When it comes to explaining the birds and the bees, I’ve always believed that honesty is the best policy (well, as close to the truth as possible without scarring your children’s minds with images of mummy and daddy doing the fandango).
However, on a recent trip to the beach, a conversation about holes with four-year-old Boy-Who-Asks-Questions soon had me scrambling to get out of my own honest, but deep, hole.
After a morning of serious sandcastle making, my little family and I were sitting under a shady tree enjoying an ice-cream. For once we were all lost for words as we slurped away watching the activity around us.
Sitting immediately in front of us were two very pregnant ladies. I was admiring how beautiful they looked, (a few chicken feathers popped out my arms) but in my son’s mind they triggered a stream of thought that led us down this path:
Boy-Who-Asks-Questions: <licking ice-cream> “Mummy, when I was a baby was I in your tummy?”
Me: “Yes sweetheart, you were.”
Little Fairy: <interjects, not to be outdone by her brother> “I was a baby in your tummy too?”
Me: “Yes sweetheart, you were in my tummy too.”
Boy-Who-Asks-Questions: “But mummy, how did we get in there?”
Busy-And-Important-Husband: <looks out the corner of his eye>
Me: “Well, sweetheart, mummy and daddy love each other very much. One day we hugged each other and a little seed went into mummy’s tummy. Then I loved the little seed and it turned into you, and you grew into a little baby.”
Boy-Who-Asks-Questions: <still licking ice-cream> “But mummy, what did we do in your tummy?”
Me: “Well, you grew and grew until it was time to come out.”
Boy-Who-Asks-Questions: “Were there any toys in there?”
Me: “Um…no. But you definitely played in there. You used to kick my tummy and I’d feel your feet on the outside.”
Boy-Who-Asks-Questions: “But mummy, how did we get out of your tummy?”
Me: “Well, when it was time for you to come out I pushed you out of a little hole”.
Busy-And-Important-Husband: <eyes open wide and nearly chokes>
Boy-Who-Asks-Questions: “But mummy, where was the hole?”
Me: <pauses for thought> “(Shit, wasn’t expecting that) Well, um, the little hole was here, just below my belly button (ok, not the truth, but close enough).”
Boy-Who-Asks-Questions: <studies my tummy for a minute, seemingly unconvinced> “But mummy, will I have a baby?”
Me: “Maybe one day you will. You might meet someone that you love, like I love daddy, and have a baby.”
Little Fairy: <interjects once again, still not to be outdone by her brother> “I’m going to have a baby.”
Busy-And-Important-Husband: <frowns the ‘over-my-dead-body’ frown>
Boy-Who-Asks-Questions: <suddenly stops licking ice-cream and stares wide-eyed in realisation> “But mummy, does that mean I will get a hole too?”
Me: “Well, uh. No, because you will probably meet a lady who will have a hole who you will give the seed to. (Oh gawd, but what if he’s gay?) Well, that’s if you want to love a lady that is.”
Busy-And-Important-Husband: “Hey, look at that lovely puppy dog over there!”
Boy-Who-Asks-Questions: “But why can’t I have a hole?”
Little Fairy: “I have a hole.”
Boy-Who-Asks-Questions: “Does she have a hole?”
Me: “Yes, she does have a hole, because she’s a girl.”
Boy-Who-Asks-Questions: “But why?”
Busy-And-Important-Husband: <stands up abruptly with bucket and spade in hand>. “Come on kids, let’s go and dig a few more holes before we go home!”
So, after that first attempt at explaining the birds and the bees to my four-year old, I figure I need to brush up on my story before the topic comes up again. How have you broken ‘the news’ with your children? I’d love to hear your stories.