“So Arnold [not really Arnold] asked us a reeeeally weird question at lunch,” Thalia said, cozying up to me in that way she does when she wants to discuss something but isn’t quite sure how it will play out.
“Well, there were all boy and girls around at lunch and he asked us, Whose weenie would you rather kiss?”
“He…what? Whose weenie?”
“Yes. Isn’t that weird?”
“Yes, sweetie, that’s really weird. Was he uh, asking about the boys in the class?”
I’m not sure I breathed until I got an answer.
Fortunately her nose wrinkled at the thought. “No…he gave us choices of Harry Potter, Voldemort, or Gandalf.”
Voldemort’s weenie. Lovely thought.
I am really not entirely sure what I said at that point because various paragraphs from myriad parenting books and articles raced through my head like a bad montage of spinning newspapers in an old movie. I think I said something about how gross that is and that you don’t have to answer any questions like that if it makes you feel uncomfortable. I definitely used the word disgusting. A few times. Which may or may not have been right. Then I talked about how boys often try to say crazy things like that to try and shock people or make them laugh or get attention.
But inside I was thinking, stay away from my daughter, you creepy juvenile pervert. I have your mother’s phone number and I’m not afraid to use it.
Nate has another take: that yes, it’s a weird statement but that this is par for the course. That 7 and 8 year old boys start getting obsessed with their body parts, which means talking about them and thinking about them and dropping them into conversation any chance they get.
I have never been a boy. I do not know such things.
Which is why he likely had the best response: He explained to her that boys may say weird things like that, but if anyone ever asks you to do something like that, you don’t do it and you tell us.
It seems that a large part of our job as parents is to become armchair child behavioral experts, creating the next chapter of the self-help parenting book on the fly. And hope it’s not ridiculously, painfully wrong.
I haven’t the slightest idea how to start approaching stuff like this. But it also makes me realize that there are a lot of things my kids will continue to learn that are out of my hands. Some are good, and some are…well, we send them off into the world, and they will come back with stories about weenie-boys and mean girls and all sorts of incidents that we wish we would remain on the outside of the imaginary plastic bubbles we’ve all created for them at birth, whether we want to admit it or not.
(Admit it: you have one, don’t you?)
Really, I think all we can do is hope by now that we’ve equipped them with enough common sense and basic coping skills that they can react in a semi-appropriate way. And I think she did. Because she called it “weird.”
I also feel like the fact she could tell me in the first place, that was the most important part of all. And I made sure she knew that.
But honestly? I’d be happy not hearing about weenie-kissing until the next Mayan apocalypse.
What would you have done? Call the parents? Discuss it offhandedly at drop-off? Talk to your kids and leave it at that?
Can you believe that we used to have debates about CIO and that actually seemed important at the time?
And who the hell says “weenie” anyway?