Babies come from magic beans

July 10, 2012

in Adventures in Parenting, Humor, Parenting

Kids say all sorts of fun stuff – and ask all sorts of questions – that leaves you feeling awesome about yourself… or wondering how exactly you can fib your way through the answer.

A Proactive commercial came on Sunday and Molley, my 3-year-old, turned to me and asked, “Do you want some of that? You’ve got dots on you. It will just erase them off! The lady said so.”

“Um, if you’re referring to my apparent adult acne, thank you for that. Maybe I’ll order some,” I replied.

“Good!” she said. “Maybe you can use it for the brown dots on your arms, too.”

It’s a great day when your 3-year-old notes your flaws and suggests you take Lindsay Lohan’s skincare advice.

Of course, this is the same child that just the day before, revisited the “where do babies come from?” discussion yet again.

The first time it came up, she asked my mom, who was in town visiting. My mom copped out and said, “Oh, you can adopt babies!” and when pressed further about how it all happens, answered, “You fill out a lot of paperwork.”

And then told me I’d better figure out how to handle that one.

I should have listened, because the next month, she asked me where babies come from. I told her, “From moms’ tummies,” because, hello, that’s exactly where they come from. And she knows that babies grow in tummies and that she grew in another mom’s tummy, so I felt like we were covered there.

Of course, my child isn’t happy with average answers. “But how do they get there?” she pressed.

I did that thing I used to totally judge parents for and mumbled something about how God puts them there, then I offered her a chocolate bar, just about the only surefire distraction technique I knew was a guarantee.

I clearly win at parenting.

You’d think I’d have taken a bit of time to figure out how we were going to handle this one. But I still refused to┬ábelieve┬áthat a 3-year-old would really push to know how babies are made.

On Saturday, on the way to Costco, she engaged in the cutest conversation with Mattix, who at nearly 5.5, couldn’t care less where babies come from.

“Brother,” she said, “when we grow up and get married and have babies, do you want to adopt them or have them grow in my tummy?”

“I don’t know yet, Molley,” he responded. “I’ll decide later.”

“I think I want both. I want to adopt some and I want some to grow in my tummy,” Molley said.

“Huh, okay,” he replied.

Sadly, I was too wrapped up in the cuteness/oh-the-horror-of-the-story-when-I-tell-them-as-teenagers moment to consider where it was leading. Ed and I were giving each other those “wow, this is so cute” looks in the front seats when she slapped me right back to the present.

“Mommy, where do babies come from?” she asked.

“They grow in mommies’ tummies,” I stammered, fearing for myself.

“I KNOW that,” Moll replied. “You told me that. But HOW DO THEY GET THERE?”

“Oh, well, God puts them there,” I replied, mustering up as much I-know-what-I’m-talking-about authority as I possibly could.

“I KNOW THAT, too,” she said, annoyed. “You’ve already told me that. BUT HOW DOES HE PUT THEM THERE?”

I looked over at Ed. He was a bit pale. He was clearly going to be of no help.

“Well, He knows when a mom is ready for…”

“That doesn’t make sense,” she continued. “Does he put wings on the babies? Otherwise, they’d fall and get hurt. God is in Heaven in the sky. So the babies would fall when he put them in the tummies. How would He get down to do it? DO THE BABIES FLY INTO THE TUMMIES? Do they have wings?”

Why don’t they serve booze at the Costco snack bar? I thought.

“Um, babies come from magic beans?” I muttered under my breath to Ed.

“Well, they don’t actually start as babies. They’re really tiny – so tiny you can’t see them – and then they grow…” I stammered.

At that moment, we’d finally reached the front of the line for Costco gas. There was some confusion about the cars pulling out and some talking and thankyousomuch, she actually got distracted.

But it will come up again. And when it does, I need an answer. Because I don’t think “magic beans” will suffice.

