When museums are TOO educational
“Mummy, I want to see a skeleton!”
We were in the Natural History Museum in London, having a weekend break in the capital city. We’d just been round the entire Dinosaur section in the ‘Blue Zone’ working our way through billions of years of history at a hundred miles an hour – five year old speed – and we were standing at the base of a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex.
“What do you mean, you want to see a skeleton? THIS is a skeleton!”
“No, I mean a PERSON’S skeleton.” She rolls her eyes at me and I can almost hear the ‘Duh!’ going on in her head.
“Oh, a HUMAN skeleton?” I mimic her ‘I’m a five year old going on fifteen’ attitude.
“Yes!” she exclaims with her arms in the air as if I was meant to have read her mind!
The Human Biology section was right next door and I figured that would be the best place to find one.
We weaved our way through the crowds of weekend visitors and foreign tourists, leaving Pete and Oliver behind who were still gawping at the bare bones of the giant dinosaur. I thought the Human Biology section would be fascinating and might even spark the beginnings of an interest in Sophie to become a doctor?! (Well, okay, roll your eyes at me don’t all parent’s secretly want their children to become doctors?!)
As we walked through the giant doors we were immediately faced with the most enormous and most intricately detailed picture of a woman giving birth to a baby. There was no avoiding it. Even as I gently tried to motion Sophie around it further towards the less gruesome displays, she could not take her eyes off it gawping.
Once she had managed to pick up the bottom of her jaw from the floor she managed to exclaim loud enough for the entire museum to hear, “Mummy, you said I came out of your tummy, but that baby is coming out of it’s mummy’s bottom!” She turns to glare at me as if I’ve been causing her to believe a lie the entire five years of her life.
“Yes, well, erm, some baby’s come out of their mummy’s tummies and other babies come out of their mummy’s…. bottoms.”
“Oh.” she starts to look more closely at the picture. “Is it because I’m a girl that I came out of your tummy? Because that baby’s a boy. Look!” she points her finger straight at the baby’s reproductive area. “… and so boys come out of mummies’ bottoms?”
“Erm well, no” ….. I start to feel all eyes turning towards me. I can feel the heat rising to my face and sweat beading on my forehead. Is it getting hot in here? “You came out of my tummy because I wasn’t able to erm…” my voice lowers, “… I wasn’t able to get you out of the hole in my bottom.”
“Well, how big is the hole?” I swear, Sophie’s voice was getting louder and louder by the second.
“Erm…well…” I start to shape my fingers into the vague size of a vagina and quickly give up, “It’s quite small but usually big enough to push a small baby through.”
“Oh.” She moves her eyes away from the picture and down to the region of my crotch. “I think I might take a look, later.” she says as she marches towards the human skeletons.