Thursday, 7 February 2008

Difficult questions

I was just about to turn off eldest daughter's light; it was bed-time last night. "Yes?"
"I've got a question."
There's always a question at bed-time; delaying tactics usually. "What is it?"
"Well... I was just wondering. You know before I was born?"
"And you and Dad were in love?"
"Yes. Well - we still ARE, but yes..."
"It's just... How did your brain know to make a baby?"
Ahhh. "Well... It's not really your brain that decides if you have a baby, although being in love helps."
"So how DO you make a baby?"
Oh Gawd, here we go. "Well, all babies start off from a tiny tiny egg..."
"Yes, I know that, but how do they start growing?"
It's late, I want a gin and tonic, I can't think of the right words. I'm just going to cop out of this one for now. "Love, I really want to explain this to you properly but there isn't enough time now because you're meant to be going to sleep. So I'll talk to you about it another day, okay? Night night."
"But Mum!"
"Good night."

Breakfast-time this morning: me, rushing around making packed lunches, pouring cereal, trying to wake up. "Mum, will you explain now?"


Pacha said...

Emma asked me this morning who MADE her(delaying tactic too, she didn't want to brush her teeth just yet)...

Now, I'm not particularly religious but I find I have gone very religious when it comes to explaining stuff to the kids. About death for example, telling them about paradise is so much easier/nicer/less awful than saying; you die and thats that.

And when its early in the morning and I am caught unprepared God can be responsible for making children too...For now. I hope. Although I suspect that won't quite satisfy Emma's curiosity.

I remember being very confused as a child that Hart to Hart couple were sooooooo in love and had not one baby!

Pacha said... could go the religious explanation route too --- seeing as you are to be grandmother to the Little Lord Jesus and all!

Lucy Diamond said...

You're so right, Pacha! (And yes, how come the Hart to Hart couple only produced that little mutt - can't think what it was called now? Freeway?!)
I never thought I'd be that parent who fobbed off difficult questions with a "I'll tell you another time" but when it came to the crunch last night, I was so unprepared that I just totally stalled.
I'm going to think about the perfect answer for next time she asks (tonight's bedtime no doubt!) I want to give her the facts but in a nice way, and a way that doesn't make her go, "Ewwww! You mean Dad did that to YOU?"
Sigh. One challenge after another, parenting, isn't it?!

Lane said...

Freeway!! I loved that dog!

Strangley the teenager never asked me or at least I can't remember. Maybe she's told the little one because she hasn't asked me either. Maybe I'm just a bad mother:-(

I remember being at a (then) friend's house and seeing all these graphic diagrams complete with all the 'Words'. She'd just been giving little Freddie a lesson in the facts. It quite turned my stomach. God knows what it did to little Freddie.

I'm sure you'll be a little more gentle or maybe you could just say 'Ask your father'.

JJ said...

I too fudged that one when I was asked. Son was only about 3 (I promise) and he asked 'how come Perdita (101 Dalmations) got puppies in her tummy?' So I said 'Pongo put them there' 'How?' Oh dear. It's a nightmare. Several years later their godless mother was having a baby and I thought 'What a great time for the godmother to do her role. Ha, she can explain it!'

So yeah, I'm a crap mother too.


Lucy Diamond said...

Lane - lol at "Ask your father" - that is exactly what I'll say next time!
Poor little Freddie - I hope he's recovered. I fear years of therapy lie ahead for the boy...

JJ, I'm so glad I'm not the only fudger around here! And surely that's what godmothers are for, right? ;)

Leigh said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
That's all I can think of to say.
Oh, and...
Poor You!
[I'm blushing for you]

(I remember my own mother explaining that a man and a woman 'mated', but she didn't explain what that meant. I have long vowed to make it a bit less clinical when my own kids ask! It remains to be seen what I actually do!)

Lucy Diamond said...

Ta very much for the sympathy! ;)

You wait, it'll be your turn soon. Better get your thinking cap on, mrs!

Michelle said...

How old is she? My 8 year old is an expert at delaying tactics!!

We had the 'baby talk' a while back, as she's sooo curious about everything.. she was pretty cool about the whole thing. :)

Mind you, the worse for us was when she watched EastEnders, and said "mum, what's an abortion?"! Not something I wanted to go into with someone her age!

Lucy Diamond said...

"Mum, what's an abortion?" - ouch, that's a tricky one!
My eldest is 7, going on 17 judging by the flouncing about and door-slamming we've had lately...

Michelle said...

ahh.. one year behind mine. And yes, we've had some 'teenage moments' from her too!

liz fenwick said...

Having given 'the talk' three times now (the last to dd last year when she was 7 - and she said you and dad did that?) Is to answer the question that is asked and nothing more. You may need to dig a bit to find out what they are really asking then answer that. In my experience, great as it is - hah, that will put the hold on them getting more info than they really want - if that makes sense.

Other thing I did which I never regret was spent three hours in a bookstore reading all the books for kids on the subject. Wow, what a varriation but in the end I found a great one that told the facts but wasn't too graphic or too much info.

Good luck :-)BTW I'm still answering questions for the 15 year old ds because to him if he heard something and didn't understand to come to me!

Kate.Kingsley said...

"When a mummy & a daddy love each other very much they have a special cuddle and then 9 months later...." ~ aarrggh. I dread this sort of question, and I don't even have kids (yet).

My gran had to stop my grandad buying the NOTW because my mum once asked what a brothel was. Quick as a flash gran replied that it was a big pan for making broth in.

"oh, but it says in the paper that a woman has been arrested for keeping one".

"Yes, thats right, during the war everyone had to hand them so they could use the metal for munitions. She must have kept hers. tut tut."

Not sure how apocryphal this is, but I love the story.....

Lucy Diamond said...

Michelle, I naively thought they'd have to be teenagers before the teenage moments wrong was I?!

Hi Liz - ahh, a real veteran of difficult questions, then! That is a good tip about not answering more than you're asked - I do tend to go off on a long spiel with these things and usually say the wrong thing!

Kate, I love that brothel story! Fantastic quick thinking there!

Fiona said...

I do know an extremely rude joke that covers this perfectly but I think I better wait until we are all sloshed together...

Anyway, it's so great really, that she's asking you and not her friends. When my best friend told me, I thought she must be lying and promptly hit her.

Leigh said...

Sorry - off topic - you're tagged for the Good Vibrations meme!

Caroline said...

And if you could explain it to me too ...


We told J last week. He had it so wrong that we had to clarify. I say 'we' because I had a giggling fit and Gary had to help out. Gosh! I am so mature!


Lucy Diamond said...

Fiona, ouch, your poor best friend! I remember my best friend at primary school telling me the truth about the tooth fairy - gutted. I still haven't quite forgiven her!

Leigh - cheers, sounds a bit rude, or is that just me?

Caroline, just too mature for words! Being similarly juvenile myself, I'm now intrigued to know how he had got it "so wrong"!?

wordtryst said...

That's what I call timing...

Lucy Diamond said...

Yes, bad timing, I'd call it!