‘What’s this Auntie Toria’ asked Teddy, as he stumbled out of the shed holding his Dad’s old cricket box aloft.
‘Ermmmm.. well, it’s something you use when you play cricket Ted’
‘To help your bowling Auntie Toria?’
‘Erm, no...it’s part of your outfit’
‘Erm, well it’s a protector’
‘What does it protect?’ he asked
I took a deep breath and decided to overcome my embarrassment and be honest; ‘It protects your willy Ted’
Huge peels of laughter as both Teddy and my younger nephew Alex rolled about on the grass throwing the cricket box between them – ‘IT PROTECTS YOUR WILLY! IT PROTECTS YOUR WILL’ they both sang.
Oh dear. So, the boys had come to stay at Nanna and Grandad’s for the weekend and would be going home with more than just their new favourite word ‘knackered’, learned from Grandad earlier in the day, they’d be going home talking about protecting their willies.
‘I’m protecting my willy, I’m protecting my willy’ sang Ted as he pranced about the lawn with his dad’s old cricket box stuffed down the front of his shorts.
‘Give it to me Ted’ pined Alex; ‘I need to protect my willy too!’
‘No one needs to protect their willy’s, let’s just put it back in the shed......’
said Grandad, the voice of reason, if a voice sometimes punctuated with mildly offensive vocabulary. Whether or not ‘buggered’ or ‘knackered’ are considered proper swear words these days, I’ve no idea, all I know is, I was soundly told off when I was Teddy’s age for exclaiming ‘RATS!’ to everything.
The exchange over the cricket box got me thinking, mostly about the birds and the bees and when we’d have the inevitable conversation with Nipper. She’d already started pointing at Dadda’s appendage when he stood naked in the shower. To be fair, she shows no fear of it, probably due in part to her over exposure to Norman’s sausages. She may even believe that due to Mummy’s propensity for cooking them, Daddy has taken a fancy to hanging one on his person (obviously he’s gone for the jumbo and not the chipolata).
Kids seem so ‘knowing’ these days. I was nine years old before I asked my mum whether Dad was Father Christmas. Teddy is only six but he comes out with phrases that are so adult. When I asked him the other day if he thought that the Yeti at Riverhill Gardens slept in the woods at night time he answered in a loud voice; ‘oh yes Auntie Toria’, then whispered in my ear; ‘I only said that for the other children Auntie Toria, it’s really a man in a suit – I saw the at the back when he turned around. I’m not sure where the cut-off point occurred and Teddy made the transition from ‘child’ to ‘man’ but he clearly doesn’t see himself as one of the ‘children’ – he’s a Small Person.
Small People seem so aware these days and I wouldn’t be surprised if Nipper came home from pre-school and asked us before the age of 3 about the birds and the bees. N believes that ‘they will do that at school for us and we won’t have to cover the topic’. However, I’m not sure I want someone else telling Nipper about the miracle of life; that’s what I’m choosing to call it today, yesterday I was calling it nasty dirty things when Nipper tried to order an adult video on Sky. It was clearly a mistake to let her entertain herself with the remote while I quickly replied to a work email but perhaps it’s a plan for later down the line, when I chicken out again when asked an embarrassing question.