The thing about having a baby when you already have two children is that they want to know a few things. How did it get in there? How does it get out? What if your tummy pops open? Do they do C-Sections with a sword?
Carolyn and I are quite happy to answer these questions for the girls in an age appropriate way – Anna was 5 and Iris 3 when Carolyn fell pregnant. In fact we had started these conversations some time ago – if you remember one of my old posts you will be familiar with Anna’s morbid fascination watching One Born Every Minute. “I’m never getting pregnant! I might adopt or just be an auntie.” This time however both Anna and Iris were asking more questions and wanting in depth answers. So we explained it in a nice simple way “When a mummy and daddy love each other they have a special cuddle…” Anna looked at us with a face that said “I’m never cuddling anyone ever again” and “I’m not quite sure I believe you.” After a little while she asked a very sensible question. “Daddy why do people say I look like you when I was made and grown in mummy and you and mummy aren’t related?” Good question I was thinking when she followed it up with “And how am I made of your DNA then?” Oh ok, discussing DNA with a 6 year old. This can’t be too tricky… So I decided it was time to go in to a bit more detail about the special cuddle and between us we explained about sperm, eggs etc. I also explained it was just something that grown ups did and only if both of them really wanted to. Anna then thought about all this for a while and then said “I can’t believe I won the sperm race. I am a fast runner. How exciting!” Although she did spend a couple of weeks telling everyone that she had won the sperm race failing to realise that everyone else had also won it too!
So fast forward a few months and Archie is a few days old. I make the most of being on paternity leave to make a GP appointment to book in a vasectomy. It was a simple decision. We couldn’t fit anymore in the house or the car. We couldn’t afford another one. And I wanted some prospect of peace and quiet to look forward to. Carolyn even made me consider what would happen if she died and I found myself with a nice new wife who wanted children of her own. Would I really be happy with the decision then? Absolutely! All the more reason to get it done. Imagine being a widower in my forties and some hot twenty something trying to lure me in to having a family – no bloody chance! They say you love a new child as much as the last one but I’m sure this can’t be the case once you get to four kids.
So I was booked in and the day came. The girls were prepped that daddy was having a little operation and they weren’t allowed to jump on me for a couple of days. I explained why I was having the operation. I gave Anna the full details whilst Iris simply accepted it was an operation on my testicles to stop me having any more babies. Iris loves using the real names for our private parts. I would rather her knowing she had a vagina rather than a fu fu or some other nonsense. Although I did have to teach when it was and when it wasn’t appropriate to use these new words. I explained these were words for private parts. Asking “How are your testicles Daddy?” when we are at home and I’ve just had an operation is fine. Asking me whilst queuing up to go into pre-school isn’t really the done thing. I thought she had understood this until she was running around in a shop a short while later and bashed straight into me. I stood still trying to catch my breath for a second when I hear Iris shouting at the top of her voice “Sorry for hitting your private penis Daddy!”. She looked up at me with a little smile – I can still never work out when she is doing things deliberately wrong or not.
A while later and some of the details had blurred. Hence this conversation…
Anna – Sorry for accidentally hitting you in your tentacle Daddy.
Me – That’s ok. And it was my testicle. I’m not an octopus.
Anna – Oh yeah. What are testicles for? Just to make you look smart?
Me – No. They are the bits on men that make the stuff to help make babies.
Anna – Ok I remember… The sperms! So why didn’t you have yours chopped off then when you had your operation?
Me – Umm, well the doctor just stops them working without chopping them off.
Anna – That’s strange.
I then relayed this conversation to Carolyn.
Carolyn – So really she is right. Yours are just to make you look smart…
I had forgotten about all this until this summer when we got our new cat. Anna asked if Wilbur and Mog would have babies. After all Mog is a girl and Wilbur is a boy. We explained that Wilbur had been “Done” and inevitably had to give more details. “So he had his balls chopped off! Like you did Daddy?” Er no.
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Joe Ellis-Gage is a registered paediatric nurse who runs Mini First Aid Norfolk – a local company running first aid classes for parents, grandparents etc., first aid classes for children and Certified First Aid Qualifications (Full 12 Hour Paediatric First Aid, Emergency Paediatric First Aid and Emergency First Aid at Work for Schools etc.). For more information head to the Mini First Aid Norfolk website or Mini First Aid Norfolk on Facebook