out of the room, mumbling some excuse about needing a shot, before the conversation went any further. It worked, I took my shot, and she moved onto something else. I'm SO NOT READY For these converstions!!

Natalie said...

My mom was pregnant with my sister when I was 3 and, being an inquisitive child I HAD to know ALL about it. She got me the book Where Do Babies Come From by Margaret Sheffield. Unfortunately it seems to be out of print now but may be at libraries. The thing I always appreciated about the book when I was young was that it didn't talk down to me it simply stated what all the bodies parts did and how they worked together to make a baby. The illustrations were beautiful, and accurate things like men and women holding each other in fields of flowers, nursing mothers, and developing embryos all painted exquisitely. I must admit it gave me a somewhat idealized version of intercourse but it stressed love and biology very directly. It may be too straight forward for some parents though but when the time comes I'm getting it from my parents and sitting down with the kid and reading with them. Sorry, that was a bit involved.

meleah rebeccah said...

"Anywhoo, as I sat reading an article about how Twinkies first went on sale today (which I would be so willingly to celebrate by deep frying them if only I had gotten that deep fryer for Christmas…stupid Santa)"


Wait? Are you telling me that its possible to deep fry TWINKIES? I had no idea.

meleah rebeccah said...

"There’s nothing wrong with ice cream at 9:30AM"

AGREEED!


But I hate to inform you that ONE DAY you WILL have to HAVE that conversation....and its a doozie.

meleah rebeccah said...

and wait? what happened to the actual bee's? he he he he he he he

FRIGGA said...

As funny of a post as that made - it could be very very dangerous to dance around the question and leave the answer up to their imaginations.

Plus, the question won't go away until they find out. :-0

best bud's wife said...

Wouldn't you rather be the one to tell them rather than some random child on the playground? If you have had conversations from a young age about the differences between boys and girls, you've already touched on this topic. Just keep it age appropriate! (Sorry to be so serious) You and Mrs. C don't have to be formal about it, just talk about it whenever it comes up in normal conversation. Do you want us to bring over our recent birth video? ;-)