Sons and Mothers

I’m usually at a loss when it comes to telling junior the facts of life. Specially the steamy ones involving birds and bees. 

The other day a colleague dropped by for my signature on a letter petitioning the authorities to neuter the neighbourhood dogs.  She had it all worked out. An animal rights organization would set up camp in the neighbourhood for a month, identify all the er . . . potential  dogs, neuter them and . . . uh . . . observe their behaviour over the month. Just to make sure. All very tidy and clinical and humanitarian.  

I was quickly convinced.  Not that I oppose canine sexual rights, but nice old people on their morning and evening walks have Human Rights. So I signed. Not so some others.  One neighbour, a married woman with three children, asked my colleague,”Shouldn’t you be doing the family planning operation (sic) for the  uh . . . bitches?” Oh I see.  Canine machismo is also sacred. Not just her husband’s. 

 And the authorities had to be convinced. She’s usually dogged in these matters, is my colleague. “This is the season. They’re all in heat you know. . . ” And the fuddy-duddys shuffled their feet, cleared their throats and lowered their eyes.  “Yes, we will constitute a Committee . . .” one of them began. “But don’t you see?” she cried. “There’s no time! They’re getting more aggressive each day. You can’t put Nature through a Committee!!”

Unfortunately, while I shook with laughter,  my kid was right there listening to every word of this salacious conversation. And after she left, the inevitable questions: What’s neutered? Why male dogs? Why are they aggressive? Are human beings also neutered? Is  that why I don’t have a brother or a sister? Can we do this to Daddy when he gets angry?


But not all his questions are like this. Some really tug at the heartstrings.

“What happens to us when we die ma?”he once asked. And he looked troubled so I knew I had to be careful. Now my take on these ones is to give him as many views/opinions/facts as I know and then let him decide for himself. (Helping him think for himself and all. This is one enlightened mother.)  

So I told him what mythology, folklore, religion, and science have to say on the subject. And I ended with some fairy tales. Like the one about all of us becoming stars? Obviously he liked that one. Then he turned to me,  eyes widening and filling with tears. “But ma, you’ll die before me, no? And when I also die and become a star, how will I know which one of those stars up there is you? How will I come near you?”(I quote verbatim.)

Ah . . . children.

Afterthought. Here’s a really funny piece on the subject of children’s questions.  Typically machismo sense of humour. But hey. I forgive them, for they know not what they say. Really.


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