There we were having a quiet dinner in our usual out of the way little cafe named, Chick Fil A. There we sat at our usual booth enjoying the end of the day munching on chicken sandwiches. The younger kids running from the playroom to the table for bites of their chicken nuggets and swigs of their ever so healthy Sprites. Kidsize, of course. At the table directly behind us sat a mom with 3 children, as well. The difference between us was that all of her children were under the age of 6 and mine varied in ages of 10 down to 3. I am constantly caught between navigating the world of a preteen middle schooler, the ways of a grade schooler and the delights of the pre-school set. It can make a person dizzy.
Amber sat across from me in deep thought. I was trying to not notice, because it would be nice to enjoy a dinner without dodging in depth questions about sex, drugs and rock n roll. Okay, maybe not the last part, but you can’t have the first 2 with out the last one. Just as I thought I had escape this dinner without discussing the complexities of middle school girl drama, Amber piped up with a question belted out at a volume for the whole restaurant to hear. “Mom. Is there anything such as a trisexual?” *sigh* And there it was. I had gone many days without a question that made me want to run for the hills, but my time had come to put on my big mom panties, remain calm and handle the situation with grace. “Amber! Really? Where did you hear such a thing?” I will spare you the rest of that conversation, because it was a lot of “she said and he heard it from him and told….” If you have interacted with a preteen at all in your life, you know the conversation. The ones where you get lost, your head is spinning and you wondered who dropped a ruffie in my Coke Zero. I simply explained that there was no such thing as a trisexual, totally controlling the urge to blurt out that a trisexual is someone who would try anything once. It is funny how kids don’t get sarcasm and jokes and take everything so literally. Or maybe not. I didn’t need Amber’s Catholic school filled with kids running around screaming that Amber’s mom told them what a trisexual was. So even though I thought my answer was adult like, I punctuated our conversation, as I always do, let’s keep this conversation to ourselves.
It is hard to keep such a conversation quiet when eating dinner in the restaurant that draws every mother within a 25 mile radius. As soon as the offending question left Amber’s mouth I noticed the mom behind her practically get whiplash with her shocked and disgust. I will admit I got great delight in this woman’s horror, because I noticed she had 2 boys and a girl. I knew that one day she would be sitting on the other end of an unexpected, embarrassing question just as I was. I knew that she thought in her head that she would say this or that and HER kids would never so much as think of such things as this little heathen behind her was doing. My smile grew greater. I knew she was listening and judging the whole time and I noticed I simply did not care. All mothers judge other mother’s kids until they get to the point of sympathy, which is usually around the pre-teen age. You have weathered the preschool, the grade school and after you wake up from your nightmare and accept that you are a parent to a preteen, you learn to give a sympathetic smile. You only reach outright laughing hysterically in the presence of a mom in such a situation when your own kids are grown and you have been through it all.
I had been in this position before with Sam, 6 at the time. Oddly at the same restaurant in the same booth. I wonder if it was Chick fil A itself that brought out the sexual curiosity of my kids or maybe it was the booth that emitted some chemical that got their brains churning, yearning for embarrassing information. Hell, I am sure it is whatever addictive concoction they put in their chicken that spurs on such exquisiteness. Sam had sat across from me and asked me, again at a volume that would alert the whole restaurant to his curiosity. “Mom! How are babies born?” “Really?! I will discuss it with you in the car.” That time I had to speak over the roar of laughter from the seasoned parents that happened to be in the restaurant that day. I had decided right then that if he didn’t mention it again I would let it go. Not my son. Not the boy who picks books to read based on them being filled with real information and not the nonsense of made up stories. Sure enough he had asked me as soon as he got into the car. I explained to him the technical workings of making a baby and then how they were born. He responded in the same fashion as Amber did when she was 8, “EW. That is gross.” I will admit that I am glad that I had c-sections with my kids, because I can delight in telling them the truth that I was sliced open and each one of my children were pulled out. No discussing the details of a natural birth and no mentions of pushing babies out of parts that leave grown men weak in the knees. If I had to endure a c-sections then I should reap some benefits.
My theory has always been to give simple, age appropriate answers to these difficult questions that every parent dread. I don’t care how much you are in touch with yourself and liberal in your thinking, to sit across from that sweet face you watch grow from a wee little baby to an innocent child and explain the inner workings of sex, emotions and how the human body works while making another human it is a bit unnerving. We are working up to the major discussions, which I hope come little by little and when my kids are older. I have not decided which age would be the best, because I know that no such age exist. Much to the dismay of SoHubby, I have discussed, homosexuals, how babies are made, how babies come into this world and how one must protect themselves in certain situations. I do wish we were in a time when such things were not discussed and children remain innocent until their wedding night, but as I get older and hear many of my older generations tell their stories I am not sure that time ever existed. I would rather have my children know our view on things and be armed with correct information than to be confronted with misinformation from their peers. So as we visit our favorite dinner spot after a long day of school, work and daily life I eat my chicken sandwich waiting for the next uncomfortable question to arise and hope that I may accept the challenge quickly, graceful, truthful, and age appropriate. And I apologize to the unfortunate mother, who happens to sit next to us and get an earful, when I delight in their outrage and horror. It is the little things in life that keeps us going.