oh, goodness, little man . . .
so, i pray for a minute. and i think for a minute.
and i say, " there are things that married people do - i'll tell you about them when you're older - that make a baby start to grow in a mom's tummy."
"ok," he says, and goes back to coloring.
i continue, "sometimes people who aren't married do those things, and then it's hard for them. babies sometimes grow when people aren't ready for them. then they have to decide what to do."
"oh," says maddie. then, "that's why your cousin had her little boy at her wedding. and that's why i have a half-sister who lives with another mom and dad. dad wasn't ready to be a dad yet, and he didn't have you yet."
"yep. that's why. it's so much better to do those things when you are married. then they are really great," i tell her.
"did the mom who grew O in her tummy help find the people to adopt O?" maddie asks me.
"nope. dad did that all by himself."
"why didn't she help?"
"because," i say, "she was only 16, or maybe 17, and her mom and dad wouldn't have let her grow the baby in her tummy if they knew about it. so she didn't tell anybody she was pregnant until they could all see that she was."
"how would they make her not grow the baby, mom?"
oh, wow. now i've really opened this can of worms. "sometimes, when people think they don't want a baby, they go to a certain doctor who kills the baby out of their tummy."
now isaac is really listening again. "would the doctor who got me out of your tummy ever kill a baby out of a mom's tummy?"
"no, buddy. he wouldn't. only certain doctors will."
"but," maddie says, "why would a doctor kill a baby?"
"it's called an abortion," i say. and i'm all choked up. "ladies can decide that they don't want to grow a baby, and if it's still little enough, they can go to the doctors who will take it out of them. and the baby dies. they mom who grew O in her tummy, her mom and dad would have made her have an abortion if O would have been little enough when they found out. so she hid O. she protected her till she was big enough. when a baby has been growing in a mom long enough, the mom can't have an abortion. so, while O was growing, dad found out about how to have someone adopt her. he found out about open adoption, and he chose the mom and dad who would adopt O. and when she was born, he gave her to them."
"so, she's part of dad. is that why you say i look like her sometimes?" maddie asks.
"yes. and she looks a lot like dad did when he was her age," i say.
"how come we don't get to see her so much, mom? she is our sister."
"i think as you get older, you will get to see her more," i say. "some things take time and patience. dad and i have needed time to know how much and when to tell you. it's not easy to talk about things that didn't go right. but when there are people we love and care about, we need to figure out how to talk and love and care. we are doing our best. when you were littler, before we felt like you could understand, we didn't want other people to tell you that O is your half-sister, not until we had told you that. so, we need to be sensitive of your cousins and not tell them that she is your half-sister - we need to let their mom's and dad's do that in their own time. you know she is, and there will be a time when you can tell anyone you wish about your lovely, older sister."
they go back to their learning work, and i go back to my letter writing, all three of us around the table, and i am thanking God that He gave me words, and that He is giving my kiddos understanding, and that isaac didn't ask me to tell him today how exactly it is that dads help babies get into moms' tummies. it's coming. i know it is. and when i need to tell him and maddie, i will.
so far, i've explained the uterus and placenta and amniotic sac, after we saw a picture of an unborn baby on a flyer for our area preganancy help and resources center.
it's been easy for me to explain how they both got out of my tummy, because i had c-sections with both of them. sometime, i'll have to explain that there is another way for babies to be born.
they know that part of a baby comes from a dad's body and part from the mom's.
we watched a documentary about chickens and how they make eggs (there were no roosters or fertilization in that movie), but a while later maddie asked me,
"so, mom, are all the eggs i'm going to have in my body right now?"
"yep, maddie, they are. every single little tiny one of them."
"well, how big are they?"
"many, many of them could fit on the end of a pin."
"oh, wow. that's little!"
about a year ago, i had gotten a book from the library that maddie and i went through together so i'd have a guide for explaining puberty - hair growth and body change and periods - to her. i was all nervous (i don't think visibly, but i was sure feeling it), but she just calmly took it all in. no big deal. that's how my body works. great. "oh. those are your tampons and pads in the bathroom, mom. now i know what they're for."
so, i continue to muddle through. i think it's going pretty well, actually. i love that they both ask me questions. i love that i haven't had to explain anything that i feel would be too much information for their mental and emotional ages. but i also know that i am for certain always going to talk and answer. i don't want them to ever feel like i would think they were strange or that i wouldn't answer their questions. i want to be where they get their answers and information. either from me or from ben or from the two of us together. or, if they get information elsewhere, i want them to come sound it off us. i'm praying for this kind of relationship with my two to last, well, forever.