I have a new policy with the kids, if they ask me tricky questions I have decided to follow the path of honesty. Except for topics such as Father Christmas, Easter Bunnies and whether your teeth will fall out if you don’t brush them at night. They can stay firmly in the realm of mystery.
But on all other topics I have decided to abandon a parenting route that has served me well over eight years and go wild with the truth.
Possibly not my finest choice in life.
A while back I was confronted with the parental horror that comes when your children question you about where babies come from. For years we had explained about a special kiss and a magic hole that painlessly opened on your belly to allow out a floating baby who was then yours to keep. Utter fabricated shite but always seemed to go down well.
I told my eight year old twins the truth and watched on as my daughter simply stared at her body with her mouth open in blatant terror and disbelief and my son rolled on the floor holding his stomach laughing and saying the words swimming sperm repeatedly.
You would think I had learnt my lesson.
Today we settled down on the sofa after a pub lunch with a glass of wine, and chose a movie to watch together to pass the hours away. Trying to find a film to suit us all is often challenging. Libby-Sue would have us all wanting to stick needles in our eyes watching the latest horrific Barbie film. Owen wants to watch films that involve football or just Match of the Day reruns, and Molly is all about teenage dramas involving best friends and tragic tales.
I long ago stopped offering them a choice of what to watch as the fallout is always too severe.
So this afternoon I treated them to Mums choice: a bit of Bette Midler and Sarah Jessica Parker in the classic, Hocus Pocus.
It was rated PG, so normally I expect a bit of swearing and snogging. To be fair they probably hear worse when I am driving and see worse when we pass the bus stop after school.
As it turned out, Hocus Pocus was swear and snog free. The PG rating came because of the repeated use of the word Virgin.
I thought I had got away with it….
Right up until bedtime when the twins trapped me in their room. One beckoned me onto their bed, whilst the other silently closed the door behind me leaving me with no place to escape.
“So Mummy, what’s a virgin?”
Remember the path of honesty….
Also remember the reaction to how babies are made…
I tried to evade the question with a simple agree, acknowledge and ignore tactic.
“Oh like the virgin Mary, so tell me what are you doing in school tomorrow?”
It didn’t work and it also highlighted my failings at R.E as my son piped up, “who is Mary and why is she a virgin as well?”.
So I explained.
And if you don’t know, a virgin is someone who has not yet had The Sex…
We always call it The Sex in our house, am not sure why, but it is a statement that always needs to be capitalised.
The kids seemed to accept my explanation and I tucked them in and planted a kiss on their heads and walked towards the door.
As my hand rested on the handle I heard…
“You are not a virgin then mum, does Nanny know?”
“Should we ask our teacher tomorrow is she is a virgin?”
“I reckon all the girls are virgins in the class, maybe not the boys…”
and topped off with
“Dad could be a virgin, did I get that bit right?”
Needless to say, bedtime was delayed significantly as I attempted to explain why asking the sexual status of your teacher was a bad thing and how telling your entire class they were virgins may also be frowned upon by the teaching personnel.
Once again, it would seem, honesty is not always the best policy….