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