So, anyone care to help? I’m going to hit up everyone’s favorite psychologist, Dr. Google, but I’d love to know what you think. I’m most certainly not going to give me 3-year-old a full and legit birds and bees talk because she will so be that kid that imparts her knowledge upon every. single. child. at. preschool., but where does that leave me?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Mindy July 10, 2012 at 5:56 am

1. I’ve been a Pro-Active user for years and it really works for me and my middle age acne. Last year I tried switching to some Mary Kay products hoping for something a little more gentle and anti-aging but it was a mess and I switched back within a month.

2. I haven’t read, but have seen books by Robie Harris recommended.
Maybe followed up by a privacy, “we only talk about these things at home,” talk.

Good luck.


Heather D July 10, 2012 at 6:35 am

Laura, Laura, Laura! I can’t believe you are wussin out on this one!! Get yourself this book stat ( ), read it every summer before school starts (it grows with the kids) so you can deal with questions during the summer and they are less likely to repeat stuff at school. You will L.O.V.E. this book, I promise! It is a moral based book that focuses on behaviors and character builders. I bought it at a Christian book store, but it does not focus on the God aspect and is more clinical in language kids can understand for every age. (My best friend suffered from infertility and Lauren knew this, so God putting babies in the tummy wasn’t going to fly when she knew that didn’t happen for all moms.) Lauren turns 10 and gets the puberty talk from the doctor this year. I hope I have prepared her well for it. The focus will be more on body changes than sex, but I know I have laid down a good foundation because she seems to be telling me lots of things. And in 4th grade, she already has girls in her class saying they are pregnant or had a baby! Ay yi yi!


Katie Hurley July 10, 2012 at 8:56 am

Its amazing how some kids really want the details while others are happy with a generic response. The problem with the god answer is that they have very active imaginations…thus the 75 questions about how they get from the sky to the belly! You have to start where you’re comfortable. Focusing on the importance of a solid and loving relationship, and two parents choosing to have a baby together is a good starting point. It’s always ok to say something like, “when you get a bit older, I can explain it in a different way, but for right now what I can tell you is…” and then give a very G rated account. Talk in words that she can understand and just hit the repeat button. The trick with three year olds is writing the script and then repeating it every time!


morninglightmama July 10, 2012 at 8:58 am

I’d highly recommend this book, too!! I’ve always been very open with my kids about this type of stuff. I feel very comfortable just talking about the biology of it all, and you have to think about what children are really asking, because sometimes we read into it more than necessary. My six year old daughter can talk about the “stuff from the Daddy” that need to meet up with “the little egg in the Mommy,” and how they grow together to make a tiny baby that keeps growing in the mom’s womb, but she hasn’t yet moved to the question of how those parts meet in the Mommy. i overheard her playing “house” with her little brother, and she told him to stand near her so the stuff could meet up with her egg, and they stood next to each other for a moment until she declared, “Okay, now in three months we’ll have a baby!” :)


Elizabeth Flora Ross July 10, 2012 at 9:19 am

I’m laughing at this because my 3yo is the exact same way. Man, the questions we get. It’s tough. And I never thought I’d be dealing with it this early. I’ve already had to talk to her about menstruation and conception. A lot. I try to answer very simply, at a level she can understand. I’m honest and answer her directly rather than try to deflect her questions. She knows Mommy has eggs inside her and Daddy has sperm. How the two got together is not something we have delved into yet. But she will ask. It’s just a matter of time. We borrowed a book from a friend that had some great info. I can’t remember the title. I’m going to check out the ones other commenters have recommended…

Good luck!


Mandy_Fish July 10, 2012 at 9:23 am

I bought some books too. But I just give a little information out at a time. I dole it out. First babies come from their mom’s tummies. Then from their mom’s vagina’s. Then from the magical mystical birth canal. My son is eight and is still hasn’t asked exactly how the sperm gets to the egg. I know that one’s coming!

