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When to tell children about the facts of life?

"WHERE did I come from, Mummy?," my son asked me the other day. The question came out of the blue, taking me completely by surprise.

 Four year-olds are naturally curious and Gary, of course, is no different. Recently, though, a lot of his questions have been asked a bit too loud for my liking. "Why has that man got no hair, Mummy?" "Why is that lady in a buggy, Mummy?"

I usually find myself going a bit red and hoping that the people he is referring to can't hear him.

Anyway, I was doing some long-overdue ironing the other day when Gary asked where he came from. I decided not to tell him that he was found under a cabbage. I remember in school a girl told me that her parents found her under a cabbage in the back garden and I found it very strange indeed. I always try to be as honest as I can with my son, so I simply replied: "you came from my tummy, love."


Ice cream

I thought he would be happy with this. Usually he asks questions, gets the answer and then continues on watching TV or playing with his toys. However, this time he tilted his head and stared at my stomach for quite a long time with a puzzled look. "But where is the door?" he asked eventually.

"There's no door," I told him hurriedly. "The doctors in the hospital took you out of my tummy when you were ready to come and meet me.

"It was the happiest day of my life. Now, would you like an ice cream?"

Thankfully, the mention of an ice cream abruptly ended our previous line of conversation. But now I am wondering when I should tell him the facts of life. He goes to school in September (God, where on earth has the time flown to?) and I'm afraid of what he will pick up from the other kids. He recently came back from a play date and announced that "Mummies don't have willies".

I was so taken aback. I just said: "I know", like it wasn't a big deal.

I was around five when my parents told me about the facts of life. I remember there being quite a boring story about the daddy giving the mummy a seed and the seed growing into a baby in the mummy's tummy.



My mother recently told me that I had taken it all in, and then had gone out to play in the garden. But a few weeks later my mother received a very anxious phone call from the kindergarten teacher. She wanted to have a few words with my mother in private. So she went to the school curiously wondering what it was all about.

Apparently, we were growing watercress in the class room and learning a bit about growing things in the garden. Everyone was very excited, especially me. The teacher had innocently asked the kids if they knew anything about seeds. My hand had naturally shot up. I remembered in detail the chat I'd had with my parents about how daddies give seeds to mummies and I was bursting to share all my information with the rest of the class. Uh oh.