Friday, January 19, 2007

"Why do men look down when they pee?"

I chickened out when my 6-year old asked me that question. Caught off guard by this sudden query, my mind froze and for the life of me, I could not think of any acceptable answer!

(By the way, in case you are wondering how Abby got to witness this "phenomenon" - Filipino men have this disgusting habit of urinating the way dogs do - PRACTICALLY EVERYWHERE!!! Their favorite spots are against walls and fences, and it does not matter to them if that unfortunate fence happens to be at the roadside, easily visible to passing cars with impressionable and highly inquisitive children on board!

Don't they pity us parents who will have to fend off the relentless barrage of questions brought about by their thoughtlessness? Ha ha ha! Of course, THAT would be the last thing in their primitive and uncultured minds when nature would start calling!)

Why indeed do men look down when they pee? Panicked thoughts ran through my mind … why? … why? … think Olga … to admire their appendages? What??? I told myself, you CANNOT tell her that!! Besides, you’re not sure that it’s really it! What then? That they are ashamed? … hiding their faces? … after all, Abby already said that they were stinking up the place and harming the plants! But what if she follows up with “then why do they do it anyway?” If so, I’ll be seeing no end to this issue!

But I could not come up with any satisfactory answer guaranteed to put an end to this curiosity, so I took the coward’s way out and replied, “Hey, am I a boy? How would I know? Better ask Papa.”

Sure enough, Abby grabbed the phone from me when her father called a few days later. I could just imagine what went through her father’s mind when he heard THE QUESTION. Abby was quiet, simply nodding her head knowledgeably from time to time, and interrupting her father with occasional giggles and “oh yeahs!”

“What did Papa say?” “He said that they have to look down so they would know where to shoot their pee!” She burst out laughing as she added, “Papa said their pee might go to their pants if they don’t watch!” (Why didn’t I think of that?)

Our children make us groan and sigh and scratch our heads once they start bombarding us with those simple yet oh-so-difficult questions to answer. Moms and Dads could definitely identify with me when I’d write of those times when we struggled for suitable answers to questions, the truth of which, they were not quite ready yet!

Ever since Abby started talking, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve resorted to ingenious means of answering question without really answering them, or those moments when I squirmed as I got challenged for my inconsistent answers.

Take this question for instance: “how did the father’s sperm got inside the mother?” By the way, Abby already knows about the sperm and the egg from her collection of Grolier’s “Under the Microscope” and from watching National Geographic’s “In the Womb”.

I’ve been dreading that question for a long, long time. When it finally came, I was as unprepared as ever. I’ll never forget those knotted brows and that baffled look on her innocent face. I simply crossed my fingers and mumbled something about kissing. She accepted it – but for how long? - Oh God, I dread the answer to that!

The most recent challenge I got dropped out of nowhere. “Mama, didn’t you say that a girl has to marry first before she can have babies? How come Ate this and Ate that have babies but THEY DO NOT HAVE HUSBANDS YET?” (The last six words are capitalized to match Abby’s scandalized tone.)

Please humor me but I just have to give vent to my frustration at how difficult it is to instill values when our children are constantly being inundated with conflicting realities. How do we find the proper balance? Can we still mold their young minds toward the direction that we want them to take? We can only hope and pray.

Going back to Abby’s latest challenge, I know that I failed miserably in satisfying her curiosity with my evasive answers. How about you? How would you answer that question to a six-year old? I wish you all the luck!

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