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Flea

Flea’s growing up. It’s rather inconvenient, not least because we had to trawl into the school uniform shop today when I realised she couldn’t bend over in her school pinafore without showing the world her Buzz Lightyear underpants.

On weekdays, the school uniform shop always has a queue of parents who seem to need to spend 20 minutes evaluating different gum shields. Then there’s Dragon Lady, so-called because when I was buying Flea’s pre-school uniform she almost made me cry by shouting, “What do you mean you don’t know how to hem it, lady?”

Anyway, we were queuing up with two brand new school pinafores when Flea tugged on my sleeve and asked, “Mummy, can we have a baby?”

All heads in the shop immediately rotate, Exorcist-style, until they’re facing me. Brilliant.

“No, we can’t. I thought you wanted a dog, anyway?”

“But you said I can’t have a dog until I’m seven.”

“Well, we’re not having a baby, sorry.” 

“Please?” she wheedles.

“No.”

"Please?"

"Flea, at what point do you think this is going to become a yes? No."

The other parents smile indulgently, while one or two do that thing of surreptitiously looking at my stomach to see if I’m pregnant, or just fat (it’s just fat, I assure you).

Just as I think we're done, it happens.

“Mummy?”

“Yes…”

“How do babies get into Mummies’ tummies?”

Obviously, being a bona fide parenting genius, I had an answer TOTALLY prepared out for this situation, designed to provide reassuring information while protecting Flea’s childhood innocence.

Or possibly, I just froze while everyone in the shop stared at me, waiting to see what I’d say.

And I came up with this gem:

“Erm, it’s pretty complicated. Shall we go and get ice cream now?”

I'm presuming there's a better way to respond to the baby question when posed by a five year old. Give me a clue, won't you?

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.

21 Comments

  1. 13th October 2010 / 11:53 pm

    Yes, another vote for the above. But I am convinced they know they’re mortifying us.

  2. S.
    14th October 2010 / 12:04 am

    I think we may have briefly mentioned / glossed over a ‘special cuddle’ and then bought her a book about how babies are made that talks about sperm and eggs but also rather glosses over how the two actually get together. Fortunately she was more interested in pics of the growing baby than working out the technical details. Phew!

  3. 14th October 2010 / 4:12 am

    “pretty complicated” just about sums it up, I think.

  4. 14th October 2010 / 8:33 am

    I cop out with “We’ll discuss that later, at home.” With the stress on the last two words.
    At home, I have a book explaining it all wonderfully for toddlers, and an encyclopedia for kids if they want more detail. Sorted!

  5. 14th October 2010 / 9:22 am

    Special cuddle? Brilliant.
    I’m thinking we need a book.

  6. 14th October 2010 / 9:22 am

    My stock answer to questions like this is “what do you think happens?” often they will just respond something and then forget it. Maxi told me that you eat a very small one and then it grows till you go pop and then went straight off to think about something else!

  7. 14th October 2010 / 9:23 am

    I like to think it was a conscious choice of words, conveying that lovemaking is a complex emotional and spiritual process. Not just panicking. *cough*

  8. mathew
    14th October 2010 / 9:24 am

    my sister asked this of my parents at abt the same age and the response was sth like “when a man and a woman love each other, they can kiss and a seed is passed in between them and the woman has a baby.”
    i put not kissing a girl till at least the age of 15 or 16 down to this “fact”.

  9. 14th October 2010 / 9:25 am

    Yes, last time it came up Flea said she didn’t think you ate them, but she thought you might ‘imagine’ them in your head and then they went down into your tummy. Which I thought was quite sweet. Better than cannibalism, at any rate 😉

  10. 14th October 2010 / 9:32 am

    That’s the kind of parenting I aspire to!

  11. 14th October 2010 / 9:41 am

    I think an ice cream related distraction technique is a perfect response.

  12. 14th October 2010 / 12:41 pm

    I have planted a gooseberry bush in the garden for just such occurrences. The fact that they are in for a painful experience if they try to take a closer look and that it involves small pricks is always a useful metaphor.

  13. Patrick
    14th October 2010 / 7:31 pm

    A cousin of mine had her daughter early and so felt ‘cool’ enough to share the details [almost] in full when the question was asked. After the explanation there was a pause .. then the daughter said, “eergh, that’s disgusting. And Auntie Debby has done it twice.”

  14. 14th October 2010 / 9:11 pm

    My best friend told my God Daughter when I was pregnant that I had eaten a baby and that why I had one in my tummy. She also told her how babies were born and she refused to believe babies came out your private area!

  15. 15th October 2010 / 7:38 pm

    When Max was 3 he nagged me for a baby (eventually provided when he was 4!). He explained to me that it was ‘easy mummy. daddy just gets the eggs from the fridge, cooks them and puts them in Mummy’s tummy ;o)

  16. 16th October 2010 / 11:22 am

    A ha ha! I’ve done this talk 4 times now.
    Shall I blog it?
    Most recently I got to do the “why does that say “1 in 2 couples may be trying at the wrong time…” explanation in front of a pharmacist and a queue of people.
    Damn these children being able to read and having no inhibitions!

  17. Steve Earl
    19th October 2010 / 11:52 am

    Two comments from my two eldest kids this week that made me shudder.
    Boy, three: “Boys at nursery talk about sh&t. What is sh&t?”
    Girl, five: “I did not sleep in the car because I controlled my eyes not to shut.”
    I am very afraid.

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