Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Talk

About two weeks ago, The Well Read Hostess posted a blog entry that ended with the following paragraph:
My son is 8. The questions he asks about life's many mysteries especially those that involve body parts and babies are looping in ever tighter circles around the BIG QUESTIONS. I've always said I'm going to be totally straightforward, no euphemisms, no weird or cute terminology. But oy. Sometimes this stuff is way harder than 3 a.m. feedings, chafed nipples, and projectile baby poop.
It reminded me of a story that I've been meaning to blog about ever since.  Unfortunately, other things got in the way, but the story has been kicking around my brain dying to come out, so here it is.  For those of you "in the know" ... sorry, yeah, you've heard it before a time or ten ;-)

My four older boys being my step sons means that occasionally the subject of adoption comes up.  It's happened less and less over the years, but, especially early on, it was a VERY important topic at our house.

Imagine this conversation, 10 or so years ago ... while we were pregnant with Douglas:

Adam (8 at the time, which is why WRH's post above reminded me): "So ... if you adopted me, then you'd be my real dad?"

Me (the exact same age I am now ... I don't get older ... at least I don't feel older): "Yes and no"

Adam: "huh?"

Me: "It would mean that some Judge somewhere said I was your dad.  It would be good enough for the law, the school, and everything else.  They'd even go change your birth certificate to list me instead of Bio-Dad.  But I can never take away the part of you that came from him.  It would only be on paper.  You would still be part of Mommy and part of Bio-Dad.  I can never change that, and wouldn't even if I could because I love who you are too much to change you."

Adam: "Oh.  OK"

And that's where the conversation ended ... or so I thought.

fast forward about 2-3 weeks.

Forget the last half of this story for a sec.  I had.  Weeks had gone by.  I had thought it was yet another conversation dropped ...

We were at my mother-in-law's house for dinner.  She needed something from the store.  My pregnant wife gave me the look looked at me and I quickly volunteered to go.  I asked if anyone wanted to come with, and Adam did.  This was nothing unusual ... Adam was always wanting to come with ... so I didn't even think anything of it.

On the way home from the store:

Adam: "So, dad, I've been thinking about the conversation we had."

Me (tearing through my mental list of conversations with kids): "and ..."

Adam: "You said that there was a part of the daddy and a part of the mommy that made up a baby, right?"

Me (oh, that conversation): "That's right."

Adam: "So ... how does the part of the daddy that makes the baby get into the mommy's tummy?"

I swear, I just about wrecked my van.  I was NOT expecting to need to have the talk yet.  I had only been a dad for about 2 years, and most people don't have to have the talk with their TWO YEAR OLDS!  Worse yet, I was solo.  My wife was at my mother-in-law's house.  My parents were nowhere to be found.

shit ...

So, I pulled the van over as carefully as I could.  I decided, the same as WRH stated above, not be totally straightforward.  I told him EXACTLY how the part of the daddy got into the mommy.  I told him that it was FUN, and something that mommies and daddys actually WANTED to do.  I told him that no matter how he was tempted, no matter how much it sounded good, that he should probably wait until he was married and wanted to be a daddy himself.

He told me not to worry ... to his 8 year old brain, it sounded totally gross and disgusting, and he was never, never, NEVER EVER going to even think about doing that.

I decided I could survive that attitude.

        aka: goofdad


S. K. said...

so far, so good?
Don't answer me. I know so many of us wanted our children to be "open and honest" but , trust me, there's a conversation that leaves you pretty much speechless. Even when your daughter is grown up. Congratulations kinda covers it--I think.
I need my own blog

CarolAnn said...

My talk was while I was driving... then there is no need for that awkward eye contact. My ending line was similar to yours... someday it will sound like a good idea, but its ok to think its nasty for now.
Next hurtle is when they tell you they are sexually active. They tell you in ads that you want to have your kid tell you that. Ok, but they don't tell you how to answer that! Think on that a while!!!!