Three kids and a single mum
Quiet One has sex education coming up at school. Hopefully not a demonstration of whips and fluffy handcuffs (one never knows in this post-fifty-shades-of-grey era) but more of an educational exposé of the birds and the bees. I'm told that it's all about relationships these days - understanding what's allowed and what's not cool (in parent-speak: verging on abusive).
I have always been candid with my children about sex, answering their enquiries in an age-appropriate manner (of course). So we talk about 'special hugs' and how Middle Child's magic 'seeds' will eventually turn into babies. Jack and the Beanstalk has got nothing on us.
|Ploughing my way through the birds and the bees|
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So at suppertime I am about to embark on a little Sex Ed primer when Quiet One beats me to it: "Mummy, how often do you have sex?"
Tricksy. Up until now Stay-At-Home Dad has been known as Mummy's friend. If I admit to having sex with my friends, I fear that Quiet One's new 'relationship' training might get off to a rocky start. "I suppose you could have sex as often as you like," I reply cagily.
"And where do you have sex?" Quiet One persists.
"I expect you have it in the hospital," chips in Middle Child in his most urbane tone.
"Well, not exactly..."
"Sex!" pipes up Walking Toddler, smacking her lips with relish. "Sex!"
Definitely not age-appropriate. I push a yoghurt towards her as a distraction while the other two hoot with laughter. Walking Toddler sweeps aside the yoghurt imperiously and reaches for her beaker. "I want my water pease!"
"Are you sure he doesn't put his willie in your tummy button?"
"Anyway, darling," I tell Quiet One briskly, "you can have a little read of that pink book I bought you. That should answer any more questions you have."
"Do you have sex with Stay-At-Home Dad?" she asks, going in for the jugular.
"Well... no, we're just friends, like I told you." (Oh God, I am lying to my children again: Father Christmas, the tooth fairy and now this.)
"Are you sure he doesn't put his willie in your tummy button?" taunts Middle Child.
"Quite sure," I reply with welcome certainty.
"I want my teddy," cries Walking Toddler.
"Sweetheart, teddy's just there beside you."
"I want my sex!" More lip smacking as she smears yoghurt all over her body and teddy.
It's too much. My toddler has turned into George Michael. I clap my hands over my ears. Maybe Mrs Farr has a point. We can't prepare our children for everything. I'll put the snowplough away and go back to being plain pushy. Quiet One will have to fend for herself in Sex Ed. Good luck to her!
* Clarissa Farr, head teacher of St. Paul's girls' school in London, believes "snowplough" parents are so over-protective that their children end up being unable to deal with failure.
Hermaphrodite Mum is a fictional creation of Emma Clark Lam