If you didn’t know by now (I don’t know how you wouldn’t), I am a mild-mannered school bus driver by day…I can’t tell you about what I do at night – it’s top secret.
Because I drive a school bus, I am privy to many things children will talk about when not around teachers or parents (they seem to think I can’t hear – I’m too focused on the road, you know). Most of what they talk about is mundane and full of drama (especially with the girls), but sometimes their conversations DEMAND that I insert my two cents.
However, it is rare to hear my elementary kids (grades K-5) talk about “the birds and the bees,” especially when the words they use are ones like “egg,” “sperm,” etc. Therefore, what was discussed today was destined to be turned into a blog post.
Not Supposed to Know
I was just driving, looking ahead at the road, when a 5th-grade girl (let’s call her “Sue”) sitting in a seat right behind me uttered the words “sperm,” “egg,” and “sex” in the same string of words. I am only assuming the string of words were put together in the form of a sentence, but the key words stood out above the rest she used. Immediately my eyes looked up to the rear-view mirror.
“Blah blah sex blah blah blah sperm and egg, blah blah blah, isn’t that right?” Sue asked a male student across the aisle from her.
Looking at Sue’s reflection in my student mirror, with a combined look of shock and inquisitiveness, I asked, “What in the world are y’all talking about?”
“Oh…yeah…we’ve been learning stuff in 5th grade…probably stuff we shouldn’t know at our age,” Sue replied. Then she called upon a 5th-grade boy (let’s call him Jack) and asked, “Isn’t that right, Jack? Tell Mr. Baker what we were learning about in class.”
Like a typical boy with little on his mind, Jack at first responded with a “Huh?” Then he went on to say, “Yeah, we talked about sex, and where babies come from, and all that.”
“And eggs and sperm, right?” Sue continued.
“Oh, yeah, that too,” Jack confirmed.
“Well,” I said, shaking my head, “you’re probably right…you’re too young for that stuff.”
“And a…a….a….” Sue stuttered, trying to complete a word.
“Asexual?” I questioned, attempting to complete the word she was trying to remember.
“Yeah! Asexual! We learned about being asexual, too,” Sue replied.
So, as you see, I was drawn into a conversation that grown-ups dread, especially when it comes to dealing with little kids that are not your own. Therefore, taking charge of the discussion, I immediately began to extend my wisdom on the subject.
“So, you know what asexual is, then?” I asked.
“Yes,” sue replied.
“Well, that’s what you should be…asexual,” I said. Sue tilted her head with suspicion.
“Yep, that’s what you need to be – asexual. That means you don’t need a boy; you don’t need to date anyone; you don’t need any of that – just have babies all by yourself, or cut off your arm and in no time you have another you, just like a starfish. Simple.”
“I don’t think that’s the way it works, Mr. Baker,” said an incredulous Sue. Then she looked at Jack and asked, “What wrong?”
Jack, looking a little sad, then said, “I don’t want to be asexual…I don’t like asexual. That makes me sad.” Then he stepped off the bus.
Cabbages On a Tray
With a serious, yet “no duh” look I caught Sue’s eye in the above mirror and asked, “Do you really want to know where babies come from?”
“Sure. Where?” replied Sue.
I explained it this way…
You see, first of all, all that stuff you see on TV, all that stuff in the movies…especially that Rated-R stuff…all of that is fake; don’t believe it. All that stuff you see them doing is not real; men and women don’t really do all of that.
Secondly, I have kids, so I know about these things. That whole “Stork” thing…that’s made up, too.
Here’s the truth, OK? What happens is when a woman has a baby, she goes to the hospital to get it. She goes to a really nice, expensive room, where she gets really comfortable and waits around a while. They put her on a bed, lean her back, and then cover her up with a blanket, making sure she has everything she needs. Then, at some point, the doctors and nurses roll in a cart with a big tray on it. On that big tray is a bunch of cabbages.
What happens is when they roll in that tray full of cabbages, the woman is then given one choice, one cabbage, to pick. She picks the cabbage she wants, then they turn it over. Whatever baby is under that cabbage is the one she gets, the one she has to take home.
That’s where babies come from. You understand, now?
“Cabbages, huh?” asked Sue, her lips snarled up to one corner of her face.
“Oh, and Sue,” I said, as I was approaching her stop, “this means if your mom wants to have another baby, she doesn’t need another husband, either.”
Sue looked at me, head tilted, with a look on her freckled face that screamed “this oughta be good,” and then asked, “Oh, really?”
“Absolutely!” I exclaimed. Knowing Sue’s mom is divorced, I went on to explain, “If she wants another baby, all she needs to do is call down to the hospital and order a tray of cabbages, and they’ll get one ready for her. Then she can just pick.”
Stepping down the stairs after the bus came to a stop at her street corner, Sue looked back at me with a smile and said, “Cabbages, huh? Have a great day, Mr. Baker…see you tomorrow.”
And THAT is how a bus driver explains the birds and the bees.