On Thursdays I pick up my stepdaughters from school. We walk along the main road and as we get nearer home and cross the road by the traffic lights, my heart sinks. I feel like a man facing a firing squad. Because, as we pass the front garden on the corner, the girls shout ‘Yay! It’s The Friendly Doggies!’
Why does my heart sink? Why are these four Spaniels of differing colours and ages called The Friendly Doggies? Why would I prefer to be facing a firing squad at that exact moment?
Well, the dogs rush to the fence and greet people as they pass, and they…
‘Why is that dog jumping on the other doggy’s back?’
‘It’s… erm… giving the other doggy a piggy back’ I’ve said in the past. One of my better moments of thinking on my feet. ‘Let’s move along now. Quickly. No looking back. Nothing to see here.’
Of course, dear reader, what the doggy is actually doing, is actually doing the other doggy. Doggy style.
I don’t call them The Friendly Doggies. In my head.
In my head, I call them The Fucking Doggies. The Quite Literally Fucking Right In Front Of Your Eyes Doggies.
The girls are 10 and 7 and ‘on the way home from school’ isn’t the correct time for a conversation about the Birds and the Bees. But when is the correct time?
Never. Probably. Because I’m a chicken of the highest order. Coo-coo ca cha!
I say this with some good reason as it’s probably not my place to have that conversation with them. Yet. Not until they’ve had it with their mum and dad, or a variation on a theme of the family set-up. This may sound like a cop-out, probably because it is a cop-out, but I’ll join in with the conversation about sex with their mummy, if needs be. Be the supportive voice saying how, while what we’ve described, sex, does SOUND quite disgusting, it’s a perfectly normal thing, and actually not disgusting at all. It’s great!
Actually don’t think about that. Not yet. Move along now.
And don’t think about us having sex. Ever. No we really should move along now and oooh, does anyone want ice cream? Sweets? Money?
Perhaps I shouldn’t ever be allowed near that conversation.
I remember my mother, quite perfunctorily, telling me about sex. I’m still scarred. After that moment we never spoke of it again. Even after the time I got sent home from school early after a lightning teacher’s strike and found her in flagrante delicto on the sofa with a neighbour. It was embarrassing seeing mum, doing THAT. More so because I had a school friend with me.
It’s never gonna be conversation I’m going to have with my stepdaughters alone, on the way back from school, without a grown-up to supervise. I’ll change the subject, move it along, bribe them with sweets, chocolates and fizzy pop simply just to get out of it. I get embarrassed enough when we’re all in the living room and nature programmes talk about animals mating or when they discuss breeding programmes in zoos. Or when Kermit and Miss Piggy get a bit intimate on The Muppets.
Maybe it’s because they’re my stepdaughters. Back to that post I wrote about being a stepdad, I’ll support and help their mum, and while I accept I might have to have that conversation with my own children at some point as I’m their parent, I’m not the first point of reference for this conversation with my stepdaughters.
Of course I’ll have to talk about it at some point, and I accept that referring to it as The Birds and The Bees isn’t exactly 21st century parenting. So, to help me along and prepare me for the horror, I decided to search the interwebs to help my thinking. Word of advice: never Google anything concerning sex while in public. In a café. The people behind me who could see my screen ran out quicker than they would’ve done if there’d be a fire alarm.
A friend has lent me a book for perusal, which might help explain sex and the mechanics of to a younger audience. It’s called Mummy Laid An Egg. So the book’s a bit old, 23 years old in fact, but sex is the same as it was 23 years ago. Right?
Apparently not. On the page about sex, THIS is how mummies and daddies ‘fit together’.
I’ve never done it on a skateboard, on a spacehopper, or with balloons tied to my feet but I’m ready to give it a go.
No. I think I should avoid this entire topic for the time being and stick to something easy.
Have you had That Conversation yet or are you, like me, living in denial and hope it will all go away, la la la I’m not LISTENING LA LA LA? Please let us know your experiences in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.