Help Needed in Parenting – 4 (or was it 3!)

anyways I need help again!

So, R and I are reading this book that there is one small cartoon strip which talks about a Giraffe coming with his Amma to meet Amma’s uncle who introduces them to a Kangaroo who tells the Giraffe that my son will be happy to meet you and when the Giraffe asks where her son is, the son comes out from her pouch and says I am here..and then the Giraffe asks why the son is there, the Kangaroo says all Kangaroos carry their children in their pouch

I finsh reading it and R is silent for what seems like 10 minutes to me (In the R world 1 minutes of silence in human clockΒ  =Β  78 minutes of silence in R clock) you know what I mean right?

and then she turns and asks me

Amma, Kangaroo ka child shop se aya (Amma, did the Kangaroo’s child come for the shop)

RM: Shop se?

R: Amma, shop se buy kiya (Was it bought from the shop?)

RM: Why are you asking that?

R: Pouch mein tha na..thats why (He was in the pouch, thats why?)

RM: no no baby, children come from their Amma’s tummy

R: oh…after two minutes of human time
(The entire conversation took place in a mixture of Hindi/English/Gujju/ Tamizh, I am just putting the translation here)

Amma, did you also have a pouch when I was a chotu baby

RM: No beta, pouch is only there for Kangaroos

R: Oh okie…

Again silence for some time…I can hear her brains churning thoughts faster and faster with a whirrrringgg sound

Amma…how does the baby come out of Amma’s tummy

RM: hmmmm(I am thinking here whether I should be telling her about vaginal delivery and stuff…but decide against it because she is definitely too young) The doctor takes the baby out

R: how amma

RM: hmmm..there can be different ways…sometimes the doctor cuts the tummy and takes out the baby

R: cuts the tummy…phir blood comes out?

RM: This is going into something else only – Errr…yes it does but he stitches it up

R: oh….does it pain?

RM: WEll not really you are given medicines for it not to pain

R: Oh okie… and then is silent again

Amma, when I came out did the doctor cut your tummy

RM: To tell the truth or not but I decide not to tell the truth – Errr..yes but it didnt hurt!

R: okie amma,

and she turns the page of the book

my questions –

1) Did I take the right approach?

2) I lied to her (well not lied,but didnt tell the truth) when I told her that I was cut open, I wasnt, I had a traumatic natural delivery!) but I couldnt really explain that to her na?

3) IS there a better way to tell her about babies and mummy ka tummy

Please help!


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74 Responses to Help Needed in Parenting – 4 (or was it 3!)

  1. zephyr says:

    Relax, RM. We are the best judges of how much a child is capable of absorbing and understanding. There is nothing anyone can teach, as long as you don’t brush her off with, ‘You are too young to understand,’ any answer that satisfies her is fine enough.

    There is nothing like lying under some circumstances. You were cut, weren’t you? So what if it was not your tummy? What you made clear to her little heart is that her mother didn’t hurt when she was born. That is not a lie either, because any pain of childbirth is gone the moment we look at our babies. πŸ™‚

  2. I visit here frequently but don’t get to comment much. I should say I enjoy your posts a lot:). This post brought a smile to my face as I can connect to it since I have a three year old too.
    I think I would do the same thing as you did and not get into too many details. She has really smart questions:).Incidentally today my three year old asked me if I can give her a baby sister because she is not happy with her two year old brother who doesn’t obey her. She asked me if I am fat enough so that my tummy is carrying her baby sister(in her words). My husband and I laughed it off and changed the topic since we couldn’t think of better answer for her at that moment . I am still preparing myself for this question of hers.
    Sorry I am not sure if this is of any help though πŸ™‚

    • R's Mom says:

      Hey welcome here…glad you commented

      Wait wait…you said you have a 3 year old AND a 2 year old *Falls at feet and asks for blessings*

      Awww….your daughter is a sweetheart πŸ™‚ Even R wants a baby sister hehehe πŸ™‚

  3. Batul says:

    i like your approach to the Q… sweet and simple… and operation is one of the ways of delivery, so you did not lie to her… it just that you delivered naturally…

    What a coincidence, even fizza asked me the same Q few days ago – where does the baby come out from – i told her that babies come out from mummy’s tummy… though she has accepted it… she isn’t convinced as the 9.30 star+ serial, the leading lady did not undergo operation during delivery and 3 idiots…

  4. sheils says:

    ha ha.. I think you said the right thing πŸ™‚ Nothing wrong in saying a little white lie now n then πŸ™‚
    At least you didn’t tell her the age old adage…”the stork brought you to me..” πŸ™‚

  5. Smita T says:

    I think you have done a right thing… at this age, this is all they need to know….

