My friend Hannah told me a story about this gal she knows, who said that if you ask a child between the ages of two and four what it was like inside Mommy’s tummy, they will give you an eerily accurate answer.
When Hannah-who is a hair stylist-asked her son, he said, “Everyone was talking really loudly and there was this sound like wooooooooooooooosh.” So, like a bunch of ladies yelling at each other over a hairdryer?
Now, I am not saying that kids actually remember what it was like in the womb. I tend to go with the theory that they remember nothing until they are three or so. Those are the stories their future therapists want to hear. They don’t want to listen to them drone on an on about the time Mom took that shiny thing away from them. YAWN. Instead, tell me more about the time you were put in time out for giving the cat a hair cut. Now, THAT’S the good stuff!
If they do remember the time before birth, then I am in serious trouble. During the last month of my pregnancy, I beached myself on the couch and watched every season of Law and Order: SVU. So far, my children have not shown any creepy familiarity with sex crimes. But I’m sure any day now I’ll be reading CNN on my laptop, and Megan will look over my shoulder, shake her head and say, “Dat poor girl. Dey’ll never find her awive.”
But I thought Hannah’s idea was hilarious, and I could not wait to get home and ask my kids. First I asked Ben.
Mom: Ben, do you remember what it was like in Mommy’s tummy?
Strike one. Then I went to Meg.
Mom: Meg, do you remember what it was like in Mommy’s tummy?
Meg: It was HUGE!
Meg: …and SUPER SQUISHY!
Mom: Yup. Got it. Big and squishy. Thanks.
Forget I asked. I was hoping for ‘adorable,’ maybe even ‘sweet.’ Instead, I got ‘insulting.’ And now, I have created a monster. Megan rarely passes up on an opportunity to remind me how incredibly enormous and squishy my belly was. Just now, I asked if they remembered hearing anything, totally fishing for an answer that had nothing to do with being soft and pliable.
Megan said, “Oh yeah! I DID hear something!”
“Oh really…” I said, “What was that?!”
“THE FOOD! I heard all the food!”
Dang it, child.
Just for fun, why not ask your little ones if they remember being in Mommy’s tummy?
Meredith Bland is the mother of twins, born in 2008. Her popular blog, Pile of Babies, received a 2012 Golden Teddy Award from ParentMap magazine as one of their readers’ favorites.