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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 10, 2010

Of storks, kids and tap-dancing moms


By Treena Shapiro

The couple in the program I'd been watching weren't up to anything unusual for a pair of newlyweds, and their terminology seemed benign enough.

I hit the pause button to greet my incoming 6-year-old, not realizing that she'd caught a couple of four-letter words on her way in the door. But even if I had realized it, it wouldn't have fazed me. It wasn't as if she hadn't heard language like that before.

As it turns out, it wasn't the words themselves, but the combination that piqued her interest as she rephrased the statement she'd just heard into a question: "How do you 'make' a 'baby'?"

I looked at the couple frozen on the screen and wondered how things had gone so awry. The actors were standing in a driveway, separated by friends and family members, as well as several layers of winter wear.

As I stalled for time to come up with an answer, I mumbled some nonsense about storks and wishing on stars, which on a better day would have satisfied my curious little girl. But it wasn't my day. Instead of letting me off the hook, my daughter rephrased her question, substituting a simpler word to make sure I understood: "How do you 'get' a baby?"

Ahhhh ... isn't it lovely how getting something can be so much more convenient than making it? Still, I was able to come up with a vanilla but accurate answer that wouldn't raise eyebrows on the playground or network TV, yet was politically correct enough to allow for any manner of acquiring babies.

"If they're lucky, they'll end up with a perfect boy and a perfect girl, just like you and your brother," I concluded with relief.