    When N sleeps at night, he likes to sleep really close ( I am not sure whether this is a right thing to do ) when he says, more close aai, I normally say that, you will have to back in my tummy because you are really close now… then he smiles and says, doctor aunty will be angry with you, with all the putting in and getting out she has to do… he knows that he has come from moms tummy and doctor aunty has helped mummy to bring him out… he is ok with it… he thinks it special that he has come from mom’s tummy πŸ™‚

  6. Seema says:

    I told Mantam that my tummy was cut and stitched back and yes it did pain. I had a C-section delivery. So, I was telling them the truth. In your case, I dunno what is the right approach though.

    I’m gonna wait for others to answer. Coz I don’t know if I’m a proficient parent myself to guide you.

  7. My era says:

    #1: The minute I sensed the conversation in your post was heading towards ‘how does the baby come’ my first thought was to go explain a C-section to R she’ll understand it better…and I am glad you actually did that. So that answers you did take the right approach.

    #2:Well, you told her how babies come out and in telling her you were cut open…you didn’t lie there too for you actually had an episiotomy…right?? So you didn’t lie anywhere. As far the deeper facts, you can talk to her in detail someday 15-20 years down the line.

    #3: The closer to reality and understandable facts approach is always the best to stick to and you won’t have to keep making up stories every now and then as her questioning will continue in the days to come.

    So chill darling…you did the right thing…hugs to a smart mum πŸ˜€

  8. Kanchan says:

    Abhi time hai RM to tell her the real story πŸ˜€

    I have told Adi the same and then for some time, whenever he saw people (women OR MEN), he’d point at them and exclaim “Does she/he have a baby in his potu?. My prayers to make me disappear then and there were never answered !

    He has even asked why does he have small nipples (he calls them body parts – which is what they are and will stay like that for a while!)

  9. Just when I was fretting thinking you are not going to post today before I sleep………….. πŸ˜›

    err…what else is one supposed to tell a 3 year old? or for that matter to my 7 year old? πŸ™„ You know RM, for a long time I used to tell him that we just walked into a Hospital in Delhi and fell in love with the chotu sa motu boy there and smuggled him out 😳 In my defense, I will say that it helped a lot in controlling his naughtiness at that age coz all I had to say was that if you don’t listen to mama we might just go to the hospital and exchange you for another good kid πŸ‘Ώ . Well, it didn’t work for long with the Curious George type of a boy I have popped out. πŸ˜₯

    As of now he thinks he was sleeping oh so peacefully curled up in my tummy, when all of a sudden I decided that he should no more be this lazy and err woke him up with a whack on his butt 😐

  10. uma says:

    hmm..I think you handled it well RM. For her age, if the answer satisfies her and the answer is not away from the truth, I think it is good enough..need to ask the veterans though..:-)

  11. lifesong says:

    I think that you took the right approach, RM. R is too small to be told about natural delivery. I face such questions too from my 4 year old… in fact she is a step forward… she wants to know how do babies get into mommy’s tummies in the first place. I tell her that God puts them there. About how do they come out, I have told her similar to your replies to R.
    Will be watching this comment space for more suggestions.

