My son has been trying to figure out gender, and where babies come from (though I don’t think he yet realises that these two issues are closely intertwined). The resultant discussions have lead to some… interesting conclusions and summaries on his behalf.
He seems to have finally figured out that boys become men, and girls become women (at least, in the usual course of things). The other day he decided this was more than a question of fact; that this also meant he liked boys and men better than girls and women – quite possibly because he now understood that he was the former rather than the latter. He conveyed this to me in the following way (all of this was said with the cheekiest of smiles on his behalf):
“Don’t like girls, don’t like ladies. You in the rubbish mummy. 60 minutes, you go in the rubbish.”
As a friend pointed out, I should be glad I got an hour reprieve!
Then yesterday, he decided he wanted a sister. He told me he wanted five people in the family, not four. I tried to explain (in a rather misguided fashion) that a sister was too expensive, that we couldn’t afford another child; he knows what “expensive” means, I wanted to use concepts I knew he understood. Before I really got the chance to clarify, he told me that when he is 18 – which is our agreed upon answer as to when he will be a man and can get a job so he can buy his own grandfather clock – he will buy a sister for himself. And then told me he would buy one from “The Warehouse” (a local store). I said he couldn’t do that, so he told me he’d buy her from the “People Shop”.
I tried to gently explain that it wasn’t just a question of money when people had children; that children don’t come from shops, they come from mummy’s tummy. (We’d had this discussion before.) I asked if he remembered when I had his younger brother in my tummy. He looked thoughtful and then gave an understanding of where babies come from, in his own words. To understand this, you’ll need to know that he directly associates cake with birthdays. He said to me:
“Mummy’s tummy, then cake.”
Yes, I guess that’s right. Birthday happens after coming out of mummy’s tummy (or rather, at the same time as coming out of mummy’s tummy).
Maybe when we have lots more money, more time, and both the boys are at school, I’ll consider trying to make him a sister. But for now, there’s no rush to put our order in at the People Shop.