My son Hayden is four and a half. After worriedly asking what will happen when all the kids in the world grow up and me consequently explaining the circle of life, he made the connection that his little sister Bailey would one day have a baby in her tummy. This excited him to no end and he talked about it often, even spent some time thinking about names for this future bundle of joy. He’s a pretty quick study, but the whole concept is quite a jungle to navigate.
He mentioned the other day that we will have two babies someday, “our little buddy” (the affectionate nickname he conjured up for his nine month old brother Kaelum) and Bailey’s baby. I didn’t bother explaining that it would be a long time in the future and that Kaelum would be an adult by then, but I did inform him that he could have a baby of his own some day. Before his look of confusion morphed into a question, I explained that he might someday have a wife who would have a baby.
Of course, this started a whole new line of questioning and I briefly wondered why I bothered to open this particular can of worms over breakfast, when I remembered that if I didn’t keep him engaged in a somewhat adult conversation, I would have to concentrate very hard on listening to him explain in the spasmadic and stumbling dialect of an over-excited four year old how Iron Man flies like this and lands like that and hurts the bad guys and rescues the good guys and fights evil and fires his chest shooter and operates his shoulder gun and removes his armour and dons his armour by stepping on a suitcase and generally saves the day. Yes, this grown up conversation was starting to look more and more appealing.
“Well who’s gonna be my wife, Mommy?”
“I don’t know, Sweetie. You probably won’t know until you’re older. It will be someone you love.”
“I wanna marry Nan!”
“Well you can’t marry Nan.”
“Because she’s married to Pop. And she’s your family. You can’t marry your family members.”
“…well…because your baby could get sick if you marry someone in your family.” I really should read Kid Conversations for Dummies. Keep it Simple, Stupid. Let’s leave that one alone. “You probably haven’t even met her yet.”
“Why haven’t I met her?”
“Because usually you don’t meet your wife until you’re older.”
“But how will I know who I want to marry?”
“Well, you will know because you will love her.” We’re going in circles here. “You can marry whomever you want.”
“Then I want to marry Bailey!”
“Well, you can’t marry your sister, remember? You can’t marry your family.”
“But you just said I could marry whoever I wanted and I want to marry Bailey!”
Time to put this to rest before it starts to drone on like an Iron Man soliloquy (I try not to tune him out, really I try). “OK, that sounds nice. You can marry Bailey if you’d like.”
That was the last I heard about it until today when he came home from school and announced rather excitedly that he was going to marry his classmate Holly.
“Oh! That sounds nice.” I was unaware that our conversation was still occupying his thoughts a few days later. “Did you ask her?”
“No, she asked me! Wasn’t that nice of her?”
“Yes, I guess it was.” My kid seems to like a take-the-bull-by-the-horns kinda gal. Let’s hope he won’t grow up to be a henpecked yes-man. Maybe he just sees the value of conforming to the changing views of the 21st century, where traditional proposals are thing of the past.
“But if a boy wants to marry me, I can’t, right? ‘Cause it’s supposed to be one boy and one girl.” It looks like we still have some work to do to get him to completely embrace 21st century ideas.
“Well, sometimes boys marry boys and girls marry girls. But you are right, usually it is one boy and one girl.” We’ll save that conversation for another day.