Sometimes, conversation with the pixies really does test my mettle. Even playing I Spy can be challenging. In the car today, Medium declared it her turn. I didn’t even know what we were playing. The last thing anyone had said was, “Is it lunchtime yet?”
Anyway, up pipes Medium with, “I pie wiv my likkle eoi, somefing beginning wiv B.” I looked around the country lane… Erm, “Do you mean B or V?” “B,” came the resolute reply. “Badger?” I guessed. “No, Mummy, B.” Silly me, I thought badger began with a B. But then, I couldn’t actually SEE a badger either. “Blue sky?” I asked optimistically. “No, Mummy. B!” Eventually, I gave up. Then Big piped up with, “Block!” Medium had a piece of Lego clutched in her little fist. How was I meant to guess that?
Big moved the conversation swiftly on to how babies grow in mummies’ tummies. The change of topic can be very rapid with Big and Medium. I wasn’t entirely sure where this conversation was going, and steeled myself for awkward questions. They definitely came thick and fast, but they weren’t quite what I expected.
“Dinosaurs have mummies,” Medium said.
“Dinosaurs have eggs that will crack and then a baby dinosaur comes out,” said Big. Clever girl. Ish.
“Kittens have mummies,” Medium said.
“Do they grow in eggs, Mummy?” Big asked.
“No, they grow in their mummy’s tummy like you, Medium and Little did in mine,” I replied.
“Why?” Big asked.
“Well, basically, anything furry grows inside its mummy’s tummy and anything with feathers, like a chicken, or scales, like a fish, grows in an egg.” I was quite pleased with my simplification of this biology.
“Do snakes grow in their mummy’s tummy?” Big asked.
“No,” I said, wracking my brain. “I think they grow in eggs that mummies lay, like dinosaurs and chickens.” (I later had to check that was actually true with a friend. Oh come on, with only a few hours’ sleep and having got three children in and out of the car nine times in six hours, you’d second guess yourself too.)
“Gruffalo’s grow in mummies’ tummies,” contributed Medium.
“Do they, Mummy?” Big asked.
I’m not sure if I’m qualified to advise on the reproductive status of a fictional being, but the Gruffalo is incredibly important to Medium, so I thought I’d best give some sort of answer.
“Well, Gruffalos are furry and land dwelling, so I think they probably do grow in their mummies’ tummies rather than in an egg,” I offered.
This seemed to satisfy Big and Medium and they went back to trying to kill each other over the block of Lego that Medium was still clutching. I, bracing myself for the next onslaught of questions, got ready to answer. Then it occurred to me that, while the Gruffalo’s Child is very much female and referred to as ‘she’, the gender of the Gruffalo has never been specified. I’ve always assumed it’s a he, which opens up a whole can of worms about whether the Daddy Gruffalo or the Mummy Gruffalo grows the Gruffalo’s Child in their tummy. I’m leaning towards the latter, but then I digressed to how to explain seahorse reproduction and got myself into a bit of a pickle.
Thankfully, the pixies didn’t follow my train of thought. I wish I hadn’t. My head hurts now. But, just like the Gruffalo him/herself, through it all the Little one just snored and snored.