T: Mummy – when were you made?
M: Oh – a long time ago honey.
T: Back in the time of dinosaurs?
M: Oh – not that long ago.
T: But when Mummy?
M: Well, my mummy and daddy went on a holiday after they got married and that’s when I was made.
T: and then what happened?
M: Well, then I grew in my mummy’s tummy until I was ready to be born.
T: Like me – I grew in your tummy?
T: How come I didn’t grow in Daddy’s tummy? Can I grow a baby in my tummy?
M: No honey. Babies don’t grow in daddy’s tummies. Only Mummy’s have the right parts to grow babies in their tummies.
T: Oh. (Big sigh) So what do the daddies do? Do they do anything?
M: Yes, it takes a mummy and a daddy to make a baby.
T: But how?
M: Well, Daddy has a seed and Mummy has an egg
T: (T has a big snort here) An egg?
M: not like a chicken egg. People eggs are so small you can’t see them. You know, how when we plant a seed in the soil, and water it, it grows into a plant? That’s what happens with a baby – it grows inside mummy.
(At some point I talked about mummy and daddy having a magic hug to create people – a term I found while reading something about talking to kids about procreation. Now D is worried about T wanting to give his little girlfriend a “magic hug”. Hopefully he’ll remember that the magic hug is only between mummies and daddies. )
The magic part lead to this exchange:
T: Magic, like in the bathroom magic. That was so funny!
M: What was so funny?
T: that the toilet flushed all by itself and the water came out when my hands were there. How did it know to do that? That’s magic.
M: And the hand dryer was magic too!
T: Yeah – it was cewel!
(The bathroom was at Whole Foods, with automatic toilet flush, faucet activation and hand dryer activation – fascinating to a 4 year old. But as D said, not as cool as the bathroom in a creperie in Marseille, with a rotating/cleaning toilet seat activated by the light switch!)
M: Night muffin. We love you. Go to sleep now.
T: I’m not a muffin, I’m T. M. (pause) And I have another name, don’t I? A middle name. I don’t remember what it is.
T: That’s funny. Like Uncle Kingsley?
M: that’s right. He and you are named after mummy’s grandfather Kingsley.
T: What about Auntie Clare?
M: She’s married to Uncle Kingsley. She and Kingsley are Freddie and Harry’s mummy and daddy. They are your cousins. Uncle Kingsley is mummy’s brother. Like Uncle Mike is daddy’s brother. And Auntie Kerry is daddy’s sister.
T: um (confused)
M: Like C’s big sister R. They have the same mummy and daddy (this is going to lead to trouble soon with brothers and sisters with different mums and dads but we’ll go with this for now!)
T: So Daddy and Kerry and Mike?
M: Yes – they have the same mummy and daddy. Kerry, Mike and Daddy all lived together when they were little.
T: With Uncle Tom? (Tom is Kerry’s husband)
M: No, honey. Kerry didn’t know Tom until she was grown-up.
T: Well, where did Tom live?
M: He lived with his mummy and daddy and his brothers and sister.
T: Oh. What were there names?
M: I don’t know – maybe you can ask Uncle Tom the next time you see him.
A few seconds later:
T: Mummy, what day is it today?
T: starts singing the days of the week
M: time for sleeping, honey.
T: Mummy, when is swimming?
M: On Wednesday.
T: (still singing days of the week). Mummy, I was scared during the fire alarm during swimming the other day.
M: I know you were. It was very loud, wasn’t it? But you were safe with your teacher. And you found mummy outside. And then you got to see the fire pumper truck and then you had the rest of your swimming lesson.
T: Some bad person pulled the bell. That was bad, wasn’t it?
M: Yes, we don’t want to pull the alarm unless there is a fire. Hopefully there won’t be an alarm this week during swimming. So you can practice your swimming.
T: Yeah – like this (demonstrates holding a float board) and I put my face in the water.
M: Yes, like that. Now, it’s sleep time.