I open my big gob and manage to just tell the truth. I can’t lie, this is a fact. I tend to hide from people when I don’t want to lie, though I have never gone as far as crawling under a table, I don’t think.
However, when you have a five year old who is being given the chance to decide what she would like to read, sometimes questions HAVE to be answered truthfully whether you like it or not.
For example, this week when she chose a book about Egyptian Mummies. Now, firstly, I love that H is choosing less storybooks and more factual books as it’s kind of interesting for me too – I don’t remember school being like this, so when she asks me awkward questions we can read it together and my memory is jogged.
“Mummy, why are they called Mummies?” “What’s in there?” “How did they get there?” were some of the questions. She carefully read the book and answered the activities offered, while I sat and explained the choices people can have when they die (which quite frankly wasn’t something I was considering going through with her at this point in time). I told her Grandad Mike was cremated, that the graveyards she has seen and walked through have people buried deep in them, and that Egyptian Mummies were just bandaged up well and put into the nice coffins, then put into the pyramids.
Which is pretty much what her book said. Oh, and it said the Egyptians cut their vital organs out too. Yes, I truthfully explained that too.
“How did they die?” was the next one, to which I had no reply. We talked about my dad and how we got his ashes and scattered them in a place where he would be happy, and how Egyptians who went through the process of mummification had plenty of money to then be placed into a pyramid. My dad would be proud of me I think – I remember having to record a programme to do with an Egyptian Pyramid excavation several years ago, and I think I kind of got it right… I was never much good at all this.
But then I found an exhibition at the British Museum – http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/ancient_lives.aspx which kind of goes through the kind of things she’s asking. I know you don’t see anything horrible, but you do see results of CT scans they’ve done of the mummies – so I’m sitting on the fence unsure whether it’ll be suitable for H or will just freak her out with her only just being five, and the website doesn’t indicate age suitability. I can get a reduction on the exhibition as I have a Waterstones card, so we wouldn’t be paying full price – and it’s only on until November, so it’s something we need to do sooner than later. I think it’ll be quite fascinating for H – in the last week we’ve looked at some of my x-rays (she didn’t like that as it was me), as well as gone through things on the Human Body app for most of his year.
We don’t get into London very much, but this seems too good an opportunity to miss. What to do?