Friday, 25 July 2008

The things kids ask ...

but this is more about the times and places they ask "those questions", all prompted by Andrew's question in the checkout queue at the crowded supermarket last night. (More on that in a minute).

Like the time Alex asked, at the top of his oh-so-loud-five-year-old-voice, in the middle of a very crowded McDonald's in the dinner rush, "Where do babies come from?" After looking around me to find every other person over the age of 10, and some under it too, looking right at me, waiting with bated breath to see what I was going to say, I quickly made the decision that short and sweet was good: "Out of their mother's tummy." Another quick glance around me caught several other mothers giving either approving nods, one of those 'I feel for you because I've been there too' looks, 'relief that I didn't go into more detail' looks or just squirming 'cos they knew it was coming for them too. We had just reached the counter when Alex decided to hassle me about the anatomical incorrectness of being in the mother's tummy ...
"It can't be the tummy. That's where the food goes. I thought it had something to do with ovaries and tentacles (testicles) and that other thing, you know, the room (womb) in your insides".
"Yes, it does but I'll explain more when we get home."
"OK Mum. But what I really want to know is how do they get out."
I still don't know who was trying to get us out of there quicker .. the girl behind the counter or me.

Then there was the time Bradley, also in a rather loud and penetrating tone of voice, asked why one of my boobs was bigger than the other, while we were waiting in a long line at the petrol station to pay for our petrol. The fact that I was the only woman in the whole place was just a bonus. I wasn't just blushing; I was the colour of tomato sauce!

But to get back to the question that started all of this, Andrew was helping me unload the shopping onto the conveyor belt when he suddenly turned and asked, "Mum, what's a condom?" Now the question in itself is fairly harmless as public questions go and the answer I gave was very matter-of-fact, ("It's something a man puts on his penis so the woman doesn't get pregnant when they have sex"), but you know how you have those moments when everything seems to just stop and get very, very quiet just as you say something you don't want overheard? This was one of those moments. I'm sure the entire supermarket had picked just that moment to cease making any and all noise. All I could hear was my own voice saying the word 'penis' very loudly at the exact time everyone else stopped talking.

The checkout girl nearly dropped the first dozen eggs as she went bright red; the lady at the checkout next to me just stood there with her mouth open staring at me; the guy at the checkout on the other side of me was trying really hard not to crack up laughing and I was just wishing the floor would open up and swallow me whole. All the while Andrew was still unloading the trolley, completely oblivious to the reactions of people around him. In fact, he just ploughed on with his train of thought ... "So why do they make pink ones if they're for guys? Guys don't wear pink undies so why would they wear pink condoms?"

I then had to wait to get the other dozen eggs replaced because the guy at the next checkout laughed so loud, it startled the checkout girl, who dropped the eggs, which bounced once then smashed. I also had to explain the whole situation to the checkout supervisor who was ready to yell at the poor checkout girl, who I'm sure will run and hide the next time she sees me walking into the supermarket.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love taking my kids out in public?

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