Jonah and I were at a New Haven playground Sunday afternoon when an older couple arrived with a very small girl. It was getting late and we were needing to head home; I remember thinking it was sort of an odd time to get there. Soon Jonah noticed a couple in their thirties walking around the perimeter of the playgound. The woman, who was very pregnant, was pushing a stroller. Jonah started following them in that little-kid way: running ahead and turning around to stare, then running ahead again.
After several minutes of this, I decided to offer something of an explanation to the couple: “Sorry—there are a few moms in our play group who are pregnant. He’s a bit fascinated with your belly.”
“That’s what we guessed,” the woman said.
It turned out she was in the beginning stages of labor; hence the trip to the park for a walk. The little girl was their daughter, the older couple probably grandparents. The woman’s sister was there, too, with her four-year-old son. (I love the support from the extended family.)
I caught up to Jonah. “The baby is going to come very soon,” I said.
His eyes widened with excitement. He ran ahead again.
“I like your tattoo,” said the woman.
“Thank you,” Jonah said, holding out his arm so she could get a better look at the triceratops.
“Sweetie, let’s let them walk a little by themselves, okay?” I said quietly.
He got up close and whispered in my ear. “I want to see the baby come out.”
Yesterday we were aided in the discussion by photos some friends in California sent of their newborn son. I opened the photo of the three of them on our computer.
“Who’s that?” Jonah asked.
After explaining who they were I told him the photo was taken in the hospital, because that’s where the baby came out. “Just like I was telling you about the people in the park. Remember? People usually have their babies in the hospital.”
He wanted to see more photos, so I checked on Facebook, just in case they’d posted any there. They hadn’t. But when he saw a photo of our friends, he said, “Was the baby in her belly?”
“I don’t think so. Babies are only in their mommies’ bellies for about ten months.”
“Where are they before that?”
“They’re not anywhere. The mama and papa make the baby together.”
“They make the baby? They build it together?”
“Kind of like that, yes.”
“In the mommy’s belly?”
“How do they do that?”
This is where I felt completely out of my element, called out for my husband in desperation, and was utterly relieved when Jonah was distracted by a toy and seemed to forget about the entire thing.
For the moment. I know it will come up again. And I’d better be prepared.