This Is Not About Thanksgiving.


I know its Thanksgiving, but I’m not going to write a piece about the holiday this year. If you’re interested in my thoughts on it, feel free to pull up my post from last year at this time; the list of things for which I’m thankful hasn’t changed all that much since then. Instead, I’d prefer to talk about my daughter, who has suddenly decided to start thinking about things. And by things, I mean THINGS.


It all started when she asked, last week, how it is that two people were the first people, because they needed a mommy and daddy to be born, and if they didn’t have a mommy and daddy, then how were they born? I won’t lie; I was impressed by the question. Clearly, she’d been thinking, and I wanted to provide her with a thinking girl’s answer. So rather than tell her the story of Adam and Eve, I broke out the ‘ol evolutionary chart - you know the one, a line that starts with a hunched over monkey and ends with a homo sapien – and started explaining terms like “evolve” and “adapt.” I think I blew her mind. Literally. Like, her little brain was trying so hard to wrap itself around the idea that monkeys turned into men, that her head had smoke coming out of it. And of course, she just didn’t get it.


Somehow, all of that talk about things that happened millions of years ago coalesced with what she’s learning at school about what happened with the Pilgrims hundreds of years ago, and when I asked her to try to explain in her own words what she learned, it came back to me as something like this: Monkeys turned into Indians, and then the Pilgrims came on a boat to Los Angeles, and they all had a feast together that they called Thanksgiving, and that became a holiday for Jewish people. Uh-huh.
So anyway, you’d think that after such a botched job I’d have learned my lesson, but no. A few days ago, Harper asked how babies are made. Now, she’s asked this before, and on the advice of some very smart people, I’ve always gone with the “give only enough information to answer the question” approach. So, once again, I explained that when an egg and a sperm meet, a baby is made. Simple, easy, and it’s always satisfied her in the past. But this time, not so much. This time, my little thinker wanted to know where the sperm and the egg came from. So, I explained about ovaries and the little slides called fallopian tubes that the eggs go down, and how they land at the bottom of a mommy’s vagina. ‘Nuf said.
Except that then she came to the logical conclusion that if a daddy is standing next to the mommy when this happens, then a baby is made. Now, I suppose I could have let her go on thinking that. In retrospect, I probably would have been better off. But at the time, it just felt too, I don’t know, 1950’s Catholic school or something. And so I corrected her. Matter of fact, correct terminology, the whole,



That is a hilarious post! How awkward and difficult it is to discuss these things with our young kids (or even older ones, for that matter). And I really want NOT to make the mistakes of my parents who simply didn't talk about those "dirty," unspeakable things (it has given me a complex as a grown up, I think). Thanks, Risa, for your best post yet. And, yes, it is somthing of which to give "thanks" when you get to delegate tough subjects like the birds and the bees to the other parent!


I cannot stop laughing. Seriously. My co-workers are looking at me in a very strange way. I have a 5-year-old who is starting to make discoveries, and I, too, struggle with how much to tell her and how specific to get. She often does ask "why" questions that I just can't answer without discussing things she won't understand. I can imagine that this exactly how a birds and bees conversation will go with my daughter.