Questions I don’t know how to answer

Yesterday at nursery school on my duty day. E. has finished his snack and is idly flipping through Words Are Not for Hurting, one of a series of books with overt behavioral modification messages that I find deeply irritating but the kids seem to like. He is looking at a page where an older boy has made his little brother cry because he yelled at him after the baby knocked down his block tower.

“Mummy, are we ever going to get another baby at our house?”

E. is distracted by something his friend is doing before I can gather myself to form a response. It is the first time he has ever mentioned such a thing since he stopped asking about the baby that died.


This morning at breakfast. E. is eating oatmeal after finishing his waffle.

“Mummy, why are we not going to have another baby at our house?”

“Why are you asking, sweetie?”

“Because I want a baby.”


“That just seems to be how it’s worked out, sweetie. Besides, Mummy and Daddy love you so much. If we had a baby, you’d have to share us with the baby.”

Long pause.

“Ok.” E. goes back to eating his oatmeal.

Long pause.

“Why did you say, ok, E.?”

“Because now I know why we’re not going to have another baby in our house.”

“Do you like having Mummy and Daddy all to yourself?”

Big smile. “YES!”

Long pause.

E.: “Imagine if we went for an adventure on the streetcar and we forgot the baby!”

And then he is off, imagining what we would do on the streetcar, and I feel like I have dodged another bullet.



Filed under E.- the fourth year, Grief, Lonely Onlies?, Loss, Second Thoughts, Siblings

2 responses to “Questions I don’t know how to answer

  1. I hope you can all keep on riding that streetcar. And having days like you wrote about on Monday.

    BTW I think your answer was perfection and I plan to use it myself if and when necessary.

  2. That is a fantastic answer. And very true. My therapist has told me that kids, when they’re asking for a baby in the house, don’t really KNOW what it’s going to be about.

    If it helps (and I know it doesn’t), it’s a good thing E is asking about it and you can talk about it. O has stopped himself, literally in the middle of asking us when we will have a baby in our house. For some reason, he thinks it’s a taboo topic, and I wish he would ask so I can address it.

    Lots of love to you.


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