“Guess what, mom? ’D’ got a really gross book out of the library about the Titanic.”
“Yes, it was really sad how those people died in the frozen water,” I repsonded
“No, he said there were people in there and they were doing sex!”
I didn’t bother to continue the conversation, knowing full well that if I tried to smooth things over it would lead into something that would definitely be over the head of my first grade son, who probably doesn’t know what “doing sex” is quite yet.
We haven’t had to deal with all of that yet, and while my kids have been told countless time about animals mating and how we attempt to hand fertilize our pumpkin plants in the garden (yes, we force pumpkin sex), the topic of humans has never really come up until now.
And it’s all thanks to a boy I’ll refer to as “D” although I’d like to refer to him as what he really is, “turd of a child who is telling my innocent redheaded son who cares more about dirtbikes and toads than about people doing sex in a boat.” Urgh.
But as any parent knows, you can love your kids and you can pick their noses, but you can’t always love the friends your kids pick. That doesn’t stop us from trying, though.
Regrettably I am one of those moms who attempts to gently push my children in the direction of decent friends. While volunteering at their school or at the park, I take mental notes:
-That kid is filthy.
-That kid is swearing (and she’s four years old.)
-That one just ate a handful of rocks while his mom was applying lipstick.
-That one brought a fingernail clipping to school for show and tell. (This is, I’m afraid, a true story.)
And when my list is complete I start the good old fashioned bribing, telling me kids that if they invite “T” over, then we’ll go play putt-putt or eat giant ice cream sundaes for lunch, tie dye t-shirts or make beautiful crafts. The hope is that I’ll work my Pavlov’s dog mojo on them and they’ll start associating decent people with fun rewards.
I realize that this may not be the most freedom a parent can give, and children should be allowed to make their own choices based on the things they have learned in our care. The problem is that there’s bound to be some six year old flashing your kid a picture of a rowboat and telling him about people doing sex. And it all happens while you are nowhere to be found.
Call me wrong, call me right, call me anything because I know as much as I’m scrutinizing other kids (and their parents) I know that somewhere, someone is eyeing up my own brood and thinking, “they do pumpkin sex at their house. Let’s go find that brainy kid who knows so much about the Titanic.”
Such is life.