The Facts of Life
by Rachel Ragg
My guinea pigs have decided that spring has sprung.
I know this because they have spent the entire day waggling their bottoms and growling at one another. Oh, and they’ve also been trying to hump one another’s heads.
As a good mother, I have decided that this is the perfect opportunity to enlighten the children about the birds and the bees (and the piggies).
As they (the children, that is) are nearly 10 and nearly 8, some might think that I should have done this already.
I have tried, honest: I bought a How Babies Are Made book and left it oh-so-casually lying around on the kitchen table. It was ignored, so I left it oh-so-casually on the bathroom floor. I’m not sure the captive audience was captivated.
So when my daughter finally asked why the guinea pigs were playing piggy-back, I seized the moment. They’re not playing piggy-back, I explained. It’s the time of year when want to start making baby guinea pigs, and they’re feeling frustrated because they haven’t got a girl guinea pig to make them with.
“Are they gay?” my son asked (thanks to the older boys, ‘gay’ is the talk of the playground).
No, I replied. Guinea pigs can’t really be gay.
This is not going quite the way I’d planned.
“Well, I don’t really know. Anyway, they’re brothers.”
As if that explained everything.
I congratulated myself for having enlightened the children without causing undue excitement as they sloped off to the trampoline.
But what is this? They weren’t heading for the trampoline after all. They were heading for Daddy’s Workshop.
“Daddy, Daddy, guess what? The guinea pigs are standing up and fighting, and MUMMY SAYS THEY’RE HAVING SEX.”
I fear I still have some explaining to do.