I’m sexy and I…don’t even know what it means.

Words. They’re wonderful things. I’ve always loved playing with language and want my children to have a similar lexicographical love affair. I thrill when they use (in context or out) a new discovery. Apart from one word.


You think parenting is hard when you have a baby, but you don’t know the half of it till your six year old limbo dances across the landing after his bath, dressing gown akimbo and bits a-wobble, gyrating and gurning in time to a monotone “I’m seeexy and I knooooow it”.

Thanks, LMFAO. (I didn’t, by the way).

What does “sexy” mean, I ask nonchalantly. The 5 year old comes over at this point. They smirk. They don’t know what it means, but there’s a definite consciousness, and, undeniably, they smirk. They hear it in other songs and sing along to them, too. Do I make a big deal and ask them not to? But then I’d be confirming their suspicions; giving it the allure of the illicit.

It’s not, ironically, that they don’t have a rudimentary grasp of human biology. Too many neighbouring babies and engineer’s genes have meant we’ve never got away with vague stories about storks. They know about tummy buttons, and seeds, and where they come from, although they’re patchy on the detail (“Mummy, why have we got three children when boys only have two balls?)

Before I had babies my principles were impeccable. None of that there trashy TV, no far-too-adult pop videos. My children were going to *be* children. Then reality happens and the world comes in. I don’t want them growing up set apart from their peers, the best I can hope is that we give them enough to discern gold from glitter. I can talk to them about sex sensibly and age-appropriately; talking about “sexy” (and stopping them thinking it’s something to aim for) is a damn sight harder.


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