  12. Smita says:

    I think you handled it well. See, R is too young right now to understand the Intricacies of child birth et al. May be when she grows a little older and asks the same questions you can elaborate but going with the way things are right now, I am sure she will learn & know all these things herself.
    So chill! and trust me there is no right or wrong in parenting, it is all about how the situation is at that point of time & how u tackled it πŸ™‚

    • R's Mom says:

      and trust me there is no right or wrong in parenting, it is all about how the situation is at that point of time & how u tackled it

      True true and so true

  13. Smitha says:

    You handled it really well, RM. I had told Poohi the same. I did have a C-sec. But then the other day, she had a question if all babies come out the same way. So I told her, no, there is another way, and I will explain it to you using our body book. But she moved in to another topic, so I haven’t had to explain it to her yet πŸ™‚ but I suspect that she is going to ask very soon.

    Sometimes, we also tell her that we bought her from ToysRUs and would return her if she’s naughty:)

  14. Bikram says:

    You did right she is too young to understand this all.. Other then pain part you said it all I think. So relaxxxx once she gets into school then maybe you will have to explain more.

    Take care

  15. Tee hee hee. You do know it does not stop here right? There will be round 2 πŸ˜‰ And a few more rounds after that πŸ˜€

  16. Deeps says:

    You handle it well, R. No I dont think you lied, you merely twisted the truth a little to make it sound convincing to a 3 year old. See, even in a natural birth you have to go through some amount cutting and stitching,na. So breath easy, you did and said what you felt was best in the situation. Like Smita said, there is no right or wrong in parenting :). You learn and evolve as your child grows.

    You know I said the same thing when Namnam wanted to know about her birth. She wanted to know how she got to be in my tummy in the first place and then how she came out, to which I simply said that he father had put her in there and we had sought the help of our doctor when she had started kicking and scratching from inside to come out πŸ˜€ :D. Thankfully she was convinced and didnt delve deeper. But I also know that in a few years she would come up to me with her more curious mind to know about things to which I will have to be prepared with a more comprehensive answer :).
    Hugs to both of you!

  17. Ramya says:

    I believe what you have told her now is what has to be told RM… c’mon u’re such a sweet mom.. dont worry so much πŸ™‚

  18. Ashwathy says:

    Again silence for some time…I can hear her brains churning thoughts faster and faster with a whirrrringgg sound
    ROFL!! πŸ˜€ I could actually imagine this!!

    I think thats true…its just easier to stick to facts and truth because now she is of an age where she β€˜remembers’ and then says β€˜paar aap ne toh kaha tha ke….’ so I just find it easier to tell the truth most time
    Yeah I agree with your reply. Kids remember these things so it’s better to stick to the closest version of the truth. And say it naturally instead of sounding embarrassed – kids catch on fast. I remember asking my grandmother and mother ( I was around 4 yrs old then) about how we don’t need men in the world coz women just produce babies from their tummy alone (as per what I was told earlier by them itself). My grandmother butted in and said no we need both men and women in the world coz both are involved in the creation of the baby. Only after saying it did she realise her mistake by leaving that sentence open ended. I asked how? And she paused, trying not to smile. She glanced at my mother and she glanced back with another smile. And I immediately caught on to it. Went behind them questioning, what why are you smiling, what are you hiding and all that πŸ™‚ In the end my grandma had to say they are also involved and thats it. Had to leave it at that coz i realised they simply wouldn’t budge from that answer πŸ˜› And I don’t believe that was the best approach that could have been taken.

    The more you complicate it, the more confused kids get. And worse, they try to find out through other sources. But fortunately right now R is too young for that.

    And yes like many others commented, I think you did fine for the time being. As she grows older, you can eventually introduce other facts to her. She seems satisfied for now. πŸ™‚
    Sit tight, happy mommy!!

    pah!! What a long comment!! πŸ™„ Truly my comeback, don’t u think? :mrgreen: πŸ˜›

    • R's Mom says:

      your grandmother is a sweetheart..hahahah! I was laughing loud when I read it :):)

      and welcome were missed…more by Seema than me though πŸ™‚

  19. dipali says:

    A fair enough explanation! Good enough for some years to come:)

  20. shail says:

    I think you might be interested in reading this:
    “”When my three year old told me that she wanted to know how the baby got out. I asked her how she thought it happened. She said that my belly button would open up like a camera lens! I knew we needed to tell her something. So we told her that there was a special place for babies to be born and that all women had them. She never asked where it was, thank goodness!”
    Got it from here: πŸ™‚

    This is another interesting answer a mother gave:
    “My daughter asked me that questions too. I told her the special space in a girl parts called a vagina is where the baby comes out. She knows the word so she said “oh – that is why boys can’t have babies – they don’t have ‘ginas” I said that is about it and away she went.”

