“Mummy, where do babies come from?” the kindergartner asks. We are sitting in our home balcony doing a little gardening. He has been learning about family and siblings at school, and suddenly realised that, unlike some of his classmates, he has no sisters or brothers.
Pinky is, as usual, perched on my shoulder, restlessly watching. The weather has been too warm, and she doesn’t like being outside.
“From mummies, darling,” I say, patting down some earth. “Mummies have eggs inside their body, and sometimes there’s a baby inside the egg.”
“Girl eggs come from Mummy and boy eggs come from Daddy?” the kindergartner asks.
“No, darling, only mummies carry eggs. Sometimes it’s a boy and sometimes it’s a girl, and we don’t know which one we can get.”
“They grow inside your tummy for nine months?”
“Yes,” I say, surprised he’s remembered.
“How do they come out?” he wants to know.
I pause. “The doctor will help when the baby is ready.”
“How?” he begins, then declares, “I want a sister and a brother. When will you have boy and girl eggs inside your body?”
“I don’t know, dear,” I try to explain. “It’s like sometimes we get flowers but no fruit. Not all flowers turn into fruit, you see?”
“It’s also like the chicken eggs that you eat for breakfast,” I continue. “There are no chicks inside those eggs, are there?”
Our pet horse sighs petulantly. “Mummy will be very busy when she has a new baby, you know,” she tells her favourite human, “and then she won’t have the time to play with us.”
“I can play by myself,” the kindergartner scoffs. He removes his gardening gloves and turns to me, looking solemn. “When will you have boy and girl eggs, Mummy?”
Jocelyn Lau is a Singapore-based editor and writer. She is hoping to complete a series of short fiction based on her family’s imaginary pet horse, LIFE OF PINKY, for her graduating kindergartner.