When Liam popped out of his bedroom to go pee one last time before meditation and lights out, he couldn't help but hop onto my bed where I was reading to slyly ask, "Do you know where babies come from, Mama?" As shocking as this could have been coming from a five year old in Spider-Man tighty whiteys, I wasn't surprised.
Our house is pretty darn cozy - it's hard not to hear what's going on in the next room. So even though Bill and Liam were cuddled together on his bed with the door closed, I could still hear a few bits and pieces of their bedtime routine from my spot in the living room. First Bill read a few chapters from Matilda, then they sang their duet version of Stand By Me (or, Stand By LPP as Liam likes to say - LPP is his stuffed panda), and then there was some random yelling followed by a quiet conversation.
The yelling was part of their version of the "first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage" song (sort of like an Interpol-style call and response thing...we might have to make a video). The conversation that followed was about how that baby got in there.
Bill started with the obvious. "A carriage is like a stroller. So, someone just puts the baby in there."
"You mean like a dodo?"
"A dodo. That's what Alexa called her stroller when she was little."
"Oh. Okay, sure. A dodo. Whatever. So yeah, someone just picks the baby up and puts it in the carriage. Or the dodo. Stroller. Whatever."
But that's not really what Liam wanted to know.
Bill reminded him about the "sperm and egg" conversation we had with him when I was pregnant but that didn't cut it either.
"That's not what I'm asking," he said, starting to get impatient. "I don't know how to say what I mean..."
I'm imagining Bill took a deep breath. "Do you mean how does the sperm get to the egg?"
"Yeah! That's what I want to know. How does that happen?"
I heard Bill clarify many times that Liam really wanted to know what he was about to tell him. I think it was one part buying time, one part being really sure that he was answering the right question. That's what the Internet told us to do. Don't tell kids more than they're ready to hear. I mean, imagine if Liam was really just curious what the word "carriage" meant but Bill launched into the sex talk? Talk about TMI! So he clarified and he clarified and he clarified again. Then, before he could launch into all the juicy details, I hightailed it to my bedroom and shut the door. This was one father/son moment that deserved a little privacy.
So when Liam jumped up on my bed a little while later to quiz me about the birds and the bees, I was ready. Or, at least, as ready as I could be.
"Mmmhmm," I told Liam. "I do know know how babies are made. Do you?"
"Yep," he said smiling. "It's pretty gross..." (For you Curb fans out there, he sounded just like Larry David when he said this.)
So I let him fill me in, adding only that this is something parents tell their kids, not something kids tell each other. But he told me he already knew that. Of course he did. He knows a lot for a five year old.
I had all but forgotten about The Talk the next morning when I challenged him to a bed-making race. He was dawdling in the living room so I started egging him on, yelling from my room, "I'm going to beat you! Even though my bed is bigger and messier than yours, I'm working so hard I think I might win!" He hates to lose so I wasn't the least bit surprised when I heard him running down the hall. But he wasn't running to his room, he was running to mine. "Mama," he said in the most sincere sounding voice. "It doesn't matter how fast you make your bed. You're already a winner."
"Thanks, bud!" Wow. Maybe all the "it's the journey, not the destination" pep talks I give him were finally starting to pay off?
But then he continued. "You'll always be a winner no matter what happens because yours was the very fastest sperm. There were like a million of them racing to the egg and the one that made YOU was the very fastest. Your sperm won, Mama! You're already a winner!"
I love my husband. Not only did he handle the awkwardest of awkward conversations, he somehow managed to do it in a way that totally boosted Liam's confidence and self-esteem. The sperm that made him must have been extra special.