Monday, February 12, 2007

the facts of life (more or less)

A few weeks ago, Evangeline asked again for a baby brother.
I guess I can understand that request. She used to have a little brother, one of the foster sort, and she's missed him with an ache twenty thousand leagues deep since the state returned him to his birth parents. She got her little sister only weeks after he left, and she knows that we've talked about having more children at some point.
In the past when this has come up, I've got a laugh out of her by asking her if she knows where Isaac is, then pointing out that if she already had one little brother and couldn't keep track of him, then it's not very reasonable to expect us to give her another one. This time she wouldn't be put off so easily. She wants a little brother.
What was I to do? She has to understand that little brothers don't grow on trees, that we can't just give have a baby at the drop of a hat, that there is a multitude of considerations in having a third child when finances are already tight.
So I told her, very delicately, where babies come from. I explained that people bud, like yeast; that is, a mature adult will start growing a baby on her shoulder or leg, and that eventually it will reach the size that it breaks off and begins life independently. When a woman does this, the baby is a girl; when a man does this, the baby is a boy. And, as I explained, daddy is incapable of budding.
She gave me the same sort of look that we used to always give our father when he would tell us a whopper. It's the sort of look that says, "That doesn't match anything you've told me before about this subject, but you're saying it with such a straight face that I really don't know how seriously to take you."
A few things have happened as a result of this discussion. First is that Evangeline has not pressed us for a while for a baby brother. Second is that she has come fully to appreciate the wisdom behind the expression, "Don't believe anything your father says when his lips are moving." And third, I'm going to have a lot of explaining to do in another few years.

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