First published in the Portsmouth News, Tuesday 7th October 2014
Something tricky arises once you have a family: the smaller members begin to wonder just how you went about getting them.
My eldest daughter spent a couple of years occasionally questioning how mummies and daddies went about the process of acquiring their babies. I managed to buffer these vagaries and head them off at the pass, always pleased with myself for having dodged the bullet again.
Until last spring.
India finally took it upon herself at Easter to begin formulating very direct questions: questions that appeared to require very direct answers. Curiously, no sooner had she uttered the words, “How did you and daddy put babies into your tummy? How exactly did we get there?”, than my husband mysteriously disappeared, vanishing into the ether of garden safety and tending to the chicken run with more diligence than I’d seen in a while.
I took a deep breath and, out of earshot of her younger sibling, gave a brief run down of how exactly babies are made, and what goes where.
I shudder at the memory, for it turns out that telling your daughter the whereabouts of particular key parts of anatomy, parts that are usually associated with expelling wee, can be mighty embarrassing. I stood there feeling like a form of sexual deviant, who should be clad in Marigolds and spritzing surface cleaner about herself in the manner of Impulse in the 1980s.
India cocked her head to one side upon hearing my biology lesson and computed this news to relate directly to her parents. The astonishing revelation of what exactly her twisted folks must have got up to in order to make herself and her sister caused her to draw her little brows together in puzzlement and, in her beautiful child’s logic, she piped up with the classic line, “Eew. Well at least you only had to do it twice mummy. Once for me and once for Amelie.”
And with that she was off, back downstairs to play with her toys and her ill-gotten sister. She’s never mentioned it again since, which always seems to be the way with kids – they simply accept things – unlike adults, who fight against it all with a cynical kind of logic that doesn’t exist when we are younger.
I suppose I should be thankful. When I pestered the answer out of my own mother I already knew how babies were made. I just wanted to see her admit it!