The question every parent dreads arrived for me the other afternoon. It came from my 9 year old little girl, my own baby. She was playing on the carpet killing some time before we went to an activity and I’m not sure how the conversation turned but she suddenly asked how long I’d been married so I told her.
Sweetie: And how do you get a baby?
I had to pause and think fast here because I was a little bit caught out since I had presumed her older siblings had told her the facts from their s e x education classes in school. They hadn’t, at least not in a way she understood or was satisfied with. She’s a very direct and thoughtful child at an age where there was no point in trying to fob her off with The Stork or Mulberry bushes anymore, you know?
Me: Well it depends……(biding a few precious seconds before I knew I had to say the 3 letter word). Normally the mummies and daddies …. when they want to have a baby or at least try to make sure a baby will come to them …. they do have to have s e x.
Sweetie’s reaction was not one of utter revulsion (as mine had been when I first found out at exactly her age funnily enough) but of wild amusement! To my relief! Her whole body and face creased up in silent laughter, clasping both hands to her mouth so that only a little squeak escaped.
Sweetie: Were you naked? [Still barely able to contain herself.]
Me: You don’t have to be. (I was factually correct there wasn’t I?).
Sweetie: But were you?
Me: Not necessarily. (I was determined to stick with this).
Sweetie: Did you have s e x?
Me: Well, I’m afraid I did BUT you can have a baby in lots of other ways you know because if the mummy and daddy can’t then they go to the doctor who will try to help by giving medicines and sometimes a lady will be kind enough to have the baby for the mummy and daddy.
Sweetie: Where does the baby stay in the mummy’s tummy?
[Me: Oh gawd….]
Me: Mummies have a special safe place where the baby grows.
Sweetie ran off and came back with an Usbourne book, ‘ See Inside Your Body’ (which idiot bought that – oh, me, for our ‘reference library’). She opened it on the page with the full body diagram complete with lifting flaps. Thankfully it was a generic one with only the gut showing in the lower body and no incriminating parts. So I just pointed to where it should be and added that it grows as the baby grows and shrinks back down once the baby is born. I think she was confused about how a full size baby could appear in utero forgetting that babies grow from being very tiny which is a fact we’ve always told her. She seemed quite happy with that and moved on to ask about other parts of the anatomy on the page.
Phew! So how would you have handled it? Any tips to prepare me for a follow up?
Thanks for reading!