Thursday, August 23, 2007

Thanks to Tom Brady . . .

I got to have an awkward, torturous conversation, highlighted by pretzel-like contortions at the dinner table last night when my kids asked me how New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (whose jersey they have, a poster of whom decorates my 6-year-old son Casey’s wall) can become a father without being married to the mommy.

After attempting to gracefully explain the situation without getting mired in graphic detail as my first grader, who still watches “Sesame Street,” was sitting at the table – and uncertain as to what type of information they were actually seeking – I punted:

“Um . . . Well . . . It’s complicated. He’ll be the dad, but he won’t live with the baby . . . What’s that? HOW did they make the baby? Well, Casey, they just did. It takes a mommy and a daddy to make a baby together . . . Why did they make the baby? I don’t know. Um . . . Could you pass the chicken please? And, hey buddy, wouldn’t you like some chocolate ice cream for dessert?”

When Casey is a bit older and mature enough to handle solid information (like the kind I’ve given my nearly 9-year-old daughter), I can explain the nuances of unmarried parenthood to him. Or maybe provide a fuller explanation as to why Lorelai Gilmore on the “Gilmore Girls” — which Abbey and I like to watch together — had a baby without being married either.

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Jessica said...

That is never an easy conversation to have with your children. I have friends who were married a few weeks ago. They already have a child. That was a fun conversation let me tell you.

adena said...

I think this is what you might call a "teachable moment." You could say something like this: the best thing is if a mommy and a daddy are married and then they decide that they want to have a baby together, and the sperm and the egg meet, and that makes a baby. But sometimes, people aren't married, and the sperm and the egg meet, and they have a baby anyway. The problem with this explanation is that he will then ask: how do the sperm and the egg meet? So then you have to decide if you are ready for the big moment of truth.

All I can say is: good luck!