It was my night for bed-time duty. Miles picked one book, and I picked “How I Was Adopted” by Joanna Cole.
The book takes the “you-grew-in-your-mommy’s-tummy” explanation to the next level. It shows adoptive parents explaining pregnancy and birth to their daughter, using cut-away anatomical illustrations.
I have to admit, it felt a little bizarre to talk about uteruses with my three year old. We’ve talked about anatomical differences, but this felt like we were brushing right up against the birds and the bees.
I pushed away my discomfort, probably rooted in Catholic shame. I believe in talking early and accurately about bodies and their functions. Time again to make it more than a belief.
Especially if it helps Miles better understand how he came into the world and came to be our kid.
As we read, I occasionally stopped to connect the story to his life.
“See how that little girl grew inside her mommy’s uterus? That’s just like how you grew inside your Mama M____’s tummy.”
Miles looked up at me and said in a giggly voice, “Nooo, Papa! I came from your tummy!”
This was a new one. His life book, which we read regularly, talks about how he grew inside his Mama M_____ until she gave birth to him.
“No, Miles,” I said gently, trying to pick my way through the simplest explanation. “Only women can have babies. I’m a man so I can’t have a baby inside of me. Your Mama M_____ gave birth to you, and then Daddy and I adopted you.”
“No, Papa. You’re not a man! You’re a Papa!” he grinned, both dimples digging deep.