Grandpa and RG Visit the Zoo. Chapter 7: RG Asks Grandpa About How Babies Get Out of the Mommy.

December 15, 2008

After I strapped RG into her booster seat in the back seat, we left the zoo. I was having qualms about being so judgmental about bribes. The truth is, I thought, adults bribe each other all the time.

I discussed this with RG. I said, “It is hard for people to get along. Often people do say to each other, “I will do this for you if you do that for me. Sometimes that is good way to work out problems and arguments, but sometimes it is not.”

The silence from the back seat indicated to me that Grandpa was providing way too much philosophy to a little girl who just wanted to see some lions. (Soon it will occur to her that lions are possibly missing a trace element from their diet: a nutrient that might be provided by a Grandpa.)

Finally, RG changed the subject. At the time, I was completely caught by surprise. Later, reflecting on the discussion, I realized the line of questioning had been inspired by watching the baby animals in the videos on the television screen on the stage.

“Grandpa, how does a baby get out of the mother?” she asked.

While I was still considering an answer, she went on, “Is the baby in the mommy’s tummy?”

I said, “A mother has something inside her called the ‘uterus’ that holds a baby.”

“Then how does the baby get out of the mommy?” she pressed.

Unprepared for this line of nature education, I was thinking, These are strange questions for a little girl with two articulate and open mommies to be asking a grandpa.

At that point I probably should have talked about the “birth canal.” Though I have a lot of teaching experience, the lessons I offer don’t usually go down this path, so to speak.

I said, “Are you familiar with the word ‘vagina?'”

Silence from the back seat.

I am in deep water, I thought. “I think this is probably a discussion you should have with your mommies,” I said, heading for the side of the pool.

15 Responses to “Grandpa and RG Visit the Zoo. Chapter 7: RG Asks Grandpa About How Babies Get Out of the Mommy.”

  1. pandemonic Says:

    Oh! So what did she say after that?

  2. modestypress Says:

    AS I indicated in the last line, I suggested she discuss the subject with her mommies. I have been told she did.

  3. Michael the little boot Says:

    What a calm way to answer such a heart-attack inducing question! I would probably have offered a lecture (not the bad kind, more the “I wish I were a professor” kind), which would have had the benefit of causing RG to do the thing she swore she would not: nap.

  4. modestypress Says:

    Michael, you have a point. The problem is that if she falls asleep while riding in the car, she is very cranky when the car arrives and she wakes up.

    There is often an effort at the end of a long trip to keep her awake during the last few blocks so she can be conducted to her bed for a proper nap.

    On the other hand, when my daughter was little she frequently punctuated a car ride (or a bus ride) by throwing up at the middle of the trip.

    More fun things they don’t tell you about being a parent.

  5. Michael the little boot Says:

    Finding the “sweet spot” must be the eternal quest for parents! This shows more holes in the old “one-size-fits-all” model of parenting. A couple friends of mine used to drive their daughter around just to get her to fall asleep at night. Apparently that wouldn’t be a good tactic with RG. So kids come out with some of their personality already there? I thought they were all blank slates!

    (Once again, since I’m a recent reader, that last part’s sarcasm.)

  6. spectrum2 Says:

    Oh my. I cannot believe you said uterus and vagina. I would have been having a fit, and I have a uterus and a vagina of my own. I suppose it is all in how we are raised. Wowser

  7. modestypress Says:


    Life is complicated.That is why encyclopedias have more than one volume.

    Some parents and children are just not compatible. Mommy was a nanny for a couple who had a perfectly pleasant daughter and then adopted a child who was aggressive and hyperactive. The parents (both with doctorates) were at a loss on how to deal with the adoped child. Mommy got her in line pretty expeditiously.

    Not only should people pick a compatible partner before they get married, children should pick a compatible parent before they get conceived. I am not sure how this will be achieved, but science is advancing with leaps and bounds.

  8. modestypress Says:


    That is why the words “womb” and “birth canal” were developed. I imagine if at “Show and Tell” Random Granddaughter says, “Today I will show you my womb and my birth canal,” there will be no problem, but if she offers to show her uterus and vagina, a great deal of commotion with notes to mommies will ensue.

    Perhaps it is time for a new children’s dictionary.

    Section 1 will consist of euphemisms and polite words. Section 2 will consist of the other words, and will be hot to the touch.

  9. truce Says:

    Oddly enough, I am currently working on a new Children’s Dictionary here. It will contain the first 1000 words every child needs to know – all illustrated of course. I will check, but I am pretty sure that neither ‘womb’ or ‘birth canal’ nor ‘uterus’ or ‘vagina’ are among the list I need to illustrate. Which is certainly an oversight I will be happy to bring up at our next team meeting.

  10. We always used real words for the male bits, and visually descriptive terms for the female bits, since there were eggs involved (and they were much younger than RG when it came up). Also, it explained Mommy’s crankiness much better.

  11. OMG, this was hilarious.

    As a child who knew everything about human and animal reproduction, including proper names for things, before the age of five, I highly recommend a polite level of euphemism in young children’s sex education. “Birth canal” is a good one.

    I am still laughing.

    And I hope that RG doesn’t feed you to the lions. That’s far too Christian an act for a probably-agnostic child.

  12. Michael the little boot Says:

    If you hear anything about this “pre-born children choosing parents” thing, let me know. Coupled with time travel, this could solve all my problems!

  13. modestypress Says:


    At the moment, RG is still thinking about the eggs that come out of chickens. At the age of three, we took her to an educational farm, and the sight of chickens laying eggs and of a goat being milked frightened and shocked her. Now at four she deals with these facts of life pretty calmly.


    RG will probably check with the lions to make sure they are agnostic before she feeds me to them. Something like eating kosher.


    All I can say right now is that there is a lot of research going on in labs. However, they have to keep the shades drawn.

  14. Michael the little boot Says:

    Those damned scientists, always doing important experiments behind closed doors. Or drawn shades, as it were. They can’t seem to do anything important out in the open. Must be agoraphobia.

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