Sex education with young kids is always a tricky topic. I try to answer my daughters’ questions in an honest, age-appropriate fashion, even it sometimes backfires, e.g. “No Mummy, humans don’t have eggs. Only chickens have eggs.” But what about when someone else’s child starts asking perilous sex-related questions?
When my family sat by the lake stage in the Singapore Botanic Gardens recently to enjoy a school band performance, there were enough school kids around to run a whole season of American Idol auditions. Two young girls approached us and asked if they could pat our two labradors sitting beside us on the grass knoll.
“Sure.” I smiled and left them to their own devices so I could continue enjoying the music.
High-pitched giggling started tickling my right ear and I turned to see the two girls pointing at my male dog’s red protruding penis (the good ‘ole ‘Red Rocket’).
Oh no, here we go, I thought.
“What is that?” one girl asked me.
“It looks sticky,” said the other.
Loud warning bells rang in my head to rival the cymbals clashing on stage.
Jesus! How am I going to handle this one? Sex education with other people’s children is pure danger. If I give them a truthful, scientific answer they might run back to their parents parroting my words. The parents probably won’t appreciate that – it’s like showing someone else’s kid a pornographic magazine. But I can’t lie. I can’t ignore them either; that would be rude.
I looked at my husband to throw me a life buoy. He just glanced at me with an amused grin that read, ‘How are you going to get out of this one?’
Sensing my discomfort, my girls starting giggling too, adding to the hysterics building beside me, a crescendo of chaos.
And do you know what I did? In the heat of the moment, my brain baffled with choices, I did the very thing one would expect of a an (ir)responsible and (im)mature adult – I cupped my hand to my ear and shook my head at the girls, as if to say ‘I didn’t hear you’, and I turned back to the stage.
It’s not a proud moment, but it worked. The girls soon left.
Next time I’ll opt for a more considered route and say, “You need to ask your own parents.” But then again, I never know how I’ll react when confronted with a ‘sticky’ situation.