Whenever my two kids go anywhere near the topic of procreation, I start maniacally rambling about chickens. It started a few years ago at Zoomars in San Juan Capistrano, when my kids saw a chicken lay an egg.
“Look, it had a baby!” my then-4-year-old said.
This was parenting gift, in my opinion, allowing me to cluck and peck my way through the birds and bees for years, as if I, too, had laid an egg. Twice.
But kids get older and they ride school buses with other kids who don’t regard chickens as anything other than part of a sandwich. So when my 9- and 7-year-olds came home from school the other day claiming that they were on to me about how babies were made, I shouldn’t have been surprised.
“You did not lay an egg, Mom” my oldest started. “You don’t even have a nest.”
“Oh, yeah?” I challenged nervously, pointing to the overflowing laundry basket. “What do you call that?”
“Towels,” my youngest answered.
This was a golden opportunity, I quickly realized, to have the talk with my kids in a safe environment with someone they trusted most … their father.
“You need to have the talk with the boys when you get home” I texted him. “They’re onto us about the chicken.”
“What …. Chicken …” he texted back.
In all fairness to myself, I did tell him about the chicken. It’s not my fault he wasn’t listening, Regardless, it was clear my goose was cooked, so I sat the kids down myself.
“Well, how do you think you were made?” I asked them.
“You ate a pill,” my oldest said. “And then it grew into a baby.”
Huh. This was going to be much easier than I thought.
“And how did you get out if I didn’t lay an egg?”
“You pooped,” my youngest said.
“So how is dad your dad?” I asked them.
“Duh,” they said in unison. “He bought you the pill.”
Boom. Another gift.
“Well, glad we had this talk, guys!”
And then I excused them to do their homework.
Was this the right thing to do?
Could I have bought them a book, or told them the truth?
But what they don’t realize is that I already had. While the only distinctive characteristics I share with poultry are a protruding wattle and fleshy thighs, their mother really is a chicken. And this one flies the coop when it comes to anything to do with rolling in hay.