  21. shail says:

    By the way expert advice says, when children ask, we have to ask them where they think babies come from and from their answer we get an idea how much they are ready for and so can answer accordingly.
    “Often young children already have the information they need and simply need you to validate it for them.” That’s the reason they ask: they heard something, they want to know from us if what they came to know is right. This slide show is supposed to be for 3 year olds. But you can use it at your discretion when the time is right:

    • R's Mom says:

      Thank you thank you thank you..for the links and for the comments…its really of great help..thanks so much!! you are a sweetheart to have actually gone on the net and get this info πŸ™‚

  22. AT says:

    ahh well I’m of no help but I do agree that she is too young to understand childbirth… if I were you I would have taken the same approach (but mine was C-Section)…so what even if you didn’t had a C-section, vaginal deliveries leaves one with skin tears or there is a cut..where it doesn’t matter right now..

    and now I know what to look forward in coming days……..

  23. Tanishka says:

    I think you did the right thing RM… Once she grows a lil older she will be able to understand things on her own… πŸ™‚

  24. anisnest says:

    ha ha haaa… no worries RM.. she will come to know someday.. every mom sails through this.. chk out my version –
    I am sure Adi doesn’t even remember this now.. so don’t worry RM.. she is too young to explain everything..

  25. Pepper says:

    Definitely. That is all you can tell her now. There is no way she would be able to digest the concept of vaginal deliveries. I didn’t know till i was, maybe 10 or so. Not sure exactly, but roughly that age. After which I found out from my friends in school. I came back and asked my mom if that was true. That time she told me it was. My reaction, “Ewwww, I couldn’t have come out of there” πŸ˜› You get the picture right? If my 10 year old brain couldn’t accept the idea very easily, there’s a small chance that a 3 yr old brain will take to it very well.

    I am not a parent, but I only speak from my own experience as a child.

    On another note, I remember reading about R’s concerns about you going through some pain. She said aapko potty ke time pe dukhta hai, or something on those lines right? She even spoke about it with RMB on phone? How did you explain the reason behind that pain to her?

    • R's Mom says:

      LOL on the eewwwww!

      Yaa…she does know about the potty pain..but I attribute it to the overdosage of sweets…basically the pain worsens if I eat too much sweets….so I avoid it..and R thinks I get the pain because I have eaten too much sweets..the other day she tells me ‘Maine bola tha na..itna sweet mat khao, abhi potty karte time pain hoyega!’

  26. CA says:

    Both my girls have been told, they were cozy in my tummy and the doctor cut me open to get the baby out. I had 2 C-secs … so I was speaking truth anyways πŸ™‚
    You did alright … I am sure when R grow up, she will not hold any grudge against you for not telling her all the details πŸ™‚

  27. NBose says:

    Hey…u handled it so well…i m surely learning so many things from these blogs… πŸ™‚

    one of my friend gave similar answer(tummy cut buy doc & stitched back) to her 4 year old and after few days she asked that whether puppies are born the same way !!! When my friend said yes then she wanted to know whether “mamma dogs” are taken to the same doctor who cut her mom’s tummy…… πŸ˜€

  28. I understand your predicament only too well.You know what, RM, my elder daughter was six yrs old at that time when my younger daughter was born by c-sec, so she got the idea that this is the way babies are born–by cutting open the mommy’s belly. Now she is nine. One evening she returned from the park and said,”Ma, this new girl who has joined our group is TWO years senior to me but is sooo stupid–you know what she said? Not every baby is born by cutting open the mother’s tummy–her aunt had a baby recently and she had no cut on the tummy!! I told her she
    must be mistaken! How on earth can a baby be born just like that! She is mistaken na?”

