Growing Up

When I picked up Child One the other day, she had unusually pink cheeks. A bit of physical exercise? I doubted it, as she has inherited the full might of my sloth gene. No, it turned out they had been doing a new topic called Growing Up in science.

‘We had to label Private Parts, Mummy. And we weren’t even allowed to giggle!’ she said, indignant. Well, I do think that’s outrageous. If you can’t snigger at Private Parts these days, what is there left to laugh at?

Back at home, she showed me her science book. ‘And what do you think those are, Mummy?’ I looked at the rather hair-raising diagram and pursed my lips. ‘I think they could be testicles,’ I ventured. ‘Well, you seem to know an awful lot about all this, Mummy,’ she said, in tones of great disapproval.

I suppose the surprise is that she doesn’t know a bit more. After all, she started asking me where babies came from at the age of about two. I would explain, in mind-numbing detail, and all would go quiet in the back of the car. Then she would start asking about death instead.

I now realise that, like sex, sex education has many different levels. Child Two, for instance, is at quite a different stage. She asked why those particular body parts had to be involved. ‘Couldn’t the Mummy, for instance, just put her bosoms on the man’s bottom and that could make a baby?’ she suggested, as though you could pick any protuberance and it would do the job just as well. Child One, meanwhile, was getting more technical. She brandished the textbook picture of coitus at me. ‘How long do you have to hold this position for?’ she asked me. ‘It’s just that you told me once it only took five minutes, then another time you said it was more like half an hour. Which is it? And how many times did you and Daddy have to do it before you had me?’

Oh dear. I’m not sure I’m grown up enough for this.

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