How to answer the question – “Mama, how are babies made?”

At some point or the other in your career as a mother, you’re going to be faced with this question. And what do you say? “Honey, your dad and I prayed to god for a beautiful little baby, and you were born.” Or: “Darling, you know Amma and Appa need to get married to have a child, right? That’s all we did.” The closest I’ve heard to the truth is - “Mama and Papa slept in the same bed, beta. That’s how you were made.”

Well, here’s the thing, ladies. Most questions that kids ask their parents aren’t particularly important to them. They’re curious, yes, but if you look closely, they’ll dismiss the answer you give them in a second and move onto another subject. Except when you evade answers or tell them not to ask questions. And, trust me, they’ll know when you’re uncomfortable immediately, which will make them curiouser and curiouser. Tell them they’re too young to know, and you’re cranking the level of intrigue from one to one hundred thousand in a trice.

So how do you answer this question? Tell them the truth. No, don’t just spring it on them. All that’ll achieve is immense disgust. Try it in this order:

Step 1:

Don’t show your embarrassment at the question. Look them in the eye and tell them that what you’re about to tell them is one of the most incredible things nature has ever made possible.

Step 2:

Don’t wear a serious expression, unless your kid has decided to walk up to you for the sole purpose of putting you through this torture. If you’re playing with them, finishing your chores or helping them with their homework, continue doing exactly what you are. That’ll make them think it’s not something very important.

Step 3:

Now comes the tricky part. Explain, in as scientific a manner as you can adopt, how there are two cells - one from the mommy and the other from the daddy - that have to come together to form a baby. Use egg and sperm diagrams if you need to. Tell them that the baby grows in the mommy’s belly for nine months and then comes out into the world as this adorable little child sitting here *cuddle/ hug/ kiss/ pat/ ruffle hair and smile*

Did you notice something? Yes! You skipped over the sex part completely. You made it sound like science’s most amazing miracle. You combined novelty and biology, added a dash of flattery, and you’re out of it unscathed. Unless your child is a genius. Unless she decides to ask you how the egg and the sperm combine into one. Aha. That’s when you follow steps 4 and 5.

Step 4:

It’s finally time to pull out the serious mask. Put them on your lap, and yes, tell them about the art of copulation. About the differences in the organs that Amma and Appa have, how one fits into the other, umm, very neatly, just so this can be achieved.

Step 5:

Expect a little disgust and address it immediately. Tell them there’s nothing abnormal about this, that they wouldn’t be born without it. Children are actually very reasonable human beings. If you make things simple, they’ll be convinced in a flash.

You asked. We answered.

Dear Ms Blacklace,

The other day, when I was chopping vegetables for dinner, my six-year-old daughter sat down beside me and asked me very seriously, “Amma, how was I born?” I was a little take aback, but I explained how she was in my stomach for nine months and then came out into the world. Then she asked me how she got into my stomach in the first place. I was too embarrassed to say anything, so I said, “You’ll understand when you grow up.” She pouted and said she was a big girl, that she was old enough to understand everything. I said nothing more, so she went and asked her father the same question. He just laughed at her and said she fell into his lap from the sky. Then she asked my mother-in-law, who immediately began to tell her how she was god’s gift. She listened for a while, then asked my father-in-law. Now I’m just really worried that she’ll start asking everyone who comes home, her teachers at school and every other adult she meets. How should I deal with this?

Ms. Trapped-in-her-own-box

Dear Ms. Box,

Haha! Sounds like you just handed you daughter her biggest obsession yet. Somehow, most parents think that because talking about sex is embarrassing for them, it’ll also be embarrassing for their kids too. Trust me, that’s not the case. Until she hits puberty, she’ll be curious about it, but nothing about nakedness, sex or the body will make her avert her face, unless you make her feel that way. So, before she justifies your fears and starts asking everyone she meets where she came from, just speak to her yourself. Do it in as calm a manner as you can muster. And make it seem like it’s not a big deal, that it’s okay to talk about it. Answer all the questions she has about it too. Apart from quenching her intrigue, you’ll also make it easier for her to develop a healthy attitude towards sex in the future. Good luck!

Ms Blacklace

If you have sex/relationship questions, do write to me at . Your queries will be treated and answered anonymously on the column. Have a sexy week ahead!