    And she marched off without waiting to hear what I had to say. Which was just as well, because I felt unequal to the task of telling her about normal deliveries–at her age. I thought even nine years is too young. I didn’t want to scare her. I have promised myself I’ll tell her a couple of years down the line. Was I right or wrong? I don’t know, honestly 😦

  29. Vidya says:

    I think you told her just enough for her age.. Kids her age might not know to manage the information they gather and may speak or ask looped questions at an inappropriate time.. Vaise be, some babies come out they way you have explained na?

    Vyas once asked me if he was born after I drank kheer!! I had just finished reading a chapter from Ramayana where the 3 wives (shudder!) are administered kheer for progeny! Our stories can get more convoluted πŸ˜‰

  30. Sangitha says:

    I don’t know – I think kids need to be told age-appropriate truth. Using words like womb and birth canal aren’t threatening to parents while giving the kids just enough information. I’ve told the kids that there’s a special place called a womb where babies grow – they were grossed out about food splashing onto their heads and that when they had grown enough, children came out through a birth canal. One of their friends’ siblings was a c-section birth, so they got to know that sometimes kids can’t come out by themselves, need help and the doctors take over.

    Of course then we went else where with adoption.

    I don’t think 4 is too young. The good touch, bad touch info has to start soon anyways, no?

    • R's Mom says:

      Okie…I dont think I have ever used the word ‘womb’ with R…its always been tummy..may be I should start using that…thanks a ton for telling me this…

      Well, I have started off with the good touch bad touch info…so obviously this will make sense again..did I mention I admire you just as I admired my favorite teacher πŸ™‚

  31. Whew!
    As a man, I escaped this experience.
    I suppose kids never ask their Dads these kind of questions, or do they really?
    Mine didn’t
    They usually reserve this for the mom.
    I must ask my wife if she went through this experience and how she handled it.

    I don’t ever remember asking my parents when I was a child.
    We learned all this the from naughty conversations held in hush hush whispers between friends and my generation was a buddhoo compared to the present generation of kids.
    I was all of 13, going on 14 when I came to know!

    Now, let’s see if I get a second chance as a Grandparent to face this situation with maturity and intelligence.
    I am not yet a grand-parent and look forward to it it but there is no “good news” in the horizon yet.
    Do kids ask such questions to their Grandparents?
    I wonder.
    Will parents even like it if their kids by-pass the parents and ask the Grandparents?
    Your blog post is thought provoking.


    • R's Mom says:

      no it was my dad who taught me everything about periods to child birth…he is a really patient teacher πŸ™‚

      yaa…when you are 13 and 14, its usually peer group who seem to be the right people to ask πŸ™‚

      Errr…now I didnt ask my grand moms such questions..but I will not be surprised if R asks to my dad…he will be pretty cool about it as well πŸ™‚

  32. Rajani Ram says:

    I think you did very well…. I remember when I was pregnant with my second son (5 yr old now)… my elder son (10 yr old now) asked me the same question… but then before I could answer it or while I was thinking of how to answer it.. he himself found the answer…. well his version of the answer by saying.. “oh.. i know.. the baby comes thru ur navel”…. I left it at that…. I rather him think that than get to the details… I am going to stick to that for sometime or until they get older for more details….

  33. Scribby says:

    oh it was a cleaner conversation me thinks and like everyone else has said above…

    it’s always better to tell the truth in simplest possible way than hiding it or lying to the child like one of my SIL never tells her daughters how they came to this world [elder one is 14 and younger one is 7]…when I was due and these girls saw my growing tummy they laughed,giggled and thought there is something wrong that I had done to have such huge tummy….basically they were quiet uncomfortable when they saw me cause whatever their mother had told them they had a wrong impression of a woman being pregnant 😦

    on the other hand my aunt’s daughter’s who are 10 and 7 years old have a clear idea of babies coming out of mummy’s tummy and they just know this much [not that they know thing sin detail] but are more comfortable to see a pregnant woman and they don’t question people in public or laugh at them πŸ™‚

    so you know what I want to say,right? πŸ™‚

    • R's Mom says:

      yes yes yes..totally know what you want to say..thanks for giving examples like this..makes me all the more believe that I am not wrong in telling stuff to her!!!

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