So it's not like we have to walk uphill barefoot through snowdrifts to get home or anything but I was on the most treacherous portion of our route when the questions came, and I didn't see what was going to happen because I was busy looking through the glare of a rainy windshield and oncoming headlights on a curve for more deer. So E asked, where did L have a cut? And I said, "what?" And she asked, insistently, IN THE PICTURE!!?? Where did she have a cut in the picture? And I said, "oh, under her nose." And she asked, from when she was born? which isn't exactly the truth because that picture is from when L is about five days old, and it's not really a cut, it's baby acne, but the short answer I gave this morning because I was just trying to rush everybody downstairs so please for the love of god could I not be late to work for just one Monday of my life was simply: "oh, some babies have little cuts when they're born."
[Every time I use imprecise language with E it comes back to haunt me.]
So I'm trying to drive us home safely through the dark in the rain on a curve on a night when deer play chicken and E asks next: why do babies have cuts when they're born?
What I should have done was fix my earlier imprecision and explain why some babies get pimples. But my full attention was not on her questions, it was on the shiny asphalt (when I could see it) and my mind quickly flipped its Rolodex to the card with the entry why do babies have cuts when they're born and I answered her what it said on the index card: "oh, some babies get little cuts or bruises from when they come out of their mommies' bellies." And because E stands for Ever Questioning, she said, filling in as always the blanks in her mind, confirming the things even that she knows already, because babies grow in their mommies' bellies? And I said yes, and cited the belly of the mommy of a friend of hers, which is gestating a younger sibling right before E's eyes, and then
MAMA! HOW DO THE BABIES GET OUT OF THE MOMMIES!!??!!??!!
And the Rolodex shuffled to how to provide children with age-appropriate answers and I read the liner notes from every parenting magazine I've ever desperately read from boredom in office waiting rooms where the answer said "provide simple answers" so I said, simply: "oh, most mommies have the doctor get the baby out" and would have at that point squeezed my eyes shut to help with the fervent hoping that that answer would suffice but there was all that shiny and all that wet and all that curvy so I couldn't squeeze my eyes so the fervent wasn't nearly potent enough because immediately she said
HOOOOWWWW DO THEY GET OUT?
And I said, gingerly, because of course I had known what she really meant all along, "well, there are two ways to get the baby out of the mommy and you came out one way and L came out the other way." And E got excited because now it could be a story about her and she asked, squealing, which way did IIIIIIIIIIIII come out? And what choices did I have left at this point? So I said, carefully, "for you, the doctor took a sharp knife, and cut my belly open in half a little bit, just like when I cut food for you, and he made a hole in my belly and he pulled you out of the hole." And she said, with a knife? Like in a kitchen? and right away she said and how did L get out of you? so there was no reason at this point not to just say "L came out the other way babies can come out--she came out my vagina, sort of like when you pee" so I said it.
Oh, was all she said, like she hears crazy stuff like that every day, and then the CD flipped at that moment to a song she really likes and the road straightened out and we came to the light where we can turn onto a much wider and better-lit street and she asked next
Could you make the song start again so I can sing it and can you sing it with me?