Dot writes: and so we have come to the question every parent must, shuddering, face at some point: how much to tell them, and how soon? I’m not talking, fortunately, about the true Big One. (“Mummy, what do you actually do at work all day?” “Well, it involves irregular verbs…are you sure you’re ready for this?”) But one of the problems with having little boys who see no reason at all why their mum should ever be on the wrong side of a closed door from them, including when that door is the bathroom door, is that they’ve both noticed that something odd goes on at certain times of the month.
Frank is direct. “What dat? My see!”
Hugh draws on his experience to try to make sense of things. “Have you had a nosebleed, Mummy?”
It’s very hard to get this sort of thing right, isn’t it? My approach is, as far as I can manage, to answer their questions (it’s all normal and natural, let’s not seed any neuroses, etc etc), but being a university lecturer I do have to try very hard not to flood them with unnecessary information. Four-year-olds probably don’t need to have words like “progesterone” or “luteal phase” in their vocabularies, and when you find yourself drawing diagrams you know you’ve gone too far. So this morning I told Hugh that each month my body prepares itself in case there’s another baby. I have only myself to blame if he now thinks that babies come from nosebleeds.