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Friday, June 3, 2005

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

Babies, kids and
uncomfortable moments for Dad

It was a long day with a capital “L”. Most of it revolved around a trip to a doctor in Odessa.

She-who-must-be-obeyed is pregnant. At 36, she is a year past optimum foaling age.

So, her regular baby doctor wanted her to see a specialist in Odessa to talk with us about the implications of having a baby at her advanced age.

The trip included a sonogram and “genetic counseling.”

“What is genetic counseling?” Ruby Leigh, age seven, asked from the backseat of the Suburban.

“Well, the older the parents are the bigger the chance that there might be something wrong with the baby,” I answered best I could without getting myself entangled in an hour long discussion of what DNA is.

“Are you too old to have a baby Mama?”

“No, the doctor just found out that your daddy is from Alabama,” Mom answered deadpan.

And so we went.

To make a long story short, we saw a genetic counselor and then the doc did a sonogram.

The counselor was very nice and gave us the “how babies are made out of DNA” short course and explained all the tests and probabilities and such while Ruby and Carson Mae (age 4) drew pictures in her office.

Then we had the sonogram and we all got to see our newest family member who, I am proud to report, has ten fingers and ten toes and, sadly, no tail which has been a family trait in my family for generations.

Late that night we picked up my truck in Monahans and headed for the house. I took Carson and Mom took Ruby because they needed to be separated before they killed each other or we threw them out of the truck.

Rather than collapsing, as she should have since she had not had her nap, Carson Mae was a chatterbox. I do not know where she gets that trait - must be her Mom.

“How does the baby eat?” she asked as I pulled out onto I-20.

“Well, the baby gets food from Mama.”

“Oh, so there is like a hole in Mama’s stomach and that little monkey thing can grab food and eat it when Mama eats?”

“Uhhh, well no, not really. Actually the little monkey thing, I mean the baby, has a blood vessel that connects to Mom for now and that is how it gets the food it needs,” I said.

“So it can’t eat? Isn’t it hungry?” Carson asked. (She and I have similar priorities).

“No, I don’t think so,” I said.

(We keep referring to the baby as “it” because we did not find out the baby’s sex.) “I hope it is a boy,” she stated suddenly.


“Well, that way, when you are gone we will still have a boy to play with.”

“Oh,” I answered afraid to ask when her possibly clairvoyant, 4-year-old mind had decided I might be gone.

“I wish the air conditioner worked,” Carson said. “Does the Toyota have an air conditioner?”

“Yes but it is broken.”

“Did you break it by going, click, click, click,” she said jerking her hand side to side.

(At least once I have admonished her not to fiddle with the dash panel controls or they will break).

“No, it is just old. You know, I had this truck when I picked your mom up for our first date and that was more than 15 years ago.”

“Wow. That is a long time. Did grandpa used to have this truck?”

“No, and 15 years is not that long a time,” I said.

“Hmmm,” she said, obviously not convinced.

“Do you have to get married to have a baby?”


“Do you have to be married to have a baby?”

“Yes,” I answered quickly.

“But the doctor said I have all my babies inside me already,” Carson said.

I thought quickly (for me). Yep, the genetic counselor had mentioned the fact that a woman is born with all her eggs, blah blah blah.

Great. Just when you think kids are playing connect the dots they are actually listening to the grownup conversation.

“Well, you don’t technically have to be married but that is how God intended it. You should be married before you have a baby,” I said and felt quite good about my quick recovery and not entangling myself in a birds and bees type conversation that I am not ready to have.

“I think I’ll wait until I’m a teenager or 18 to have a baby,” she said.

“Or maybe 30,” I whispered / prayed although for Carson Mae 18 apparently is forever old. It also happens to be the number where she loses count and starts over with one, two, three.

“Do you have to wear white to get married?”

“Well, I guess not. It is your wedding I think you could wear what you want,” I said, relieved at the change of topic.

“Even red?”


“Even gray?”


“Even pink?”


“How ‘bout red with flowers?”

“It’s your wedding baby, wear what you want,” I said.

“Getting married is hard. First you have to pick a dress and then you have to pick a husband,” Carson said matter-of-factly.

“Yep, glad to see you have your priorities straight,” I sighed.

“When do we get to see the baby?”

Great, back to babies.

“Well it will be in October, another four or five months,” I said.

“Sure is a long time,” Carson said.

“I guess so.”

“How do we get the baby out of Mama’s tummy?”

“Oh Lord help me,” I prayed silently.

Now, I am not a complete coward and I do not believe in lying to children if there is anyway to avoid it.

I took a deep breath. I could do this I told myself. I can skirt gently around the details and present this in way that satisfies a four-year-old-who-is-going-on-21 without getting into issues that you just should not have to deal with at four (or as the parent of a four-year-old).

“Well baby, you see, girls have a special place that opens up when it is time for a baby to be born and the baby comes out,” I said.


You could have heard me swallow in Midland.

“Hey,” I said loudly, “you want a piece of gum?”

“Yes sir. Thank you. Where?” she said as she unwrapped the stick of gum.

“Where does the baby come out?”

“Oh. Here have another piece of gum. Look, there’s our house (thank you, thank you, thank you).


“Where what sweety?”

“Where do babies come out of Mamas?”

“Your Mama will have to show you. Boy’s don’t know that kind of stuff.”



We pulled into the drive and I opened the gate.

Carson jumped out of the car as soon as it stopped moving.

“Mama. Mama,” she was hollering as she ran toward the house.


I decided to hang out by the truck and maybe check on the chickens.

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