I remember a night where Agent M was a wee baby, full of colic and constipation, screaming his little lungs out - and I thought this is the hardest part of parenting.
I remember a day in town just the two of us and he decided to throw a 'Grade A - mission abort - send in reinforcements' style wobbler. While trying to hold back the tears of embarrassment while wrestling this rabid monkey into a buggy I remember thinking this is definitely the hardest part of parenting.
Oh how naive I was.
The other day Agent M asked me what masturbation was ... now this. THIS is the hardest part of parenting!
A while back I got a bundle of letters from the school that Agent M had been collecting like commemorative tat in his class tray. In amongst the old sponsorship forms and requests for baked goods (god those teachers must think I'm a flake!), was a leaflet telling us that the school are going to start teaching the kids about sex and relationships.
I guess I knew it was coming (no pun intended) but I wasn't too phased about it. Agent M knew the basics from a young age. He asked so any questions so we took a trip to the library and the lady was very helpful guiding us to the age appropriate body books. He understood the fundamentals. "When a mummy and a daddy love each other very much they have a special hug ..." He got the gist and although eternally disappointed that he "left his tail in mummy's tummy" he never really asked me about it again.
Till the other day when he was playing with his magnitex and I on my laptop and out of nowhere asked what masturbation meant.
I have no idea what triggered the question. He said he heard the word as school so it had obviously been on his mind but me being totally unprepared was not how I wanted these kinds of conversations to go.
I have zero experience with raising boys. Agent M was the first boy born in my family for a while. I am used to baby girls. Being a girl myself I am fully prepared to have the period/boob talk. I'm not so well scripted on the boy talk.
Perhaps that's a fault on my part. It's not like I didn't know it was coming. I mean, he is gonna ask at some point but honestly I thought I had more time. He's only just turned 10. Can't he just stay young just that little bit longer?
Although my mum found the whole situation hysterical when i told her, I am grateful that I had her as I thought back to what she told me (and I adapted it to be boy specific).
I'm realising as Agent M is growing up I am having to adapt my parenting style a bit. He is so inquisitive that I feel being open and honest is the best approach with him. It's also important to me that he doesn't spend the majority of his adulthood recovering from his childhood.
That one question opened up such a massive conversation which caught me completely off guard - but I feel I handled well. I'm happy knowing that he understands that masturbation and Sex are both perfectly natural and normal parts of life. They are to be done in private and the latter only when you are old enough and completely ready. Never in a way that makes you or your partner feel uncomfortable and always in a safe way.
We left the conversation with him knowing that he can talk to me about anything else and that I will never judge him or be upset at his questions. In the mean time I'm researching the best books to read and going though parenting blogs like an FBI agent looking for evidence. I will not be caught off guard again dag nabit!
Surely that was the hardest part of parenting! *gulp*