I get the same question from Layla all the time: “Mommy, are you having another baby?” While this might seem like an innocent (even adorable) question coming from a six-year-old little girl, it’s not.
You see, Layla doesn’t constantly ask me if I’m having another baby because she has acute maternal instincts and can’t wait to push a more realistic doll baby around in her plastic Walmart stroller. Nope. She’s asking because she’s convinced there’s a baby in my stomach because my stomach is so big.
At first, the questions appeared to come from a genuine place of curiosity.
Layla: Mommy, it looks like you have a baby in your tummy.
Me: Well, I don’t.
Layla: But how do you know you don’t?
Me: Because I know.
Layla: Well, it looks like it to me.
But then they got kinda mean.
Layla: It still looks like you have a baby in your tummy.
Me: Well, it’s because you and Alex made my tummy look like this.
Layla: I think it’s because you ate all the Pirate’s Booty.
Now, the girl had a point about the Pirate’s Booty. But, come on! My addiction to Pirate’s Booty can’t possibly compare to the fact that I had two—count ‘em: two—nine-pound babies in my stomach at one point. No respect.
And then the questions got downright personal.
Layla: Why does daddy go to the gym and you don’t?
Me: Because daddy enjoys it.
Layla: Why doesn’t daddy stay home one time and let you go?
Me: Because I don’t want to go to the gym.
Layla: Because you want to be bigger than daddy?
Lord, have mercy.
At this point, I had to say something. I decided to sit down with my overly demanding, overly inquisitive daughter and talk to her like a grown-up.
- Layla, there is not a baby in my tummy.
- There will not be another baby in my tummy.
- When you ask me if there’s a baby in my tummy, it hurts my feelings.
- Your question makes me feel bad about myself, and I really wish you wouldn’t ask me again.
Silence. Sunken shoulders and a muffled, “Sorry, Mommy.” Whew. It worked. She never asked again. I was officially free from kid ridicule forever.
Until her younger brother started asking.
Alex: Mommy, why is your stomach so big?
Me: It’s not that big.
Alex: (Poking me in the stomach) Then who’s that guy?
Before I could say anything, Layla’s eyes grew three times their size, she tapped him on the shoulder and shook her head swiftly back and forth as if to say, “If you know what’s good for you, boy, you’ll stop talking right now.”
Whew. I was safe. Layla was on my side, fighting bad guys and negative comments on my behalf. Boom.
Until later that night when we were cuddling in Layla’s bed and this happened.
Layla: Mommy, I know I’m not supposed to ask about your stomach but I’m just sooooo curious.
Me: (Taking a deep breath to avoid exploding) What is it you’re curious about, pumpkin?
Layla: I mean, why is your stomach so much bigger than mine? Is it because you’re a grown-up and I’m a kid?
Me: No. My tummy is bigger because I grew two babies inside of it and it never went back to the way it was before.
Layla: And because you eat so much more than me.
Mother of Pearl.
I wallowed in my self pity for a couple days, contemplating my comeback. She was going to get a really grown-up talking to this time.
But then the internet gods (also known as YouTube) interrupted my plan by serving up this piece of goodness. Here’s Erin Keaney, not only embracing but also rapping about her post-baby belly.
My favorite line: “Today is the day that I pronounce: here is my muffin top, so watch it bounce.”
Amen, mama. Today’s my day, too.
After watching this video, I made a decision. I’m not fighting it anymore. My muffin top is what it is and I’m going to embrace it.
So, bring on your questions, kiddos. I’m ready for them. Just be warned: the next time you ask me why my stomach is so big, I’m going to reenact this video like a bad Beyonce spoof.
And, in all honesty, I kinda hope it’s in public.