This post was inspired by a writing prompt from Write on Edge.

Pivotal conversations …

“Wanna come over and see my new baby brother?” I ask my best friend, Dara.

“Maybe.” she replies with a shrug. I can tell that babies don’t hold any special endearment to her either since we’ve both been recently ousted from our ‘baby of the family’ status.

She and I are sitting cross-legged on the playground’s concrete. There are no swings or monkey bars on which to play, just the fading outline of a hopscotch template. Our knees are touching and though it’s only morning, they already show signs of the day’s adventures. We toy with the loose gravel between us. We are hunched over, bending our heads close in a huddled conference. Dara and I have followed my older brother and sister to school, even though it would be another 2 years before she or I even start kindergarten. No one is around but still we whisper, so as to not draw any unwanted attention to ourselves. We do not want a repeat of the last time we followed them to school, and actually marched right into the school with them after the bell rang. Neither of our moms were nearly as entertained by this impromtu visit as was the school’s Principal, what with newborns at home and all.

Then we get down to business.

“Did you ask her?” Dara inquires.

Curious about our mothers’ growing bellies and the sudden appearance of a tiny human being, we had pinky-swore to each ask our mothers, where do babies come from?


“And?” her eyebrows raise inquiringly.

“She didn’t want to talk about it. Too tired. She’ll tell me later, she said.”Β  is all I have to offer her.

“You?” I ask.

“Yeah, I asked her.”

“So. What did she say?”

“She told me she pooped the baby out …” Dara states matter-of-factly.

“You’re lying!” I hiss.

“Swear to God! That’s what she said!”

“Woah.” I think to myself but I say nothing outloud.

What else was there to say? It made sense at the time.

That’s the way I remember it – one of my life’s first pivotel conversations.Β  Of course it would be years before I learn the truth, and Dara’s inaccuracy, on the miracle of birth. On that day in September 1967, however, Dara had held the key to life and had passed it on to me.

20 Responses to Pivotel Conversations …

  • Oh how I adore this- the knees touching already showing little girl wear, the follow to school (I die) and the pivotal conversation and time in your life.

    The ousting that comes with having a new baby, and yowsa the talk!

    This? Is fantastic. Hat tip. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Galit – both for stopping by and for commenting. Writing from prompts is a bit of a departure for me but I certainly found it fun and this particular prompt evoked some memories πŸ™‚

  • Your writing conveyed the innocence that was so characteristic of a child. I wasn’t surprised that at that age, this particular conversation must have been close to a life-changing experience πŸ™‚ Now that I’m a mother to a seven-year old daughter, I’m back to being clueless, this time on what would be the best way to explain where babies come from! LOL

    A wonderful response to the prompt!

    • Thanks for visiting! If I recall, I think I downed 3 glasses of wine before summoning the courage to have “the talk” with my oldest πŸ™

  • When I was about 8, my mother gave me “the talk”. She made it sound very much like a hospital procedure. I didn’t know the words, overies, sperm, erection, vulva, vagina, or any of the correct terms for any damn things.

    I firmly believed until I was about 13, that you went to the hospital to have intercourse.

    • OMG Linda that is TOO funny. I think in the end my mom gave me an animated book to look at … but all the mommy and daddy were doing was cuddling in bed!!

  • Love this! You’ve done a great job reminding me of those innocent years.

    • Thanks Marlene … thinking back they were pretty carefree, unstructured days. We only got 2 TV stations: CBC French and CBC English – neither that had any daytime children’s shows…. we spent A LOT of time outdoors. I’m pretty sure this was one of those days my mom set me on the front step and said, “Don’t come back until lunch” !!.

  • I love the wistfulness of this, childhood secrets shared with a very best friend, a world where non-facts like that become a wonderous reality. Lovely.

  • A good one. Dara wasn’t far off, but at that age, it must have horrified the young mind. I love this sorts of memories and how they work themselves into our fabric. I had the blue book handed to me, not conversation with my best buddy.. I liked your way of learning much better.

    • Yeah – the book eventually made its way to me as well. Later on, I learned everything I really wanted to know (and a few things I really didn’t want to know) from my older sister !!

  • The details of those two girls talking..the bits of gravel, the touched heads? It was just perfection. I could see it, feel it.

    You made it so real.

    • Thanks Nancy. I mentioned to someone else that this post was a bit of a departure for me so am glad you liked it! Will pop over to see your blog as well!

  • Really a wonderful piece. I don’t think I ever really tackled the subject with my kids. I darted, skirted, and basically did a lousy job, but they somehow got through and seem to know where everyone originated. Great writing, Astra!

    • Well, like I said, I learned more from my older sister than I ever did from my parents on the subject of sex and babies so I guess you’re not alone. Besides, the school system these days does a remarkable job of educating our youngsters on sex. In fact – I just found this out last week – my boys’ HS has a sexual health clinic right on the premises! How times have changed πŸ™‚

  • What a great response to the prompt! I love how you captured the innocence of the conversation perfectly. You brought me back and helped me to remember similar conversations I had with friends at that age. I sometimes miss that sweet innocence of youth. Thanks for bringing it back to me, even for just a moment.

    • Hi Katie, thanks for droppinig in. Yes our youth sure do need some sweet innocence – at least mine do! Oh, that’s not what you were trying to say, I know! I’m just being glib! Will pop over to your blog again soon πŸ™‚

  • Astra, I love the innocent picture you’ve painted here with the two little girls, sitting on the playground, discussing the dreaded “birds and the bees” subject! I never learned anything from my mom. She always found it awkward to discuss “delicate” subjects, as she called them. Thank goodness for best friends who had more access to information than I did! πŸ™‚

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About Astra
Ottawa mom of 3 poking fun at myself, motherhood, and minor hockey! I am steering through life dodging stinky hockey gear and empty wine bottles.
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