Max has been asking me recently about how he 'got into mummy's tummy'.
'Good question' I say. I have read somewhere that this is a perfect stalling tactic when you get the hard ones. And it's true, it gives the mental cogs just enough time to get going and create a diversion.
I pause. 'That really is a good question...but it's quite complicated and I'll need a pen and paper to help with the explanation.'
Each time the subject has been raised I've been relieved that we're in the car or in the garden or out for a walk, no paper or pens in sight. Then yesterday, quite forgetting my promise, I suggested we do some colouring and out came the crayons and pencils.
'Now...' said Max and I immediately saw where he had got me. Drawing equipment was sprawled about the table.
'Lets do how-Max-got-into-mummy's-tummy'.'
We glossed over the nitty gritty, he is only three, and talked about how mummies have eggs inside them which presumably left him thinking we women are some kind of relative to a chicken. There followed a balloon-like pencil drawing of me; lungs, heart, diaphragm, stomach, intestines; that was about as much biology as I could fit in (and remember) and still leave enough space for a womb with Max inside.
He was delighted with the mini balloon-shaped little boy floating around in there but wondered if it was very dark inside, to which I replied, yes it was.
'Why is it so dark?' 'No windows' I say.
'How long was I in there?' Max's face looks serious. 'Quite a long time' I answer.
'How long?' he asks again, and then, 'why do I have to get so old in there?' I loved this, 'so old'.
I tried another picture of dividing cells that started sprouting legs and arms. My artwork didn't look very convincing but I was quite enjoying the excercise. A few minutes later Dom came and sat next to us. Max obviously had a nagging concern that he had been wasting precious time in utero.
'But why so long?'
'You can't drive a new car...' Dom said and paused to look at me. My frown showed some concern that my biology lesson was being consumed by exhaust fumes but Dom's eyes said 'trust me'.
'You can't drive a new car out of the garage until all the parts are inside; the engine, the seats, the radio...'
That was all he said and with that Max trotted happily off to make a garage out of lego. Car analogies are obviously the way forward.