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"Daddy, Where Do Babies Come From?"

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"Daddy?"

"Yes?"

"Where do babies come from?"

"Um...well...ah....."

Sooner or later, and usually at the most inappropriate time (at a funeral, in front of Grandma, etc.), some version of The Question will emerge from your child's lips. It's almost a rite of passage into Black Daddyhood...as if our young ones are ensuring that we are adequately battle-tested before the onset of the hormonal firestorm that is puberty and adolescence.

Maybe it's the primal urge to know the story of one's beginnings that drives our impressionable sons and daughters to request an explanation of how mom and dad came together (honestly, no pun intended!) to bring them into the world. Or maybe they overheard fantastic tales of storks delivering newborns to doting parents and want to find out, once and for all, if they owe their existence to a winged benefactor.

Whatever the inspiration, our responses as Black Daddies tend to oscillate between evasion (a.k.a.: the "Go ask your mother!" technique) and deliberate vagueness ("Well, when a man and women love each other, sometimes a child is created out of their love." Child asks, exasperated, "Yeah, but how?" Daddy stammers, mumbles something incomprehensible and then says, "Go ask your mother....").

One veteran Black Daddy recalls his encounter with The Question. It took place on a bus packed with women. Shaking his head and chuckling as he related the story, he says that his five-year-old son chose this time to demonstrate his new-found knowledge of female anatomy by asking, "Daddy, how did I get inside Mommy's vagina?"

Dead silence on the bus.

And then a wave of giggling, barely concealed, travels through the passengers. The coup de grace was provided by the elderly woman sitting directly across from him, who burst into raucous laughter and declared, "Lawd, you betta answer that chile!"

Do you have your own harrowing encounter? And do you have any tips for successfully responding to The Question? If so, let us know!

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