Sometimes the car is not the place for an anatomy lesson. Sure, if you’re 16 and in love, maybe it’s the place where you learn what getting to second base is all about. But if you’re a mom, anatomy lessons while driving can be dangerous.
Questions don’t quite jar me like they used to. I’ve learned to expect anything from my kids on the open road, or on the ten-minute trek home from school. Either one. Oh, my kids have thrown some doozies at me just as I was trying to maneuver a busy intersection with the stealth skill of a Frogger champ. They somehow break through that tough barrier of concentration. It’s like someone’s in the backseat yelling, “Hey, driver, driver! Hey, driver, driver, hey!” I try to block them out, but those pesky kids are determined to chip through my focus. An innocent question hangs over my head and I hem and haw and brake and steer and hyperventilate all at once while my mind screams, “Get me out of this tiny box with these kids!” and “How come they never ask my husband these things on the way to school?”
Through the years, my kids have found the stained gray velour seats of our van a safe haven for asking the tough questions, a therapy bench if you will. I’m convinced it’s the no eye contact thing. That or the questions have been brewing in their minds at school all day, and their brains finally explode like steam from a kettle as soon as they get me alone.
“But what I don’t get is, how does the baby get in there?”
“Where does the baby come out of?”
“Parker told me on the playground that his mom is Santa. Is that true?”
“Mom, is s-e-x-y a bad word?”
And recently my kids were talking about crotches, which led to this: “What I want to know is what a girl’s private parts are called.”
Now I know I’ve mentioned that to them before, but I told them again to a response of giggles. And then a song about it. And then “a va-what?”
Just once I’d like for my husband to get those questions and I’d like to be a fly on the wall when he squirms and tells them the answer—and then I’d like to sing a song about it. Because I think I am finally over the discomfort and the hemming and hawing and the surprises from the backseat.