Welcome to the second installment of my new blog series, “What are Those Things Called? Nipples. (Thoughts on Fatherhood, Inspired by Silly Conversations with My Kids).” Between entries on my efforts to write and market my children’s books, I’ll occasionally share random stories and musings about being a dad. If you enjoy this post, please like it and share it on Facebook.
It’s a lesson all men learn sooner or later—never ask a woman if she’s pregnant. I could be stuck in an elevator with a woman in labor and I still wouldn’t make a comment that implied she’s pregnant. Her water broke on the elevator floor? I have nothing to say. The baby is crowning? Nope, not a peep from me.
But when does one learn this lesson? Ideally this knowledge is passed down to a young boy before he embarrasses and insults a woman. Unfortunately, I failed in passing on this critical life lesson to my son.
My wife and I took our two kids to the doctor for their COVID shots. The visit involved a lot of waiting. Waiting in the lobby, followed by waiting in the exam room through various stages of questions and observation after the shot. The attentive nurse would pop in occasionally to check on us and ask if we had any questions.
Any parent will know that if you ask a 5-year-old in a new environment if they have any questions, the child will take advantage of the opportunity. The questions started innocent enough, asking her name, if she likes being a doctor (no, I didn’t feel the need to correct him), what does that random thing on the wall do. The nurse was great (it’s a pediatric doctor’s office, after all) and entertained his questions.
Just as our post-vaccination observation time was about end, the nurse popped in one last time. She asked if we had any other questions…and then it happened. “Do you have a baby in your tummy?” Logan asked, almost excitedly. I immediately got sick to my stomach. My wife slapped her head in embarrassment. We both loudly groaned and admonished him. The nurse quickly laughed it off and said, “That’s why I love working with kids. They always speak their minds.” She continued to laugh it off as she left the room and my wife and I showered her with apologies.
Once the door closed, I started in with the dad talk. “What are you doing? You never ask a woman if she’s pregnant. She’s clearly not pregnant.”
“What? I don’t just walk around knowing people,” our son replied, almost confused by our response to his comment. Our observation time was now up, and we got out of the office, staring at the ground and avoiding all possibility of making eye contact with the nurse.
Will a 5-year-old remember this lesson? Probably not.