One of my friends has recently announced she is pregnant. It’s her third baby and her two children are thrilled and couldn’t wait to tell their friends, which include my children. It has, of course, prompted both of mine to say ‘can we have a new baby?’ No, no you can’t. It has also prompted ‘how did she know she was having a baby?’ and ‘how did it get in her tummy?’ Gah! I hate those questions. Not because I’m embarrassed about answering them but because I genuinely don’t know what to say. They are 8 and 5 and I don’t want to scare them (or freak them out) but I don’t want to lie. The concept of ‘mummy and daddy having a special cuddle’ makes me feel weird never mind them.
My mum was great at answering all my many, many questions when I was growing up. She didn’t flinch when I asked about masturbation, prostitutes or lesbians and I can remember getting a book from her when I was about 9 about the adventures of a sperm and how he helped to create a baby. I seem to vaguely remember the sperm wearing a top hat and the egg wearing a veil but I may have made that up. I also remember watching a video in school when I was 12 about periods where we were told ‘it’s ok to wash your hair and have a bath’ – up until that point it had never occurred to me that it wouldn’t be fine but that certainly set me worrying. I don’t want them to be clueless about ‘that sort of stuff’ but how much is too much? If I was 9 when I got that book then that’s any time in the next year for my son and he just seems so young!
How on earth do you explain periods without terrifying them? They were horrified enough when they found out not all babies came of their mummy’s tummy like they did. ‘Out of where?!’ said Ben. Yes, my feelings exactly. So far I’ve glazed over the subject a bit. Muttered about seeds and eggs but if I don’t tell them one of their friends will and I’d rather they found out the truth from me. I suppose it’s time to look for a book. Or ask my mum to explain it to them!