9 Nov 2011

Hestia...Four conversations with my son

Conversation 1: 

I am standing with the hamster securely locked in my cupped palms. Or so I think. I feel a tiny but determined skull forcing its way between my fingers. Sonshine has a plastic bag filled with hamster cage detritus that he is attempting to take out to the compost heap. I need him to do it quickly now as Nibbles needs to go back into his cage.

Currently it is locked.

Me: Just open the back door and put the bag on the step. I need to get Nibbles into his cage NOW!

Sonshine: I can't find the back door key....

Me: Look in my jacket pocket. QUICK!

Sonshine: It's not in your handbag....

Me: My jacket pocket. MY JACKET POCKET. Look in my jacket pocket!

Nibbles is now burrowing his way to freedom. Or should I say, burrowing HER* way to freedom, between my fingers.

Sonshine: Is this it? (shows me car keys)

Me: Did you look in my jacket pocket?

Sonshine: Do you want me to look in your jacket pocket?

Me: For Chrissakes LOOK IN MY JACKET POCKET. Can you not HEAR ME?

The key is duly found.

In my jacket pocket.

Nibbles has almost lost a foot as I struggled to keep her* from escaping.

Lesson learned: Always have the backdoor key in the lock OR Always ensure Nibbles' cage is unlocked OR Never ask an 11 year-old to help when things get to the wire.

* We got a leaflet from the petshop on how to sex your hamster.  Nibbles is utterly smooth down there, therefore he is a girl.  But Sonshine will not hear of this.  Nibbles remains a boy.  This may result in serious psychosexual problems for the hamster, but I'll just have to cope with the guilt on my own.

Conversation 2

 We are lying comfortably on the sofa with a fleecy blanket over us. It is winter. This is a Victorian house. We snuggle. The British Airways advert comes on TV: We watch the pilots and passengers change through the decades until we get to present day BA pilots. I like this advert a lot for some reason, possibly because The Meerkat's impossibly organised mother is a First Class Cabin Crew person.

'They're going to put their slogan back on their planes' tail fins.' I tell Sonshine.

'Slogan?' 'Yes, you know - their motto. It's in the advert. Can you remember what it is?'

He considers this for a moment and says: 'No refunds?'

I ponder the wisdom of having this emblazoned worldwide on their BA tail fins and not 'To Fly. To Serve' as they are currently planning and decide to write to Ryanair with the idea in the morning.

Conversation 3

He is standing in his pjs at the sink.  He has developed an interest in combing his hair.  I suspect A Girl.

'Any sign of a girlfriend?' I ask nonchelantly as I sit on the toilet pan (lid down. Of course.)


'I just wondered, what with the interest in your hair and the daily squirting of your dad's good Gucci aftershave.....'

'Well, there's Amy, of course.'

I have heard of no Amu.  This is news to me and I want to know EVERYTHING about her.

'Amy? Don't know that name.  What's she like?'


'Yanno - is she tall, short. Does she have dark or fair hair? Does she have long or short hair? Good at sports?

He held up a small hand, still brandishing the toothbrush and considered how to describe this paragon of loveliness in his class.

'Well, she's CLEAN,' he said.

And there's your proof right there that he's Tartarus's issue.

Conversation 4

We're in the kitchen. I'm cooking. Yes, a rare moment. Sonshine has washed his hands and is sitting on his little stool at the table.

 Sonshine: 'Mum......?'

 Me (stirring) 'Hmmmmmm?'

 Sonshine: 'What's an orgasm?'

 Me coughing violently (to buy me a few moments of time) 'Why do you want to know that?' I stutter. 

He is 11. When I was 11 the only questions that I asked my mother revolved around whether she reckoned I could be a Saint like Bernadette of Lourdes. I seem to remember that my questions brought about exactly the same sort of response from her too.

 Sonshine: 'What IS an orgasm?'

 Me: ' Well, what do YOU think it might be?'

 Sonshine: 'Is it something to do with carrots?'

 I am about to say 'no' when I wonder just what they might be talking about up in the playground these days? Perhaps it WAS something to do with carrots. And orgasms. There's a lot of strange DVDs going about these days, so, dear reader I said: 'You can ask your dad about that when he comes home in a couple of weeks'

 *mental note* must warn Tartarus before that moment arises so that we have an honest, but non-detailed response.

 I wish he'd just asked whether he might become Bernadette of Lourdes.


  1. HAHAHAHAHA. Oh Ali. 1 - as someone who works with small children, I love these posts. 2 - Your are an ace mum. an 3 - excellent work passing that on to Tartarus.

    She's CLEAN. good to know now that he is asking about orgasms.

  2. Our hamster (Mr Hamster) is female and M insists on calling her "him". I think sexually confused hamsters are the norm.

    I love these conversations.

  3. Thank God someone else says "Can you not hear me?" to their apparently confused children. Or other favourites, "Am I not speaking English today?" and "Exactly which part of STOP THAT do you not understand?"
    I like the sound of Clean Amy, she will do nicely.
    Orgasms, eh? Time for a more detailed description of Special Love, I think, tho perhaps without carrot references!
    My eldest (9) told me yesterday she knows what a "cudon" is. A what, love? Oh you mean a condom. Hmm, don't think you do know actually.
    And my 8 year old is keen on detail about childbirth, and asked if the pain was like trying to do "The Impossible Poo". What can I say?
    Love the post, made me chuckle, greatly. xxxx

  4. Sonshine is an absolute top chap. Don't you just love when they ask those questions? Nicely side stepped Ali, wait until Tartarus gets home. Lesley x

  5. you ought to be happy he's not into dirty girls.

    as for carrots and orgasms, well, that's one very real option, innit?

    also, i'm fairly certain you do NOT want your son wanting to be bernadette of lourdes. now *that* would be some psychosexual issues to deal with, and i think human therapy is a wee bit more expensive than hamster therapy.

    great post!

  6. As I got most of my sex education from toilet walls at school and thought a woman got pregnant by sticking your finger in her ear (the drawings weren't that good, this is a good step forward.

  7. Great post AliX, I think all parents go through conversations like that with their kids, and sometimes with their partners.
    Don't do what I did when my 10 year old asked what orgasms were.
    After a long, embarrassing and detailed explanation he still looked worried, shocked and definitely unconvinced, and I asked the definitive question "Why do you want to know?"
    He said "Homework"
    I said "What?"
    He said "Biology"
    He said "What orgasms live in the soil"
    *long silence as thick Dad figures this out and wishes he hadn't been so descriptive with his explanation*
    Unfortunately, kids don't come with a reset button, so I couldn't wipe my explanation from his mind.

  8. You two crack me up - I wish I could be a fly on the wall. I particularly like 'No Refunds' and will suggest it to my hobby-pilot husband. I also like the sound of 'clean' Amy - I hope we hear more of her! xxx

  9. The exchange concerning Nibbles sounds scarily like the way and Jon speak to each other!
    Sonshine is hilarious, No Refunds! ha! I'll be tittering over that all night. x

  10. I would die if my Little Man (also just 11) asked me about an Orgasm! He did once ask, about a year ago, if his Dad and I were OK last night as he heard some noise from our bedroom, I told him it was the TV, I wasn't lying!

  11. Brilliant! Very funny, especially carrots and orgasms.

    You've made me realise that I must prepare a good answer to that question (my girls are 12).


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