HOW BABIES ARE MADE (according to an 8-year-old) - PART 2
The Birds and the Bees
Learning how babies are made was a traumatic experience for many of us. After writing last week’s post, I heard from a friend about his own experience, which caused much more trauma than my own! Let’s just say the film Look Who’s Talking had something to do with his understanding… You can read last week’s post to learn how I found out, as this week will be a continuation of that auspicious day.
SHARING IS… CARING?
I walked home from school that day fully impregnated with the knowledge of the interaction necessary for human reproduction. Now I'm no Dorothy, but it was like I’d left Kansas and entered Oz – my mind was completely blown. From black and white to colour; from a tornado in the Dust Bowl to the infamous Yellow Brick Road in technicolored Oz; from old Auntie Em to the dancing Lollipop Guild – the analogies could go on and on! I was fully enlightened!
I was a recently enlightened 8-year-old keen to share my newly imbued knowledge. I turned to Katie’s brother Tom (my next-door neighbour), who walked with me, to tell him what his sister had to do to have a baby. I made sure my younger brother was just out of earshot as he trailed behind us a few meters.
Katie, if you can remember, was my neighbour and the lovely brown-haired, brown-eyed girl I’d had a massive crush on for… at least a few days. She was sweet, kind, well spoken, considerate and gracious.
Her brother Tom, however, was…
My friendship with my neighbour Tom was tumultuous to say the least. In the mornings before school, we would watch G.I. Joe, Transformers and Thundercats together, and in the afternoon, he would try to fight me.
What a friend.
I was never quite sure if he was going to laugh and be a friend or to try to punch me in the face. I am sure it was an unhealthy combination of the two. I could in no way match him pound for pound but, fortunately, I was much faster than he was and I’d had plenty of practice in the “Five D’s of Dodgeball”. Not by playing dodgeball but by avoiding his unrestrained wrath on the daily walk home from school.
Despite knowing Tom’s temperamental nature, I turned to him - keen to share my knowledge - and began describing what Katie has to do to have a baby with her new boyfriend. I knew nothing of puberty and adolescence (obviously) and I do not remember the language I used to describe the entire process, but I can assure you my words were in NO way physiologically or anatomically correct.
However, the bare basics were right – right enough to stop him dead in his tracks. For once, Tom was speechless; dumfounded; and stood as still and deep in thought as I’d ever seen him. I stopped for a second to wait for my brother to catch up and Tom still stood motionless. I smiled and my brother and I kept on happily walking home.
“I’m sure he found that helpful.”, I thought to myself. “He sure is lucky to have a friend like me.”
My brother and I walked ahead for a few seconds.
Then, like a herd of buffalo with the unjust rage of Colonel Custer, Tom came stampeding toward me!
My brother fled. It was his only hope.
This was my battle and he wanted no part of it!
He dove at me like a raging shark with tooth-covered fingers, knocking me over onto the wet grass. We tussled
on the ground for a few minutes. I ended up pinning him down long enough for him to shout “MERCY!” and then walked home on my own.
“Strong calf muscles.” I said under my breath. “They always help.”
I did not understand his reaction. Why didn’t he thank me? Surely, he ought to be grateful I had provided him with a robust, progressive education on human reproduction!