If you aren’t a particularly religious person, it can be tough to answer some preschooler questions. Maybe that’s why religion was invented. I sure thought of that in December, when I had Santa to threaten with. If we were religious, I could threaten with eternal damnation and hellfire ALL year, not just no presents in December.
When I asked my mom where babies come from, she told me that “Baby Jesus plants a seed in mommy’s tummy.” I don’t really remember much more about that conversation. I have three older sisters — I’m sure they leaked more information.
So recently Jack has asked, “When I was a baby, Viv was in your tummy, right?”
“Did she talk in there?”
“I don’t know. Probably. She never stops talking, you know.”
Jack thinks about this for a while.
“So, when I was a baby, was I in your tummy?”
“Where was I before that?”
Hmm … this conversation is getting difficult. Who wants a cookie?
“Where was I, mom?”
“Um, nowhere. You weren’t really anywhere.”
“Was I in dad’s tummy?”
“No, you definitely were not in dad’s tummy … dear god, really, here’s a cookie!”
Thankfully, that conversation soon ended, though I think we should maybe get a book about the human body, because he’s also really interested in lungs, which are easier to talk about.
But the whole religion thing keeps coming up. Jack thinks everything is a store — the grocery store, Target, those are his life. He calls McDonald’s “the fry store.” The bank is “the money store” (I wish). His daycare is near a church, and he asked me one day what they sold. “God,” I said. “They sell God.” What can I say? I was feeling cynical.
So today he asked again about the church, and I told him Baby Jesus lives there.
“Why does he live there?”
“I don’t know, buddy, he just does.”
“What does he do there?”
“He just wants everyone to be nice to each other. Baby Jesus wants you to be a good boy.”
“If I’m not a good boy, will Baby Jesus put me in time out?”
And then I just started to laugh. Um, kind of? If you believe in hell? But that was a lot to explain at 7:45 a.m.