Sometimes a conversation goes horribly awry. Horribly, horribly awry. And there’s nothing a mother can do.
Take today. This is one of those conversations that may cross the line of propriety, but it’s too good to not share.
This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. And I am co-chair of it at the kids’ elementary school. One of the things we do is have parents provide breakfast for the staff. We decorate the teachers’ lounge and make a pretty breakfast buffet for them. At the end of the day, I just make sure the room is tidy, things that need to be refrigerated are put away, and wrap up leftovers for the next day. Doodles walks himself home, but Pie tags along with me. In the lounge is a large bulletin board and on it is a horrifying-to-a-parent number of pictures of registered sex offenders in our town.
Pie, of course, is fascinated. “Why are there all those pictures of the men up there?”
I try, in my least scary way, to explain what a sex offender is. How sex is something for grown-ups, but very, very rarely, a grown-up will try to do something sexual with a child and that it’s illegal and those grown-ups go to jail, and when they get out, they become registered sex offenders and they can’t be near a school. We talked about how it’s not okay to touch a child’s private parts and how it’s not okay for a grown-up to try and do sexual things with a child.
“How come it’s only men up there?”
I explain that sex offenders tend to be men. And we talked about how it’s never okay for anyone–male or female, grown-up or child–to touch her in certain places and if anyone does that she should tell a grown-up right away, even if the person said it was a secret and even if the person said she’d get in trouble. I promised her she’d never, ever get in trouble for this, but only the other person would. And I patted myself on the back for a successful reinforcement in a non-scary way about bodies being private.
And then the conversation turned.
“So what do you mean by sexual?”
“Making love,” I explained.
“Yes, kissing. But also more than that. Touching. Putting the p*nis in the v*gina.”
“Oh, like what you and Daddy did those two times to make me and Doodles!”
I carefully explained that people do that not just to make babies. That people make love because it feels good and it’s something they enjoy doing. That it doesn’t necessarily mean babies will be made.
“But how come you don’t get more babies?”
And again I explain how a doctor can help you not make babies. And she wanted details. About me. And how I don’t make more babies. And I provided her with some bare bone details, being as vague as I could.
“So,” she said, “you won’t make babies! You said, ‘Doctor, no more babies for me!’”
“Yes,” I told her.
“So now you and Daddy make love constantly!”
And I couldn’t think of a single child friendly reply. So I just started laughing. Maniacally.
Someday, when she has a seven-year-old child who won’t sleep through the night I will show her this post. Smugly.