Sam Wilson believes in honesty when dealing with kids. Right until they start asking the tricky questions.
“Mom, have you ever taken heroin?” asked my nine-year-old Josef the other day, apropos absolutely nothing, while we were making chocolate and banana muffins, for fuck’s sake.
“No,” I replied with conviction. “Absolutely not. Never.”
And then I braced myself. Because while my response was perfectly true, there were a number of related questions of a more watered-down nature that I might not have been able to respond to quite as emphatically.
I had had a similar moment a few weeks before, when my 7-year-old Benj posed the following question:
“Mom, have you ever slept with anyone other than Dad?”
All four of us were on the couch, watching his Christmas copy of Over the Hedge, when he launched this little gem. Andreas promptly did some launching of his own, as he choked on some popcorn.
“Well, your father is the only man I have ever shared a bed with,” I responded primly, which made Andreas make a strange new noise, I am going to classify somewhere between a choke and a snicker. “Remember our old pine bed? Well, before that, when we were students, we shared a three-quarter bed. And gosh, that was a tight squeeze, I can tell you! In fact, I...”
I prattle when I am nervous. Obviously.
“Nice, Sammy,” I thought to myself. “the poor kid can probably smell your fear.”
Dreas and I have always said that if you can’t be honest about your lifestyle, you shouldn’t be living it. And I really, really believe that. But even Dreas and I, who are unusually open with our children on most things, are not about to sit them down and discuss why certain experimentation may not be a totally terrible idea at certain points in your life, with specific examples.
And see how I am fudging this, even with you, lovely readers? Gosh.
What do you suggest? Should you tell your children about your own more nefarious decisions? And if you decide to but (as Dreas and I have decided) you choose to wait until they are old enough to take it on board... what do you say in the meantime?
I am fretting here, people. All suggestions welcome.
Are you completely honest with your children? Or do you think they're better left in the dark?