I must admit I’ve found the last couple of weeks a bit of a challenge. People I love have lost people they love. Half the country seems to think that 600+ daily deaths is now a cause for celebration and freedom from lockdown. My kids are having more ‘low’ moments than ever, and I’m trying to find more and more new ways in which to lift their spirits.
I watch them every day, looking at kids from different families playing together, and feeling angry that they have to follow the rules while others don’t. They are bright kids, they understand why we are doing this, but it’s hard on them to see other people doing the opposite, right under their noses. And of course these experiences are nothing compared to what many are facing right now. So we take it day by day, and minute by minute if we have to.
We have been back to ‘school’ for the last fortnight, where I have been reminded that year five is the year they learn about sex education. Having already been through this once with my older daughter, I didn’t forsee any problems. What I didn’t bank on was the power of sisters.
Years ago, I had carefully explained all the facts to my daughter, and questions were asked and answered without embarrassment. While I was busy congratulating myself on a job well done, it turns out she was busy imparting a watered down and only partially correct version of the birds and the bees to her seven year old sister, scaring the living daylights out of her. I should have known when I heard them playing in the bath together at the time. One of them had named her doll ‘Vagina’ and the other one was casually wondering whether or not Vagina would like any cake.
So I had to start from scratch. Apparently a few years ago when my older daughter was learning about this subject, the teacher got them to get any giggling and embarrassment out of the way by shouting out the names of certain body parts as loudly as they could. This is a great idea, but given that our windows have been constantly open with all this lovely weather, I couldn’t face explaining to the neighbours why my child was screaming ‘penis’ repeatedly first thing on Monday morning, so we abandoned it in favour of a slightly more traditional approach.
And I did have to try not to laugh at some of the random and unexpected questions. My ten-year-old wanted to know whether it’s important to go to the loo first. At which point my thirteen-year-old sighed, rolled her eyes and said in a don’t be ridiculous tone ‘Mummy has had two children, she won’t be having any more sex’. The look of horror on her face when I suggested otherwise, was worth its weight in gold.
There swiftly followed a lightbulb moment for her, when she realised there was a possibility that we might have another baby. An idea suggested by her and extinguished by me in two seconds flat. This resulted in a tantrum because apparently she ‘really really wants a brother or sister’. Cue outrage from….her actual sister.
With that hurdle cleared, I manoeuvred my way through the sex education topic fielding questions about shape, size, colour (?), and smell (???). One of them wanted to know whether her boobs would eventually drop off, to be replaced by new ones after the ‘boob fairy’ had visited. This led to a discussion about how much money they could expect to receive should this be the case, and the unfairness if it was directly linked to size. Although they did say that it might be great because Mummy’s could make us all millionaires. Bless her for the exaggeration, but even I had a wishful thinking moment at that point. Who needs the lottery?
But we got there in the end and my youngest is now hopefully aware of enough facts, but not too many. We’ve managed to get over the ‘asking your grandparents over video chat whether they still have sex’ phase. Now all I have to do is get through the current phase where every time she leaves the room, she asks me and Daddy if we’re going to ‘do it’. Then it’s my turn for the don’t be ridiculous tone. Doesn’t she know there’s a lockdown on, and I’m far too busy drinking?
Bring on Bedtime!