Thursday, October 25, 2007

Landmines

I've been trying to figure out how to blog about this...bizarre...conversation I had with Lana the weekend before last.

We were at the family wedding we attended the weekend before last. I had taken Lana to the ladies' room, and Lana looked at me and said, "She [the bride] have baby in her belly?"

(Allow me to say that it was, in fact, true, that the bride was pregnant. But, the bride and groom were both 38 years old and never married, and had been engaged for 18 months, and no one was anything but ecstatic for them.)

"Yes," I said. "She has a baby in her belly."

"Ashling [her cousin (not her real name, but, the way that Lana pronounces it)] told me so. Ashling told me 'Nee [Lana's rendition of the bride's name] has baby in her belly."

"Yes, that's right," I said.

Lana then looked at me with a very serious glint in her eye. "You grew Gabriel in your belly?"

I suck air in through my teeth.

Landmine.

"I grew Gabriel in my belly, that's right."

"Aunt S~ [my sister], she grow D~ in her belly?"

"Yes." I nod.

"She grow R~ in her belly, too?"

"Yes. And Ashling, and J~ and M~."*

"Buddy's mom [this is what Lana calls my other sister, whose child is nicknamed Buddy] - Buddy's mom grew Buddy in her belly?"

I nod again. I am waiting for another landmine. I am terrified.

"What about me, mommy? What about Lana? You grow Lana in your belly?"

[Landmine delivered.] I am pretty sure my eyes were as large as proverbial sausage plates at that point.

"No, sweetheart, I didn't. I didn't grow you in my belly."

"Maybe I grow in Daddy's belly?" she asked, hopefully.

"No, honey, Daddies don't grow babies in their bellies."

"Whose belly, mommy? Whose belly grew me? Whose belly grew Lana?" she demanded.

Holy crap. Has she peppered this bathroom with landmines?

Suffice it to say that this was not a conversation I expected to be having with Lana yet.

Certainly not in the LADIES' ROOM in Erie, Pennsylvania in the middle of a wedding reception.

For several seconds, I have a conversation with myself in my head that goes like this:

Me: Holy Mother of God. What the hell do I say?
Me: How the hell do I know?
Me: Why are we having this conversation right now?
Me: You have to tell her SOMETHING.
Me: WHAT?? What do I tell her?
Me: Tell her the truth, idiot.

(Do you think this inner dialogue indicates I might have just a touch of the the crazy?)

I looked at her tiny face.

"Whose belly, mommy?" she repeats.

I step on the landmine and wait for the explosion.

"Her name is Lien**." I said quietly. "Her name is Lien and you grew in her belly in Viet Nam."

I wait for further landmines. They do not come in the form of more questions.

"Let's go dance some more, mommy," Lana says.

The explosions, I think, come later - delayed detonation, perhaps. In the form of the drama/trauma and distress I described last week.

LM

*Yes, my sister, who is 5 ft tall and a size 2, has had FIVE BABIES. A size 2!! FIVE!! BABIES!! How is that even possible?

**Anybody speak enough Vietnamese to tell me how to pronounce Lana's birthmother's name? I have been pronouncing it almost like the name Lianne, but, with more of a soft 'e' sound than an 'a' sound.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Mia's Mommy said...

Well handled! I am soooo dreading that day! I've had the 'head' conversations with myself many times trying to picture what I'll say, when to say, etc. I think you did a great job!

Thursday, October 25, 2007 11:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

The woman who runs this blog is Vietnamese and her name is Lien. I believe she pronounces it Lee-en. She mentions it in this post.
http://thelotuslife.blogspot.com/2007/03/random-ramblings-dj-vu-and-names.html

Thursday, October 25, 2007 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Space Mom said...

VERY well handled. Kids at this age are trying to understand reproduction. And she will ask more in the future... but give her time

Thursday, October 25, 2007 12:45:00 PM  
Blogger LaLa said...

Well done mommy....Yeah, we had ours at the beach this year when cousin Tiffany was preg. and the baby in the belly came up. My hubby had to say "Daddy was in Gigi's belly" so Annslee runs over and points to mine and says "Anns in Mama" Thanks Daddy!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger StorkWatcher said...

I've heard several parents (both adoptive and biological) say they dread the moment they have to answer the questions about where babies come from. I think we adoptive parents worry about it more than others.

And many people say that they're so surprised when the most basic of answers satisfies the kid's curiosity. So I think it's good to let these early dialogues happen on a relaxed setting (such as a ladies' bathroom at a wedding reception!) when the child initiates, and then when she want to ask the questions expecting the BIG answers, you'll all be more comfortable with the discussions and will have the basics to build on.

We've been told to not get too deep unless your child leads you there - lets you know he's interested in the more detailed answers and ready to handle them (whether or not we are!)

Thursday, October 25, 2007 12:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

I think that was the best way to answer the question. And you'll get used to this conversation... I've had it dozens of times with R. But Lana sure did pick a great time for asking that question - yikes! And I bet you're right, I bet that was why she was having touble last week. Just keep talking about it, from time to time, in a casual manner, and it will become less of a landmine for you, hopefully.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 1:45:00 PM  
Blogger mommy magallanes said...

I agree. I think that you did a beautiful job with your daughter.

I had an Auntie Lien. We pronounced it the same as jonathan said, Lee-en (only you'd have to say it faster - it's one syllable, not two). HTH.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 11:29:00 PM  
Anonymous E. said...

Since my sister is pregnant now, I'm hoping Tank Boy asks some of these questions this winter. I don't think he will, though, being barely three and all. I think you handled it well.

Friday, October 26, 2007 9:22:00 AM  
Blogger Mama2Be said...

It sure sounds like you know what you're doing! What a tough conversation though... something I can look foward to?!?!?!?

Friday, October 26, 2007 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous rachel said...

I think you handled the conversation very well. Age appropriate straight talk seems to be the best solution, in my opinion. It's so difficult to have that conversation not knowing what thoughts are swimming around in those little heads. It will get to be more of a natural conversation as time goes on. We have only just begun to talk to Sera about her time in Vietnam as well. It's proving to be much trickier than it was with our first daughter who was adopted at 10 months of age.

We all find our way eventually and it sounds like you and Lana are doing just fine!

Friday, October 26, 2007 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger niobe said...

Sounds like you answered this absolutely perfectly.

Saturday, October 27, 2007 7:57:00 PM  
Anonymous jena said...

sounds like you handled fantasticly- Khai's first mom's name is Lien too. Such a beautiful name.
This post brought tears to my eyes

Saturday, October 27, 2007 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Nicki said...

Wow, landmine indeed. Kids have the damndest of timing!!!! I think you handled it perfectly. *perfectly*. ANd just think - the other big landmines in life - non-adoption related - will likely be a breeze in comparison!! :-)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 11:49:00 AM  

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