“Mummy, where do babies come from?” Anjali asked.
Oh my God! What shall I say? Its the BABY QUESTION that every parent dreads. I looked around. I had anticipated this question much later … like when she was 10….not 5!! ‘Breath…Breath’ I chanted to myself.
“What do you think?” I asked. This was a logical way to go.
“From the mummy’s stomach?”
“See, you know the answer! Good Girl! Now let me finish cooking the fish curry.”
“How does the baby get in the stomach?”
“Eh…well ,God puts it there…now go and study.”
“ Is God a doctor?”
“Yes. He is an excellent doctor.”
“ So, how does he do it?”
Shoot! I should have just told her that the stocks bring the babies! Imagination is good for children!
“ Mummyyyy? How does he do it?” she persisted.
” Well, it’s like this… first God checks out everyone’s report card for behaviour. If you have 3 out of 3 you pass . You can have a baby.”
“Then he says’ Let there be a BABY’ “ I said it which a dramatic flourish of my spoon and a bang on an old steel plate for the effect. ‘BONG!!!’ the plate echoed near my poor ears. I was pleased with my ingenious answer.
“That means he is not a doctor….”
“He is a magician!”
“How does the baby grow inside the stomach?”
“Like a seed.” I said dismissively
“Do I have seeds in my stomach?… Sidra (her best friend) says the babies are seeds in the stomach. After you marry and kiss, the seeds grow to babies…”
“Kissing ,eh?….okay. I guess that is true.” I went back to the onions and fish.
“ Yikes! Kissing a boy! Never” she said giggling and looking disgusted at the same time.
The kitchen felt hot. I took a cool glass of lemonade and split it for the both of us before taking a sip.
“ How do the babies come out of the stomach?”
I choked on my drink.
“ I told Sidra that everyone knows that you have to go to the hospital to get the baby.”
I nodded to approve her explanation.
“ For more babies, do we have to pray to God everyday or is it magic?”
“ Oh pray for sure!” I was hoping that this was the end of twenty questions.
Feeling satisfied with this reply, she walked out of the kitchen leaving me to grapple thoughts on how I should explain the birds and the bees in a few years.
“How does our Kitty have kittens? “she asked tugging at my apron.
“ Well, she prays to God in the Meow she says at night. Haven’t you heard her cry ‘Meow, Meow ‘in the night? ” Am so brilliant!
“Oh…ok.” she said as she left.
I sighed with relief and went back to chopping. She is sufficiently educated on the baby creation process for now. There is no need for any broad discussions.
“ Mummy?” she was back in the kitchen!
“What is this….” she asked reading out “Sss..Eeee..Xxxx?.”