I am pretty sure I just became public enemy #1 in The Munch’s pre-school. The things she may tell her little friends come Monday morning are guaranteed to get me crucified. It all started on a Sunday afternoon. The day seemed peaceful until The Munch started asking me questions about life and death.
Munch: Mamma, are you going to die?
Toni: Yes I am….
Munch: BUT NO!! I don’t want you to die!
Toni: I have to die Munch. It is a part of life.
Munch: But I will be so sad!!! I DON’T WANT YOU TO GO AWAY EVER!
Toni: Well, I probably won’t die until I am old.
Munch: Are you old now?
Toni: I am young at heart.
Munch: When will you be old?
Toni: When you are all grown up.
Munch: Then you will be old and die?
Munch: NO! I want you to stay with me forever!
Toni: Well, my heart will stay with you forever.
About an hour later…
Munch: Do all boys have a penis?
Toni: Yes Munch, all boys have penises.
Munch: Not every boy right? Just some boys?
Toni: Nope. All boys have penises.
Munch: But girls don’t have penises?
Toni: No, girls have vaginas.
Munch: But what are vaginas for?
Toni: Vaginas are for making babies. That is where the baby comes out of when it is born.
Munch: It does? I thought I came out of your back!
Toni: You thought you came out of my back?
Munch: I sure did! So does that mean little teeny tiny babies have to crawl into vaginas so they can grow in the mommy’s tummy and then come out the vagina and be born?
Munch: But I didn’t crawl into your vagina. I don’t remember that at all.
Toni: Well you sort of did.
Munch: Wait, so how did I get in your tummy?
Toni: Ummm… so daddies have little tadpoles that live inside their penis. They are really small. And when the tadpoles swim inside the mommy, a baby gets made.
Munch: But how do the tadpoles get inside the mommy?
Munch: Uhhhhh, the daddies put their penis in the mommy’s vagina, and the tadpoles swim out…
Munch: That is so funny!!!!!!
Toni: I know!
Munch: So is that how my cousin Calvin was made? Did his daddy put his penis in his mommy’s vagina so the tadpoles could swim up inside his mommy’s tummy?
Toni: That sure did happen!
Munch: Did Elliot’s mommy and daddy to that too?
Munch: And Ryhs?
Toni: Everyone who was ever born, that is what happened.
Munch: But how do the tadpoles make the baby inside the mommy?
Toni: The tadpoles are actually called sperm.
Munch: I never heard that word before. That word is so funny!!!
Toni: It is hilarious actually.
Munch: So what does the sperm do?
Toni: Inside the mommy, she has a special baby egg which lives inside her baby sack. So the sperm has to swim inside the baby sack, and then it meets the egg. The egg and the sperm join together to form a little teeny tiny tiny tiny baby.
Munch: A baby that is this big?
Toni: Exactly. And that teeny tiny baby lives in the mommy’s baby sack until it is ready to be born.
Munch: And then the baby is born and eats from the mommy’s nanas.
Toni: Yup! That is pretty much it.
Munch: That is so silly mom.
Toni: It sure is.
Yeah I could have lied to her about this stuff. It is not like I have a huge moral problem with lying. I lie to Munch all the time about toy stores being closed, or that the chocolate bar I don’t feel like sharing is made of dog poop. There are all sorts of reasons that we lie to each other that feel legitimate in the moment. Most often people lie because they don’t want to deal with the other person’s reaction to the truth. It is not that we want to conceal things, as much as we don’t want to deal with how people respond.
I think that is exactly why I decided to be honest. I felt like Munch wouldn’t be asking if she couldn’t handle it – so I wasn’t afraid of being upfront. Dealing with mortality is a huge part of existence, and the more you are aware of it, the more you honor the life we are given. Of course one can feel paralyzed by the thought of death, but we all have those moments. The important lesson is to appreciate life even though it may all seem futile because of our inevitable and ultimate demise. Even though I know The Munch doesn’t want to conceptualize me dying, I also felt it was meaningful to face the reality of it.
There is a certain irony that the penis conversation came up this same day -pun intended! Pontificating on the penis turned into an explanation of sex and baby making because of the questions Munch was asking. Maybe I could have avoided it, but hey, if we are going to look into the barrel of death, we might as well stare into the tunnel of life.
(Pretty sure that if Munch talks about all this at school to her little friends there is going to be a public lynching… Guess what Timmy, not only is your mom gonna die, but your dad put his penis in her vagina so his sperm could become one with her egg… )