Monday 3 June 2013

The Birds and the Bees

“Mammy, what’s sex?”

I was minding my own business and out of the blue he throws this at me.  I looked up to see a Maybe It’s Maybelline ad on the goggle box and for a moment I wondered what sex had to do with mascara.

Everything really when you think about it.  Don’t they use sex to advertise fresh air these days so why should mascara be any different?  But I digress.

“Who’s been talking about sex?”  I asked him.

He was grinning at me and I knew he had figured he was asking One of Those Questions.

“No-one.  Just (friend’s name) had a book in school today.”

That sounded worse.  Much much worse.

“Ok.”  I said in slow motion.  “Was it a book with photographs in it (Please say no!) Or a book with cartoons in it?”


Ok, an image I can work with but still.  Yikes!  The S E X question. 

He’s only 7.

It transpired the book contained a picture of two people in the water and the friend said they were having sex.

Oggy and the Cockroaches returned to the screen and his attention was captured by something much more age appropriate.  Leaving me to ponder the answer to his question.

Let me clarify.  I know the answer.  I’ve got four kids.  I’ve had sex four times but I didn’t have the language to explain it to him in a way that wouldn’t leave him floored.

I received some excellent advice from a friend.

“Turn the question on him.”  She said.  “Ask him what he thinks it means.  You can apply this to nearly any question they ask.  The answer will tell you how much they know and whether it is right or wrong.  If it is wrong you can correct it, using their language.  Either way you will know exactly how much information they are actually looking for.”

Sage words indeed. 

Fully prepared to have The Chat, he never returned to that particular topic.   

I, on the other hand, stored up my arsenal of findings for future reference and usage.

And when the opportunity arose, he turned the question back on me.
I’m pretty much a sitting duck when we are in the car.  On one hand I love the fact they are strapped into their seats and unable to get at me. But on the other, the questions fired from all quarters are worthy of a Mastermind final round.

On this day he was fully prepared and I wasn’t. 

He asked his question. 

I have absolutely no recollection of what it was but I distinctly remember him saying, “and don’t ask me what do I think the answer is.  If I knew that I wouldn’t be asking you.”


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