I knew it was coming, but I kept thinking I had just a little bit more time.
Never doing anything exactly like you'd expect - Eli didn't ask where babies come from, but instead he asked about how children get their physical characteristics. So I take that opportunistic phrasing of the question to see if I can avoid the conversation I keep telling myself we need to have.
Me: "Well, the DNA of the mom and dad come together, and that's what determines what each child will look like."
Eli: "Yeah, but how does it come together?"
Me: "How does what come together?" (Like I don't know.) (Like if I say "What? dumbly enough, he'll forget and go back to playing with Legos.)
Eli: "The DNA."
Me: "You mean, how does the DNA come together?"
(Duh. Of course that's what he means. Has he ever seen you play this stupid before?!? Repeating the obvious?! Could I possibly make this more awkward? )
Me: "Well, the man has what's called sperm, and the woman has what's called an egg, and those each carry the DNA."
(Jason walks through with the laundry at this point. I look desperately at him, but while he notices me, he just smiles, and keeps on towards the bedroom to fold clothes.)
Eli: "Yes, but HOW do they get together!?"
(He's now speaking in a voice that tells me he's on to my stalling technique.)
I get up and move from where I'm sitting to sit beside him. "Are you asking me where babies come from?"
I look around to make sure Julia's not in earshot and then look back at him.
He leans in, knowing this is serious, and whispers, "Is it the kiss?".
It's with the exact same voice that he used when he told me he figured it out - it was just the reindeer part of Santa Clause that wasn't true....
I smile, contemplate saying yes, and then realize that will only create trouble.
Me: "No. It's something that comes after the kiss."
I look him squarely in the eye, preparing to tell him what I have not figured out how to tell him yet. What he seems too young to know, yet what I know the world will irresponsibly and self-centeredly share in ungodly fashion regardless with no regard to his age, or to his God.
Eli leans in, his eyes wide. "Is it bad?"
Me:(jumping to a response as I realize my pausing and contemplating could have the same effect as the rest of the world telling him...) "Oh no, no! It's a gift! It's just that, when I tell you this, I want you to realize that it's something serious. It's important to God, and so it won't be something we joke about or talk about with others. Many parents haven't talked to their kids about what you and I are about to talk about, and they need to have this conversation with their parents, not you or other kids, okay?
Eli: "Well, if other parents haven't told their kids, then why don't we just wait till I'm nine?." Then he laughs, awkwardly, looking at me realizing he just turned nine. "I mean, 10.," he says.
Me: "You want to wait till you're 10? Great. Done! When you're 10, we'll talk about it. Great idea."
We both smile, a bit relieved. I can't believe I'm such a lame parent. But, I've got another year, or so I think. I'll do better the second time, surely.
The next day, Jason is tucking Eli into bed. "I heard what you and Momma began to talk about yesterday. Did you understand all that Momma said?"
Eli emphatically replies: "Not a WORD of it!"
Jason then does a masterfully simple job of sharing God's design for life and marriage. And correcting some 2nd grade misinformation.