As you’ve heard me say numerous times, my 9-year-old son, Levi, is one of the most giving, thoughtful, compassionate individuals I’ve ever known. He wants to help, to rescue, to take care of people. He is also fully versed in the academics of sexual reproduction. Now who’d have thunk those two characteristics could create such an incendiary combination.
Here’s the thing about sex; my husband Mark and I are very open about the reproductive process with our kids. We’ve always taken the approach that they will ask for as much information as they’re ready to handle. When they were younger, the simple explanation that mommies and daddies decide to have babies and then the baby grows inside the mommy’s tummy, easily sufficed. As time went on, however, more in depth answers were required. (Ironically, as things got more detailed and specific, the questions always seemed to come when my husband was working, at a meeting or out of town for a few days.) But I carried the torch and explained the mechanics of sexual reproduction using the correct anatomical names of all body parts. I never stammered or stuttered so as to suggest any amount of nervousness or discomfort. I simply told my son how babies were made in as much detail as his curious mind was ready to digest.
Flash forward to a few nights ago. Mark and I got home from our weekly date night and found our regular babysitter a bit undone. Reluctant to share the reason for her discomfort, we assumed that the boys had behaved poorly or that she’d gotten a bad grade on a final or something along those lines. But as she started to leave, she turned back and said, “I think I need to tell you something.”
We were concerned. We sat down expecting the worst. A few words of background here; this young woman has worked with us for nearly two years. We love her as if she’s a part of our family. The boys treat her with love, admiration and respect. She is a smart, thoughtful, religious young woman who wants to be a mother in the worst way. But she’s careful and responsible and is waiting to find someone to share her life with. So in the meantime, she mothers my kids and everyone wins.
She doesn’t hide her maternal longings, and her desire to have a baby had come up in conversation that evening while we were out. Eager to please, and now fully cognizant of the process, Levi leapt at the opportunity saying, “I can make a baby with you!” When she politely declined, he pressed on and said that it was really no big deal. His mom had told him how to do it, and he’d be more than happy to give her the baby she longed for.
It’s moments like these that make me really thankful for people who possess a sense of humor. Our sitter smiled as she watched our horrified expressions. Then she giggled a little. My husband and I both sighed in relief and started giggling too. We all knew that Levi’s offer had been completely innocent. But we’d both still shared a moment of panicked hysteria imagining our 9 year old offering his “services” for hire.
There are innumerous blessings in having smart, curious kids who want desperately to make others happy. But every once in a while, those kids get a little too knowledgeable and a little too helpful. As Confucius once said, “he who possesses the answers is sometimes better off holding them back.” Okay, I said that. But I think that’s the next lesson we’ll work on at home.