I try to be as honest as possible with him, but wow. Sometimes there just are no age-appropriate explanations. What should I have said, for example, when he recently asked me this little gem:
"Mommy, what's a dick?"
Instantly I was wracked with guilt. Like a kid who's been caught with a hand firmly planted in the cookie jar. I just knew that I was the culprit ... that my beloved four-year-old's tender ears would never have heard the word "dick" if I hadn't kind of, um, asked his father to stop being one the other day.
"Where did you hear that?" I asked him lightly. I was fully prepared for him to say, "From you, Mommy!" Silently I thanked the Lord that this conversation was being had with me and not with, say, his uber-religious wouldn't-say-a-swear-word Nana.
But he surprised me.
"I heard Olivia say it," he said.
I breathed a little sigh of relief, but then my WTF-meter kicked into high gear. Because Olivia, in case you don't know, is this animated pig:
But still, there was the question at hand. And he wanted answers.
"That isn't a very nice word," I tried, knowing full well that such a paltry explanation wouldn't get me off the hook.
"Okay, but what does it mean?"
I looked around helplessly, as if the answer would materialize out of thin air. What could I say? I didn't want him using the word, thinking it had some alternate definition. So finally, I just said, "Well, son, it's a ... it's a not-so-nice word for, uh ... for penis."
Colin absorbed this for a minute. "Oh," he said. "I thought it had something to do with reading books."
Huh?? Even more puzzled, I watched him skip off to play, satisfied with my definition.
Fast-forward to yesterday afternoon: we're watching Olivia together after the boys' nap. In this episode, Olivia's dad is reading to her at bedtime, and she says something like, "Abick. It's a word I made up that means 'read me another book.'"
"See?" said Colin triumphantly. "Abick. It doesn't mean penis, Mommy."