My kids know nothing about birds, and even less about bees. In theory I want to be very matter-of-fact and unfussy in my approach to The Questions. But in reality my Ick-Reflex kicks in and I usually fob them off with vague mumblings and two chocolate biscuits. I’ll crack it eventually.
But when my five-year old looked up from his colouring the other day to ask me “Mummy, what are belly buttons for?” I had a moment of inspiration.
I explained to him that the baby, whilst in his mummy’s tummy, gets all his food through a tube called an umbilical cord. And I reminded him that when our baby was born he had a lump of the cord left, which dropped off to make his beautiful belly button.
“So, what” (here comes the great bit) “is the belly button for now?”
“It’s for reminding you that you were once in my tummy; that you and I were once joined together.”
Oh, the smile that spread over the face of my perennial middle child…
With a satisfied sigh, he looked back down at his colouring. Then, without even bothering to make eye contact, “Can I have a cheese sandwich, please?”
The umbilical cord was so much easier.
(Now, if you can help me explain to him why he has nipples, I’ll send you a life-time’s supply of chocolate biscuits…)