I have a 6.5 year-old daughter who is in many ways a female version of myself. The girl has black hair, dark eyes and freckles. High cheekbones give her a bit of a cherubic expression that she uses toÂ camouflageÂ her penchant forÂ trouble making. She is a miniature mistress of mischief. This girl of mine is always watching the world around her and sponging it all up. This girl of mine is convinced that she can do anything that others do. I love that confidence and do all I can to build upon it. If I have anything to say about this we won’t face the self esteem issues that so many girls battle.
While I can’t guarantee that we won’t hit them I can promise to do everything in my power to help her successfully navigate the rougher waters. It is part of the job description as is handling all sorts of questions about life and the world we live in. The nice thing about her being a younger sibling is that I have already had to answer a lot of the questions. We have talked about life and death, G-d, homeless people, racism and all sorts of other tough questions. I have made a point to do try and be age appropriate with my answers. She doesn’t need to know how to build a clock, just what time it is.
However nothing prepared me for one question in particular. Â It was one of those how do you make a baby type questions. It is a topic that some parents find to be challenging to discuss but not me. I figured that it was one of those things that was pretty easily handled. The kids don’t need to know all of the details, just a quick snapshot and they are good. Why mess around with something silly like a story about a stork when I can give them a basic answer that covers it all. At least that was my theory and until recently I would have stuck to it.
Except for one thing, the dark haired beauty asked me something that caught me completely off guard. She sat on my lap read me a story about Olivia (you know, the children’s book) and then looked up at me with those dark little eyes and said, “dad, how far do you stick it in?”
And then for good measure she told me that she was talking about making babies and needed to know how far the man sticks his penis in. In situations like this one of my go to lines is to turn the question back around and say, “what do you think?” Except I couldn’t do that in this case because if she had answered I might have shown up at school and beaten up all of the boys in kindergarten, first grade and perhaps the second grade for good measure. This was truly a WTF moment in the largest sense of the expression.
As the seconds stretched into months I looked at her with a blank expression and tried to figure out what I should say. If one of the boys had related this story to me I would have gleefully answered, “did you tell her all the way” or “until you hear him start snoring.” Frankly I would have preferred to have been in that position where my natural smartass nature could express itself. Instead I found myself semi-stumped and growing irritated with the stutter that had suddenly developed.
A moment later she grabbed my cheeks and told me to look in her eyes. “Daddy! I am talking to you.” That was when I realized that there wasn’t going to be a way to get out of this so I did what any other smart man would do and I punted. “Honey, that is an excellent question but I think that you mom knows more about that than I do. You should ask her.”
And with that I got up and ran for the bathroom door shouting out some sort of excuse about suddenly having developed an upset stomach.