Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Clearly, I Don't Know What the Hell I'm Doing.

Picture this: I'm dancing around my kitchen, humming while I prepare a 3-course, delicious yet healthy meal for my family. The children are playing nicely in the living room, smiling beatifically while helping each other fingerpaint a reproduction of the Mona Lisa. Birds are fluttering around my head, tying ribbons in my hair. Then my oldest son comes in, and announces: "Jack Sprat called me gay today. What does that mean?"

(SFX: Needle scratching across record.)

The birds fly away in terror. I stop humming, and the asparagus souffle slips from my well-manicured fingertips and crashes to the polished floor. My daughter starts to screech like a howler monkey and eats the painting.

Ok, so I exaggerated a bit. They weren't painting the Mona Lisa, they were sculpting Rodin's The Thinker with Play-Do. The rest of it, though, was totally and completely true. Let's move on, shall we?

My son is not gay. My son is not straight. My son is eight years old, and is still mastering the complexities of zipping his fly all the way up after using the bathroom. So, I think we can safely postpone worrying that he will be sporting a dress to his senior prom. Yet, I was still faced with a bit of a stickler. In retrospect, I can come up with a dozen or more approaches, all reasonable and understandable, none judgmental or preachy, that basically give the gist that everyone is different, nobody is more perfect or imperfect than others, and that Jack Sprat was fathered by the mailman so who is he to be passing judgment? But, at the time, when I was holding leftover pizza asparagus souffle in my hands and my daughter was screeching like a howler monkey screeching like 10 howler monkeys on speed, I was at a bit of a loss. I stuttered, stammered, and I think put together 3 sentences that may or may not have been in Kurdish.

Later, when my son was getting ready for bed, I relearned English, stuck a banana in my daughter's prehensile tail, and had the discussion with him that I wanted to. I explained to him that everyone is different, sometimes boys like girls, sometimes boys like boys, and that Jack Sprat was not fathered by the mailman, but his mother is still a whore, so he can just shut the hell up with the names.

This last bit was in Kurdish, because I am a good mom.


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