There comes a time when I wonder if keeping alive the magic of the jolly fat man from the North Pole is actually being blatantly dishonest. Kendra and I have talked about that some lately and how it relates to our kids. A part of us wants to explain the truth if for no other reason than to erase suspicions of infidelity after our kids hear the song "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." But it is so hard to initiate one more paragraph in the chapter of their lives wherein they grew up. I had such a weird childhood that I recognize my tendancy to live vicariously through my kids, but I really want them to have a great childhood. However, I also want them to be able to trust me.
In light of these concerns, after a discussion on Mr. Kringle the other night Kendra told Connor that if he had any questions about anything, he should feel free to ask us.
"O.K.," he said. "Where do babies come from?"
"Santa Clause!" we blurted.
No, not really. That just might have further confused both issues. Instead we stammered a bit and finally asked him if he really had questions about that. He got this "I bit off more than I can chew" look on his face and quickly said he didn't have any questions.
Well, last night, after a few weeks had passed we asked him again if he had any questions about anything. Again, and I think in a calculated effort to get us to leave him alone he said, "Well, have y'all figured out where babies come from, yet?" Then he went on, missing the look on Kendra's face.
Kendra and I talked about it later. Could it be that the fact he brought it up twice in recent weeks mean that he is, in fact, curious? Pursuant to that, if so, should we have "the talk" before he is misinformed by someone else? Does the fact that he is even asking such questions mean he has already heard something? Could it be that he knows more than we do and is really just torturing us? All of the above are very real possibilities, but I am still flummoxed. I am not sure what the ordinary age is for this type of thing, but it may not apply since Connor is far from ordinary. He is very quiet, clever and analytical. He is aware that girls exist but is not convinced they are worthwhile outside his family. He is further aware that some are interested in him but he just finds them to be annoying unless they are good athletes.
As I go back on forth on the issue, the nagging thought I keep having is that in our society, innappropriate message about male/female relationships abound and kids are getting exposed to such things at earlier and earlier ages. Even if his questions are based only in curiosity of the science involved and the innocent question of where babies come from, perhaps it is better if his question opens up conversations that plant greater seeds. Seeds that hopefully develop a healthy respect for women instead of objectifying them. Seeds that encourage appropriate behavior. Seeds that help build healthy families. Seeds of what God's plan is for our lives. I must confess that I do not know the right approach is to this, but I hope I find it.
Maybe I'll just ask Santa to bring him a book explaining the whole thing. And maybe- just maybe- Connor will let me read it when he's through with it.