The other day I overheard my daughter telling my dad about the day she was born.
In her little voice, riddled with adorable lisps and immature ‘r’ sounds, Ashley went on to say, “I was all cozy in my mom’s tummy and one day I peaked out of her belly button and thought, what a lovely world there it is out there. I wanted to see it bigger so I decided to come out.”
I was in another room when I heard the conversation begin. I moved closer, apparently in eyeshot as the story reached its climax.
“And then I was born,” Ashley told my captivated father who had rested his mechanical pencil beside his afternoon crossword puzzle to listen. She then looked straight in my direction, grinned and asked, “Mommy, how did I come out?”
Not missing a beat, and with as much panache as a seasoned mime, I swiftly moved my hands in front of my face (“jazz hands” as I refer to them) and enchantingly said “Magic!”
I used a Disney-like tone, and Ashley giggled but seemingly accepted that as my answer.
Magic is a great word. It can apply to anything.
“How does the Tooth Fairy know when I’ve lost a tooth?” Magic. Jazz hands.
“How will Santa Claus ever get a toy to every child in the world in one night?” Magic. Jazz hands.
“Mommy, How do you make a baby?” Magic. Jazz hands.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe it is my responsibility to take the time to answer the tough questions with a well-thought approach and easy-to-comprehend rhetoric. I relish the opportunities I have to provide my children with the basics so that they can then learn and grow and cultivate ideas of their own.
But I also feel as though age and concepts need to be appropriately balanced. To tell my little 4-year-old daughter how a baby really comes out might not be as age appropriate as a discussion as how to plant and nurture green beans in our garden.
Throughout my career as a mom, I am certain I will be faced with tough questions. And as the kids mature, they will be capable of understanding my answers, even if the concept is difficult.
The kids deserve the truth, and they’ll get it in due time. Believe me, when it is age appropriate, I will tell Ashley all about reproduction and childbirth. But I feel there are a few years yet for that discussion. So until then, some of the answers they’ll get will include the word, “magic.”
Admittedly, I am pleased that our upcoming Disneyland vacation with all its pixie dust, fairy godmothers and space encounters. They will buy me a few more satisfactory “magic” answers in our home.