Sometime in the next few weeks I fully expect James will be popping THE QUESTION, the one that parents sweat over and wonder if they’re answering just right.
I know this because I had the following exchange with him just last week when he walked up to me one morning sporting his best puppy dog eyes, the I'm-gonna-ask-for-something look on his face and sweetly opens with "Mommy."
"Can I have a baby brother?"
"Nope, sorry buddy, that's not happening."
The director at our daycare is expecting, and she is the mother of one of James’ buddies. There have been a couple of comments about her growing a baby in her belly and each time he makes one I wait for the next logical thought to be “Mommy, how did the baby get there?”
The trick: finding the balance between accurate and age appropriate information. I don’t want to scar him for life, but I also don’t want him walking around thinking that the stork delivers babies.
James is also they type of child who doesn’t ever just accept the first answer or reason. He might mull on it a bit, but you can be certain that there will be a follow up question coming.
Those follow up questions are where the danger zone will fall. Questions from 5-year-olds are vague at best. But how? But why? Then what?
I’ve been practicing on getting him to be more specific by asking him more questions. It’s our own version of 20 questions at time. When he asks a question, I often answer with one.
I’m trying to find my way to simple, clear explanations which don’t go into the details – just to keep things age-appropriate.
But I have to admit that I have a secret hope – that James will ask his Daddy instead of me.