Can I make a confession? Sometimes I'm overconfident in my role as a communicator. Not so much in the role of daughter, wife, or mother - but as someone who likes words (and uses them a lot) I feel pretty good about my ability to communicate with people. Which is probably why I tend to OVER-communicate when it comes to my own children. I've just always wanted my kids to feel like they can ask me anything, and count on receiving honest and sincere answers.
If you've been a parent for more than 45 minutes, you know that this is a bad, BAD parenting technique.
Allow me to share with you a bit yesterday's conversation with Ella and Evie:
Where do babies come from?
(Oops! Don't hit the brakes...) Um, what did you ask, Ella?
Where. Do. Babies. Come. From?
Oh. Well, you know the answer to that, right? When a mommy and a daddy love each other very much, and God decides they are ready, He puts a baby in the mommy's tummy. (That's a good, honest answer that ought to make her happy.)
I know God puts it in your tummy, but HOW does He put it in your tummy?
Um... Uh... (Stall! STALL!!!! Maybe she'll forget what she asked.)
HOW does God put a baby in your tummy?
Oh. Well... (OK, what was that one answer you heard someone suggest that one time? Just go with that. And make it snappy.)
(Crud.) I said, 'Mommies and daddies give each other a special hug, and when they hug it makes a baby.'
Oh! Like Daddy hugs me?
(Oy.) Not exactly.
I hugged Luke one time. Do I have a baby in my tummy?
(Oh wait, stay calm. You're a cool, honest mom.) I mean, no - it's a very, very special hug and you only hug like that when you're a mommy and daddy and you're ready to have a baby.
Does the daddy pick the mommy up when he hugs her?
(I suppose laughing now would be inappropriate.) Uhhh... I guess he can.
I saw Daddy pick you up one time. He likes to wrestle with you, too.
Yeah... (I'm going to KILL him.)
I like hugs.
I know you do. I, uh, like hugs too. (Wrap this up.) But no special hugs until you're all grown up, okay girls?
(CHANGE THE SUBJECT!!!)
And hey - no growing up too fast! You kids are getting so big! I can't believe how tall you're all getting!!
Don't worry, Mommy. We won't grow up too fast, because we don't want you to get old. Because then you're going to die, right?
(Dear Lord, this parachute is actually a knapsack.) Yes, Evie, I'm going to die.
But don't worry, Mommy! When you die, you're going to heaven, right?
Uh, right. Yes, someday Mommy will go to heaven. (I'm halfway to dying right now...)
Will you see Gigi in heaven?
Yep, Gigi will be there. (Stick to great-grandma. Please.)
Because everybody who dies goes to heaven, right Mommy?
(Ugh.) Well... everybody who knows Jesus will go to heaven. (Please, PLEASE stop there. I'm so not ready to explain the concepts of heaven and hell to a five-year old.)
Yeah, I know who Jesus is. We talk about Him at church all the time. He did all kinds of cool stuff.
(Deep breath. You don't want to miss this opportunity!) Well, yes He did, Ella. But it's not just about knowing Who He is. It's important to actually ask Jesus to come and live in your heart.
I did that, Mommy!!
Yep, you sure did, Evie. Do you remember when you prayed with Mommy and Daddy and asked Jesus into your heart? That was a very special day. (The BEST.)
I asked Jesus into my heart too, Mommy.
You did, Ella? When? (And how did I miss that?)
Just now. I said it really fast in my head so you couldn't hear me. I'm ready to go to heaven now!
(Ugh. Where is our exit?!?) Well Ella, we don't just ask Jesus to live in our hearts so we can go to heaven. We ask Him into our hearts so that He'll forgive us for our sins and help us to make wise choices.
Yeah, I pray for Jesus to help me obey.
That's great, Ella! (I just wish you wouldn't talk down your shirt when you're praying. This whole 'Jesus-lives-in-my-heart' thing is too hard to explain to a literal-minded 6 year old.)
It's doesn't work, though. Naughty Jesus!
(Okay, forget it. There's the exit anyway.) Hey, who wants to get a treat?!