I try to always answer the Princess truthfully. Insofar as possible, given my ignorance of the world and her relatively limited comprehension, I also try to explain to her everything she asks.
This is a random list of things I have attempted to explain to the Princess:
why a watched kettle never boils;
what a microscope is and how it works;
how to try the patience of a saint (in this regard, I have been a little too successful, the other day she said to me â€œJaysus, Mummy, youâ€™d try the patience of a saint);
why cold taps are blue and hot taps are red;
why it is rude to comment on the appearance of others, unless you want to say something nice;
what a passport is for and why it would be bad to lose one;
how Jesus was crucified (we had a Thomas like inspection of the holes in his hands and feet on the pieta in the church, peering at the blood on his chest the Princess pronounced, in her penetrating tones, somewhat to the surprise of nearby worshippers, â€œhe has blood where his breasts would be, if he was* a woman but heâ€™s not a woman, so he doesnâ€™t have breasts to give a baby milk like I will when Iâ€™m a grown-up and I have a baby);
why eggs go bad, milk goes off and bread goes stale;
why it is important to tell the truth but not necessarily important to tell guests, when they ask whether Mummy made the biscuits, that no, she bought them in IKEA;
why it is inappropriate to arrange a crib so that the baby Jesus is watched over tenderly by Mary and an ox while Joseph is relegated to the background, thereby giving the erroneus impession that the baby Jesusâ€™s stepfather was an ox.
Honestly, itâ€™s like trying to answer the British citizenship test. Except, I suppose, you donâ€™t get deported, if you donâ€™t have the detail of how the whipsâ€™ office works.
There are only two exceptions to this rule:
exact details on where babies come from; and
the truth about Santa Claus.
*Look, I know we both know that it should be “were” but sheâ€™s not perfect.