Ah, isn’t that the hardest question? I don’t mean for me. At least I know that there are usually two people involved, preferably a man and woman with a steady income and a place to live. Then a surge of hormones making them behave much like animals, genitals meet, body fluids are exchanged and for the next nine months, the woman’s body is an anatomical and physiological mess that hopefully comes to a climax when a live healthy baby pops out of her vagina. But try explaining that to a five-year-old. At the height of curiosity and an all time low of social propriety, the toddler asks the one thing their mind is least developed to grasp, from whence their baby sister or brother came.
We were told a number of things growing up. A friend of mine’s mom told him that a very bright light shines in mommy’s stomach and voilà, a baby appears. My mom told me they’d bought my sister from a shop and that she actually came in a box (face slap). And my all time favourite: that mommy and daddy hug so tight until a baby starts growing in mommy’s stomach; like that’s all they did.
Sex has always been a hard topic for my dad and I. I know he has had tonnes of it. Legend has it that when he was my age he got lucky many more times than I hope to ever get. And now that sex occupies a considerable part of my fantasy, he won’t share his secrets with me. C’mon Dad! I mean we talk about the more elegant aspects of sex like marriage. Namely whom to marry, what qualities to look out for like is she homely, does she have a head on her neck, but never about sexual compatibility.
When your toddler asks you the question, where do babies come from, you probably have one of three choices. One, to lie. This is what my mom did. By no stretch of the facts do we end up buying children from a shop. I know that now. (I actually didn’t believe her the first time. I always knew that the truth was probably too embarrassing for her to admit which is why she hesitated before telling me that)
Two, only tell half the story. Like mommy and daddy hug very hard until a baby starts growing in mommy’s stomach. Leave out the greasy details and spare your child the trauma of knowing the basic nature of human reproductive biology.
Third, go the whole mile. Lay down the facts like they are. Tell them like I said it in the opening of this article. You could never tell a lie, could you? After all, it’s wrong to lie and lying to your own flesh and blood has got to be the worst. Have only a little concern for how it affects their little minds like how they will sleep at night knowing that mommy and daddy are probably making a baby. Don’t worry they can handle it.
Of all three courses of action, which one do you reckon is the worst? The third? I think it is the third. The truth should not always be told, ask a guy that told his girlfriend that her friend is hotter than her. Or that she’s fat, and talks a lot and is nagging. All these may be true but it was probably best for you, your girlfriend and your relationship as a whole not to confess every time you cheated on her. (Just kidding, I’d never cheat on my gal) But seriously, little minds shouldn’t be introduced to matters of an adult nature like sex when they don’t have the capability to properly discern between what is good and proper and beneficial.
But before we move on from this, let me weigh in on the second worst way to go about this question. In fact, it’s not listed among the three I have offered because it happens after your child has been told from elsewhere where babies really come from. What do you do, say your child’s friends’ parents told them the whole truth and you are lucky enough to have your child share with you this new found knowledge. Do you:
A. Call your child’s friends’ parents lairs and offer an alternative truth
B. Throw in the towel and admit to them that that is in fact how it all goes down but caution them not to make babies before they can handle the responsibility. Or,
C. throw in the towel and admit to them that that is in fact how it all goes down but vilify the whole baby making business lest they indulge too soon.
C is in fact the worst way you can handle this situation especially if you don’t know when to stop. Time will come when your children have no doubts about the pleasures of sex and sex related activities and you will still have your head buried in the sand pretending like nothing is happening. And you better hope your child is getting the proper guidance because guidance they will get. Of course if your children developed a different world view than yours then I appreciate the difficulties this presents but all the same, I believe that everyone stands to lose when something so natural and so beautiful in painted black and red on the pages of porn websites or left to the devil while we take cover in church buildings.
Featured image: Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi, MP for Kyadondo East with his family