"Mama, can a light-skinned mama have a dark-skinned baby?"
This is the question my almost 7-year-old asked me as he and I were driving home from a birthday party. I thought it was an awesome question. I tried explaining to him how babies have similar skin coloring as their parents, but a mama and papa can have very different skin colorings. Not that my husband and I have dramatically different skin tones, but there is a difference between us and subsequently, a difference between the kids.
So I introduced the concept of cells, which seemed to make sense to him. Then I went one step further and introduced, at a very very primary level, the concept of DNA and how that gives a body information about how to look.
Wolfie interrupted me and said, in reference to DNA, "...it also tells your body how strong it can be...or what you can be good at when you grow up...?" So, yeah, he was understanding it.
Then he said, "Oh, I think I know how a baby will know what type of skin it will get from it's papa even though it's [the baby] in the mama..."
And I thought - oh boy, here it comes. Wolfie's is going to say something about how babies are made. He's been introduced to some crude explanation of intercourse. I mean, he rides a school bus!
I'm secretly hoping he'll say something that resonates his childhood innocence, but still makes sense, and he opens his mouth, and I hold my breath, and he says, "The mama can see the papa's skin color, you know, with her eyes, so that's how the baby knows what color skin it should have!"
Whew! But not whew.
I teach childbirth classes so my children are pretty well-versed at how the babies come out and they know all about the benefits of breastfeeding but I know at some point they will want to know how the baby got in there in the first place. I better start looking for some high-gloss charts and diagrams.
Or wait and just go with the eyes thing.