As with any joint decision, the debate over whether or not to get a puppy revolved around perceived pluses and minuses. My wife’s list of positive rewards ultimately defeated my list of negatives, but there has been one familial impact that neither of us had anticipated.
The five year old is now completely adamant that at no point in the future will she be having any children. She is so sure that she has no interest in cleaning up another living thing’s bodily functions, being responsible for it’s feeding, or vainly trying to get it to listen to her, that there were actual tears as she made this announcement. Clutching tightly to her new Baby Alive, ( turned off since a few days after Christmas ) she begged for reassurance that I wouldn’t be mad at her if I didn’t get to be a grampy.
It was all very amusing and sweet until she asked me what she had to do in order to keep a baby out of her belly. I immediately answered that staying away from boys as she got older was the best way, then just as quickly regretting that response as I realized the follow up questions that I had just set myself up for.
It’s not the first time that we’ve had deep discussions about the birds and the bees, but I wasn’t sure that my previous story about “baby making magic” and the evil doctor who later stole them from me was still going to be satisfactory a year later.
That’s not to say that my new explanation was any less brilliant. Using a gardening metaphor that I knew she would understand, I calmly explained to her that when a man loves a woman he gives her a “baby seed” to swallow and she then drinks a lot of water over the next nine months to help it grow. That only men know how to find the proper seeds and that only women have the capability of turning their bellies into “baby gardens”, thus necessitating there to be one of each gender involved in the initial planting.
She seemed a bit skeptical, but was unable to find any flaws in my formula. More importantly, she seemed to grasp the importance of keeping this process a secret from other children. That I was trusting her to under no circumstances go to school and discuss mommy’s swallowing of daddy’s baby seed.
It’s possible that I should have at least tried to use the “magic” explanation one more time…