Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Our First Big Talk About the Birds and the Bees

Owen & Kyle in the orphanage in Haiti

Over the past six months or so Kyle and Owen have started to ask some very simple basic questions about their adoption (click here for a post about one example). But they have shown zero interest in anything related to pregnancy, birth, reproduction, etc. I have actually been surprised by how disinterested they are. I've tried to bring it up with them, I've tried to open the door to conversations and questions, I've tried planting the seeds of interest (so to speak!), but it has led to nowhere. Even when we've seen pregnant friends and I've said, "Look guys, she has a baby in her belly!" and even when their little friends have had new baby brothers and sisters born to their families, still no interest in it all. They are totally interested in babies, in stories about when they were babies, in the idea of having a baby in our family (eeeks!)... but no interest whatsoever in where babies come from. This morning, though, we had our first big talk about the birds and the bees. These conversations are surely complicated with any young child -- you aren't exactly sure how much information to present, how much to hold back, what they can grasp, what they can't... But when adoption is another layered twist to the whole thing the conversation is even that much more complicated. I did the best I could this morning. And I desperately consciously cognizantly tried to soak in the moment and be fully present so that I'd remember every single word because I knew I'd want to write it all down later. Obviously, I don't remember it perfectly (the conversation was too long). But below I've tried to write it out as exactly as I can remember.

We were sitting on the floor of Kyle's room doing an alphabet puzzle. Owen chose the letter "N" and we were looking for where the "N" puzzle piece goes. It sits on top of an image of a nest ("N is for nest"). I said, "we're looking for a nest." They couldn't find it. I pointed to the picture of the nest. I said, "there's the nest!" Owen said, "that's not a nest, that's a basket." I said, "yes it does look just like a basket, but that is supposed to be a nest -- 'N' is for nest and Nate and no and nap." I said, "look, see the eggs in the nest?" (in the picture of the nest there are three little blue eggs popping up from inside it). I said, "see those eggs? That's a bird's nest. Birds live in nests. The nest is their house, their home. And those are the birds' eggs -- they will be baby birds." They were dumbfounded. I repeated it: "Birds live in nests. Their babies come from their eggs." They're both looking right at me. You could hear a pin drop. Obviously I've totally captured their attention with this (even though I've said similar things, if not exactly the same things, in the past -- suddenly today they are finally interested.) I decide I should go with it, I say: "Birds live in nests. Bird babies come from bird eggs. They are born from bird eggs." And we went from there~~~

Kyle: Born.
Heather: Yes, the birds are born from eggs. They come out of the eggs when they are born.
Owen: Born. Just like me and Kyle! [Excitedly pointing back and forth to himself and Kyle.] Just like us.
K: Just like us! Just like me and my brother were born!
H: Yes, you were born.
O: Yes! We were born from eggs! Just like those [excitedly pointing to the puzzle picture of the eggs in the nest]!
K: Yes! We were born from eggs!
H: Yes, you were born. But not from eggs. Baby birds are born from eggs, but not baby people.
[They are absolutely mesmerized. They are totally completely still -- which is almost unheard of -- and they're both staring right at me, ready for more.]
H: Birds come from an egg. But you're not a bird! Do you know where you were born from?
O: Haiti.
K: Yes, Haiti!
H: Yes! You were born in Haiti! [They are delighted with themselves. I stand up and take down from Kyle's bookshelf a framed picture of the photo at the top of this post -- a photo of K & O as little babies in the orphanage in Haiti.] Look, see, this is Kyle and Owen when you were babies, right?! And you were in Haiti. In the orphanage.
K: That's me [pointing in the photo to himself as a baby]. And that's my brother [pointing in the photo to baby Owen].
H: Yes, you were little babies and you were together in the orphanage. See [pointing to the photo], you were together in the crib.
O: We were little tiny babies. We had no teeth. We drank a bottle.
H: Yes! You were babies. And you were born in Haiti. But not from an egg. [Again, you can hear a pin drop]. Do you want to know where baby people are born from?
K: Yes!
O: Yes!
H: Babies come from a lady's belly!
[They appear absolutely astounded and confused.]
H: Yup! That's right, babies come from a lady's belly!
O: From inside?
H: Yes. And you both grew together inside a lady's belly! Kyle and Owen both together! In Haiti!
[Total silence.]
O: But I need to be in your belly mama???
H: I know baby. I wish you were in my belly. But no, my baby, you were born from another lady's belly. Not from my belly.
K: But you need to come here [pointing to the picture of K & O in the orphanage]. You need to come here and get me.
H: Yes, we went to the orphanage and we got you.
K: And you picked me up?
H: Yes, we picked you up and we held you in our arms--
K: And you gave me a bottle.
O: Yes! A bottle! We had no teeth! You gave me a bottle! Many many bottles!
H: Yes, we held you and fed you bottles and we took care of you. We adopted you. Both Kyle and Owen. You needed a mama and papi and we adopted you! And we took you home!
K: But where were you? But where were you when we were here [pointing again to the picture of K & O in the orphanage].
H: I was waiting for you baby. I was here, at home, and I was waiting to be able to go get you.
K: But you need to come.
H: Yes, I know baby. I know. I wanted to come. We came as fast as we could.
K: And you took me home?
H: Yes.
O: You bit me?
H: What?
O: You bit me? You ate me to go in your belly?
H: No, sweetie, I didn't eat you.
O: But how did I get in your belly?
H: You grew in another lady's belly. But she didn't eat you. Do you want to know how babies get to grow in the bellies?
K: Yes!
O: Yes!
H: From a man and a lady together. They can make a baby grow in a lady's belly.
[They both have blank stares and I've lost them now. This is clearly too much information.]
K: Look! [picking up a new puzzle piece] An "S" for Sadie!
H: Yes! An "S" for Sadie! Let's find the "S"...

And we continued with the puzzle.


Alex said...

my favorite part about this conversation is when owen asks if he was eaten in order to be in the belly....hahahahahahaha! are these boys the most adorable kids or WHAT??!!! love you all!

theghelertertwins.blogspot.com said...

Ahhhh, your babies are soo dang gorgeous!

cloudscome said...

What a touching story. There are so many levels to their understanding, aren't there?

Leslie said...

That is great! I also love how Owen kept going back to having no teeth!