I took Max to the book store and let him pick out the book he wanted. They usually have a bunch of “Where do babies come from”-type books. He picked out “What’s The Big Deal?” He still reads it occasionally today and then asks me questions. We laugh about it.


Mandy_Fish July 10, 2012 at 9:23 am

Oh sorry, not “What’s The Big Deal,” I should have written, “What’s The Big Secret?” Haha. Though the first title works too.


January July 10, 2012 at 10:09 am

My four year old son asked about this just after he turned four completely out of the blue. I was stunned and I believe I blocked my answer from my mind from mortification because for the life of me I can’t remember what I said! I think I mumbled and muttered a lot about when a Mummy and a Daddy love each other a lot a baby grows in the belly. Pretty lame. I remember my Mum telling me when I was pretty young that my dad planted a seed in her tummy and I grew from that seed…seems that I was pretty satisfied with that answer but I don’t think Molly would be! Sorry I couldn’t help more but I’m totally checking out those books mentioned here!


Lisa in NZ July 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I have a 6 year old who is similarly interested – and did share the detail!! When he asked the same questions at about 3, I answered with “the Mummy and the Daddy who really love each other share a special kind of hug. The mummy has eggs inside her and the daddy has sperm and the two things get together during the special hug and sometimes make babies” . Of course, the next time he saw my husband and I hugging, his first question was “are you going to have another baby?” so a little more explanation was required. And of course it went straight to daycare, and I had to explain what I’d said to the teachers because suddenly the boys and girls were all hugging and then the girls would appear with pillows under their shirts saying they were going to have a baby. Sigh. It’s about time I explained it with more detail to him and his twin brother. Happily, we’ve always used proper names for body parts, so that makes it a little easier (except when you are in the supermarket with your precocious 2 year old and she says at the top of her voice “do you need some tampons for your vagina Mummy?”) I’ve always tried to take the tack of explaining things clearly in an age appropriate manner. Of course now that my daughters are 13 and 16, I have to trap them in the car to talk about anything to do with their bodies, but I am determined that they will get correct information from me, not faulty info from their friends!


Joann Woolley July 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I’m so keeping track of this conversation because I want to know all the ghastly things parents have come up with in order to avoid anything related to the birds and the bees talk haha! Inquiring minds want to know ; ) One day she will hit you up for a good therapy bill whether you tell her to truth or a bold-faced lie — no — totally kidding! Whatever we tell them about Santa and Sex won’t scar them…. ooooh I think I might have myself a good blog post title right there!


Kelly July 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm

My daughter always asks these questions when we are in the car, usually waiting in a drive-thru somewhere, getting dinner, grabbing a prescription at the pharmacy, etc.

Always in the car.

The last time she asked where babies came from, I told her to ask me later so I didn’t wreck the car.


Ellie {Musing Momma} July 22, 2012 at 7:52 pm

When in doubt, you can always fall back on, “How do YOU think they get in there?” Sometimes kids are satisfied with whatever answer they come up with on their own…at least for a while! My son decided the baby jumped in through the belly button, so I just smiled and nodded and went for it. I’m just not sure how to give the real answer without talking about sex and that is NOT something my very precocious, very curious 5 year old needs to hear about yet, IMHO. We’re open with talking about lots of things, but the actual technicalities of sex is one I’d like to hold off on for now!


Jacana July 25, 2012 at 6:11 am

I can so relate – I opted out to as I didn’t believe my young 5 year old realy wanted to know the full sex bit. So I told him that Mummies pray to God when they want a baby and God magically plants a seed in their tummies that turn into a baby.
At 8 I gave him the whole truth and nothing but the truth talk when he asked again one day. 6 months later the topic came up again and I asked him do you remember where babies come from and he said “yes, Mummies pray to god and he gives them a seed” etc etc. He didn’t like the truthful version!!!


Laura July 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm

So I’m taking this as permission to go with my magic beans theory. ;) I love that he went with your first version! I’m sticking to my story.


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