When your child asks ques­tions you don’t have the an­swers to

Evening Telegraph (First Edition) - - Uk World Today -

I’D heard about it, read about it and laughed about it.

The day when your child asks ques­tions you can’t an­swer.

So far, my el­dest has been im­pressed by my knowl­edge of mix­ing blue and yel­low to make green and know­ing all the words of Don­ald Where’s Your Troosers? But this week, things changed. Monty, 4: “Mummy, what are bones made of?” Me: “Em, cal­cium?” Monty: “What’s calt-ee-um?” Me (fran­ti­cally typ­ing ‘what are bones made of?’ into Google): “It’s er, good for you. You get it in milk.”

Monty (not con­vinced): “OK then. Jupiter is the big­gest planet.”

Me: “Is it? I mean, oh yes, of course it is. Did you learn that at nurs­ery?”

Monty: “Yes. What’s the next big­gest one?”

Me: “Em, I’ve just got some tidy­ing up to do.” Monty: “Where’s Papa?” Me: “Sorry?” Monty: “Papa. Your grandad, mummy. You said he died.” Me: “That’s right.” Monty: “So where is he now?” Me: “Heaven.” Monty: “Can we go and get him back from heaven.”

Me: “I’m afraid not. But we can speak to him — we just can’t see him.”

Monty: “But I want to get Papa back from heaven.”

Pause. I sip my cof­fee. Think about Papa. The mean­ing of life. Death. Monty: “Mummy?” Me (a slight croak in my throat): “Yes dar­ling?” Monty: “How many ze­ros does a bil­lion have?” And so it be­gins. I might not have dis­graced my­self on Celebrity Eg­gheads (though as you’ll see when it airs in the sum­mer, I won’t be up for Brain of Bri­tain any time soon), but I’m def­i­nitely no match for a four-yearold lad.

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