04
Mar
09

Forget the stork…

So my mother and I were chatting the other day and somehow the subject of where babies come from came up…

I was telling her about my long-held belief as a child that I was really a fairy princess and they were just weird people who were posing as my parents (this was generally rumination resulting from a certain sulky line of thought probably due to being denied the chance to watch more TV or forced to *gasp* do homework) until my REAL parents would whisk me off in a breeze of sparkly fairy dust and grandeur once I came of age.  (I may have read a bit too much imaginative literature in my impressionable youth.)

There was a (slim) amount of logic behind this supposition.   I’d never seen any baby pictures of me around though there were certainly photos of my baby brother in his cutting-teeth phases.   (Years later while cleaning out the basement and opening boxes, I did discover my baby pictures… complete with hair that defied gravity much more fetchingly than Don King’s.)  My mother thought that I’d have been able to see the resemblance between my father and myself (I had much better hair– for the record.)  Oh, and the fairy princess part was just because I figured my particular variety of weirdness necessitated a  supernatural basis…

Anyway, instead of the stork or cabbage patch as a diversionary tactic of squirrelly parents who don’t really want to answer the ever-present childhood question of  “where did I come from?” my mother insists that Taiwanese parents would generally say that they picked up the kid from the train tracks.

Sneaky parents–I mean, instead of some bird coming and dropping off the bundle of joy, they cast themselves as heroic saviors of babies left between the train tracks (obviously by poor parents who just knew someone would be along at some point…)  My mom said that this was generally said with laughter and then would be used by siblings to insult each other (i.e.  “Hah– you’re not even really mom and dad’s!  You were just left on the train tracks!”)

My mother said her parents never tried this with her or her siblings and she had no idea where the tradition of telling children this white lie came from.  After all, it must have been around the Japanese occupation, I’d guess, considering they did a lot of railroad building.  I wonder what people evaded their kids with before that…

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4 Responses to “Forget the stork…”


  1. March 4, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    That’s interesting. I had never heard that babies were picked up from the train tracks. My mom was very practical–she went to the library, picked up some books, and told us the truth. Come to think of it, she told us the truth about Santa, too. No fairy tales in our family! 🙂

    • March 5, 2009 at 5:52 am

      😀 Sometimes no secrets are best! My mom said that she never heard that directly from her parents– and they certainly never tried that stuff on me. Thanks for your comment!

  2. 3 Lon
    March 12, 2009 at 1:56 am

    Wow, I’ll have to start asking people here what their respective origin myths were in childhood! I have to say you cracked me up with your choice of tags for this entry. Take care.


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