Or so I thought when I was four years old.
My mother was trying to explain sensitive matters of love and sex to me, stemming from some random question I asked her about her newest pregnancy. To be certain, she could have told me she ate a magic cookie sprinkled with pixie dust and it put a baby in her belly, and I would have been satisfied, and understanding of her silly tales when I got older. But, Good Woman that she is, she decided she should explain things to me.
And so she sat me down at the kitchen table that sunny afternoon, while I snacked on Swiss Cheese Crackers and a glass of milk. She cleared her throat. I grinned at her. Honestly, I’d probably already forgotten my question by then, but she was Determined. She was Ready. It was time for a Talk. She cleared her throat again.
“When mommies and daddies love each other, they have sex. Having sex can make a baby.”
I nodded and kicked my feet under the table. She told me to settle down. I obeyed. “Do you kiss a lot when you get married, Mommy?”
She cleared her throat again. “Yes. When two people love each other very much, they kiss a lot. And they might make babies.”
“I know! I saw!”
My mother turned bright red. “You saw* what*?”
“When you kissed Daddy. I saw little tiny things moving from his mouth into yours, and they went down into your tummy, and now you will have a baby!”
My mother’s lips get tight and she smiled at me. She looked like she’d had enough for today. “Yep. That’s how it’s done.” Good Woman though she may be, she obviously wasn’t ready for this talk with her young daughter.
“Can you marry a girl?”
“No!” She spluttered. I laughed.
“I want to marry a girl!”
My mother turned red. My father returned home from work. He came into the kitchen and kissed my mother. I giggled. Babies were being made, right in front of me, and everything. Then my father kissed the top of my head. I wiped my hair off.
“Can I only marry a man?”
“Yes.” My mother looked relieved.
I had to think about this one for a while. My mother finally got up to put some supper on, and my father was washing his hands in the sink. I didn’t know any men. All of my little friends were girls, I only knew my uncles, who were five or six years older than me, and could be mean, one old, old drunk uncle who frightened me, and the only grandfather I had had been disowned years before I was born. My father’s father died when he was two. Finally, I came to the only logical conclusion.
“When I grow up, I’m going to marry my Daddy!”
The room was silent. My mother stifled a giggle. My father dried his hands off and said, wryly, “Not in this country.”
I kicked my feet under the table again. I remembered my father had kissed the top of my head when he came in. I touched my hair.
“I have babies in my head,” I said.
So, what were your familial misconceptions as a child?
(This ought to make for a great sequential thread sequence, now that I think of it.)