As we all meander through life and everything it sends our way, every so often we’ll encounter something that’ll curl the toes and trigger a spine tingling shudder.
Fingernails scratched down a chalkboard comes to mind. Gnashing on kitchen foil when you’ve a mouth full of fillings is another. Or perhaps it could be watching an elderly relative getting up on the dance floor and having a sensual gyrate to Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up”.
Anyway, my daughter had one of these toe curlers recently in the form of a good old fashioned Sex Education lesson.
Sex is one of those things some of us don’t often discuss in any great detail with our kids. I know my wife and I certainly haven’t to any greater degree yet. Sure, our kids are fully aware of the key anatomical bits and pieces of the body, and they know the parts from where things come out. But they’re not yet necessarily clued up on the parts of the body that go in. And out. And in again.
So, for my eleven year old to be having a lesson about the mechanics of a bit of rumpy pumpy was a good thing. And when she came home from school and mentioned it, my wife and I took a seat.
She told us she’d learnt more about penises and vaginas. She said they’d watched an animated video on the ins and outs of how babies are made. All these new words: womb, uterus, sperm, testicles, ovaries, egg (ok, she already knew that one, just in a different context) are now in her vocabulary.
She said the boys were goofing around which made the session a little more fun, but even so, she couldn’t find any other word to describe the ordeal than ‘horrifying’.
“Anything more you want to know?” my wife asked.
“No. Definitely not.” My daughter said, eyes looking to the ground.
And then we had one of those glorious parental milestones, like teaching them to ride a bike or to tie their shoelaces.
As a couple of seconds pass, she glances up to our faces. She looked at my wife. She then looked at me. We could see the cogs whirring to fizzing point as the grainy, half-formed image in her mind became that of crystal clarity. That icky, throw-up-in-your-own-mouth moment of realisation sinking in, when it’s possible to picture your parents doing, er, things, and when the term ignorance is bliss has never been truer.
We could see it in her eyes…
That how to make a baby video…
That damn how to make a baby video!
The look of mortification she gave us was as though we’d passed her a jar of fresh, slippery bogies and urged her to tuck in.
And it was safe to say, I savoured the moment.
But we’ve all been there. When you realise your parents do more than simply usher you out of the door to school and clean the cars at the weekend. When you discover they can be something other than just parents, and as partial to a bit of slap and tickle as much as the next couple.
We’ve all felt that discomfort. It’s natural. But to be on the other end of it was strange. Strange knowing that we are now the subject of said discomfort.
“Ok – no problem.” we said, “But if you want to know any more about sex, just ask.”
With wide eyes, she nodded and took herself upstairs. And I’m pretty sure she didn’t get a very good night’s sleep.