Yesterday morning I was lying groggily in bed, hoping that the coffee and morning news on the TV would wake me up enough to shamble out of bed and go get breakfast sorted. The younger kids often sneak into my bed for a quick 5 minute snuggle while they wake up; Maxi Minx normally prefers to stay in her own bed, reading.
Not yesterday. As she hopped into my bed I thought, oh, this is an unexpected pleasure – how nice!
“Muuuuuuuum?” she asked.
Oh-oh. I recognise that tone of voice. Maybe not so nice.
Definitely not so nice! Wide-awake! Panic!
“Hmmmm…”, I said, playing for time. “Well, it can mean different things. In what context did you hear it?”
“Oh, like Gangnam Style!” she said, mimicking the cross-wristed dance.
“Well,” I said, ever the teacher, “What do you think it means?”
“Some people in my class say it’s when a man and a woman get into bed together, naked”, she giggled. “And they never say ‘sex’: they always say ‘ess-ee-ex'”.
Oh no, she really, really wants to know. Right now. At 7.20am on a Thursday morning.
“That can be a little part of it. But sex is lots more than that”, I started. Then noticed that she looked a tiny bit disappointed. Hmmmm, why disappointed? What did she really want to know? “Basically it’s how men and women make babies. It’s how the sperm gets to meet the egg inside a woman. Do you want me to tell you how?”
“No, Mummy”, she said.
Phew!!! But… but… why not?! Isn’t that what you asked? Steel yourself, Trout, and dig some more:
“But I’ve not answered your question, have I?” She shook her head and sniggered.
Eek! My innocent 8 yo actually sniggered!
“It’s in Gangnam Style, when he sings Heyyyyy, sexy lady!” she elaborated.
Oh boy… I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but here goes…
“Ah. A man would call a woman sexy if he thinks she’s really attractive and he wants to have sex with her. And a woman would call a man sexy if she wants to have sex with him. But a child would never describe someone as sexy, because a child wouldn’t have sex. And an adult would never describe a child as sexy, because only adults have sex”, I started. “And Mummy and Daddy are married, so we only have sex with each other, not with anyone else”.
Inward wince. Actually, please don’t ask me exactly the mechanics of sex. I need another coffee first. I wish to hell I’d bought an Usborne book or gotten something from the library to help. I’m so unprepared! They only know the physical changes at puberty. They only know what babies are made of and how they come out. I should have elaborated. Should I stick to hetero sex only? Or be vague?
Maxi looked pensive. I asked whether she wanted to know exactly what happens when 2 grown-ups have sex, or if she’d like me to tell her that another time.
“No, I don’t want to know that. I want to know about Henry VIII”, she said.
?!!!! You what…?
“How could he sex all 6 of his wives?” she asked
“Eh? But… but… he was only married to one at a time!” I explained. “And you say ‘How could he have sex with all 6 of his wives’. So it was just one at a time.”
Maxi chortled again. “Hehehehehe! So it wasn’t all 7 of them together in one bed?”
Noooooo! I’m not supposed to be covering orgies in my first sex education talk!!!!! Unfair!!!!
“No. One at a time”.
“And it’s between grown-ups?” I nodded. “So you can’t have sex with toys?” she asked, mischievously.
For the love of… Now we’re doing sex-play?!
I sniggered myself. “No. You don’t have sex with Bagpuss”.
“OK, Mummy. Thank you. Can I have peanut butter and jam on my toast this morning?” she pleaded, changing the subject.
I got let off lightly!
I was out teaching knitting last night. I thought Maxi might collar The Boss and ask him similar questions. The imp in me considered leaving him to it, cold. But I love him too much, so nabbed him as he got home and gave him a quick run down of the morning’s conversation, and to leave anything to me that he felt uncomfy with. He doubled up, giggled like a teenager and blushed. Bless!
When I got home that night Maxi was still awake. I asked her again whether I’d answered her question properly about sex. “Yes”. Did she want to know any more? “Not just now”. Would she ask me if she wanted to know anything? “Oh yes!”
I felt very honoured.
This morning over breakfast the conversation was about how some of the older girls are already wearing bras and cropped tops. “But their little boobies aren’t as saggy as yours, Mummy!” Thank you darling. Pass the milk.