It's a perfectly normal question. Every nearly 5-year-old boy asks it.
I just wish I had a normal answer.
As Dennis keeps dancing closer and closer to the question of where babies come from, my brain rushes furiously for an honest and age-appropriate response.
So far, the line of inquiry hasn't gone much past:
"Was I borned?" (Yes)
"Was Lila borned?" (Yes, but she did NOT take three days of labor and two bags of Pitocin to come out, my love)
"Can we get ice cream?" (Sure)
But my days are numbered. More questions are coming.
And I can't see casually telling a 4-year-old the truth:
"When Mama and Daddy (or someone's mommy and mommy, or daddy and daddy, or whomever) really love each other they try to have a baby."
"But when they can't, they cry and fight a lot, then one of them makes the other one go a special doctor, who helps them out."
"Then, Mama took some medicines that made her ovaries feel like lead weights. And Daddy asked why she was soooooo cranky the whole time."
"But then Mama got you and was so happy about it, she promised never to ask the Universe for anything ever again. Except for Lila."
"So the upshot is that without this freak stroke of luck -- living in the early 21st century under generous Massachusetts health insurance laws that mandate full coverage for fertility therapy -- you almost certainly never would never have existed."
Ok, maybe that's a little much for a 4-year-old. But when are they old enough to know everything? Readers, any suggestions?
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about the author
Erica Noonan is chief of the Globe West bureau. Before joining the Globe in 2000, she worked for the Associated Press in Boston. Raised in Wellesley, she has a master's degree in political communication from Emerson College and a BA in political science from Trinity University in San Antonio. She lives in Natick with two energetic children: Dennis, 6, and Lila, 4.
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