a gay old time

by MrsFatass on January 11, 2011

Thing One: Mom, what does gay mean?

Holy Crapballs, are you kidding me? Can’t we go back to talking about what Mommy and Daddy were doing when you walked in our room that night?

Me: Well, why don’t you tell me where you heard it so that I can help you understand what it meant.

Please tell me you were watching The Flintstones, please tell me you were watching The Flintstones, please tell me you were watching The Flintstones.

Thing One: Uh. At school. Some kids say it at school.

Of course you couldn’t just be asking about The Flintstones.

Me: So you hear people saying ‘gay’ like an insult? When they want to be mean to somebody?

Please let that be the only word he’s heard so far.

Thing One: I guess. Mean or funny. People laugh.

Me: Do you laugh?

Thing One: Sometimes. But what does it mean?

What are the chances he’ll get pummeled on the playground if I tell him gay means happy?

Me: Well. You know how in our family, your mommy and daddy fell in love and got married. But some mommies want to marry another mommy. And some daddies want to marry another daddy. That’s what gay is.

Is it hot in here? I think it’s hot in here.

Thing One:

….

Oh. Why is that something mean to say?

It’s really not, is it? And when the kids use it, it rarely has anything to do with what being gay actually means.

Me: Well, sometimes people make fun of people who are different then they are. It makes them uncomfortable, or they don’t understand it, so they tease. We’ve talked about that before. Remember when we had the talk about the kids at your school who are in wheelchairs? And you said you didn’t like it when other kids made fun of them?

Because you’re sweet and compassionate, Thing One. Please remember that.

Thing One: Yeah. Do you call people gay?

I have before, sure. Like everyone, I had to learn a few lessons the hard way. Please learn this one from me, and not from hurting the feelings of somebody you care about.

Me: Not like that. I don’t use that word to insult somebody. That’s not the kind of person I want to be.

Thing One: Why do other kids say it?

Maybe because they hear their parents say it. Maybe because they don’t understand it can be really hurtful. Maybe because they don’t think it’s a big deal. Maybe because somewhere along the line somebody told them being gay was wrong, bad, gross, whatever. Maybe because they never sat down and asked their mommy about the word.

Me: Kids tease. That’s just part of being a kid. Not all teasing is bad. But some teasing can be really hurtful, and a lot of that is because of the words you choose. The words you use can take it from regular funny teasing to something really mean. So this is one of those times when you have to make a choice. Do you think you’re going to say it?

Thing One: I don’t know. I don’t think so. Do I have to tell other people to stop?

I wish I could say yes, but I know why you’re asking. You don’t want the kids to call you names. And I don’t either.

Me: You have to do what you’re comfortable with. If, for right now, all you chose to do was NOT to use that word with your friends, I think that would be enough. I think that would be a good choice.

Is that enough? Should I be expecting more? If I had only seen this coming I would have called Geno to talk it over first.

Thing One: Okay. Hey mom?

Oh my dear sweet baby Jesus, aren’t we done yet?

Me: Yes, baby?

You may be almost 8, but you are still my baby. You always will be.

Thing One: Do we have any ice cream?

***********

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Miz January 11, 2011 at 5:46 am

ahhhhh
I love kids
I love your parenting approach
I love how you are always so timely for my needs too (selfish much? :))
just this past weekend when my child was ‘marrying’ two barbies she got the “THATS GAY” lecture from a playground kid.
which started the talk around here…but on a 5 year old level which meant the ice cream (or here the CAN I GO SWING NOW) came far sooner.
but the more questions? they are a’coming.

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Mish January 11, 2011 at 5:51 am

you’re a good mom.

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Kirsten (results not typical girl) January 11, 2011 at 7:22 am

I would have LOVED for my mom to tell me that some people feared/hated queers before I proudly went to school and announced that my mom had decided she was a lesbian. Woulda been NIFTY! Thanks to that experience, I learned that KIRSTEN rhymes with QUEERSTIN. For like 5 years. YAY.

Great way to handle it. Love hearing TicTac explain to her friends what lesbians are!!

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Coco January 11, 2011 at 7:27 am

You are an awesome mom and I so admire how you talked to your son.
I love the question “Why is that something mean to say?” Maybe some day it won’t be.

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LaniePainie January 11, 2011 at 8:10 am

Don’t leave us hanging . .. . what’s the status on the ice cream?

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FatAngryBlog January 11, 2011 at 8:15 am

You handled that in an excellent manner.

Son has met a few of my gay friends so I actually explained it to him in that manner before he even asked about the word.

It’s always great to talk to our kids about these things sooner rather than later.

Awesome Mommying!!!

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Kelly @Happy Texans January 11, 2011 at 8:24 am

Gotta love kids. 🙂 The innocence. I remember a similar conversation.
We also get interesting conversations from commercials that should not be aired in my opinion. For the longest time Rachel called Niagra Falls Viagra Falls. Yes.

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jen (jeninRL) January 11, 2011 at 9:03 am

I think I can beat that…

Quynn asked Big Man …

wait for it…
she wanted to know what a cock was?!?!

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Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story January 11, 2011 at 9:12 am

Having been raised by a single Mom with help from my gay older brother, I think you handled this amazingly. I love how you are so open with your kids. It’s so very admirable in a world where parents sugar coat things way too often.

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Katy January 11, 2011 at 9:35 am

Amazing. You handled this beautifully — and I think this is the kind of dialogues we should be having with ALL ages, not just 8-year-olds.

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tj January 11, 2011 at 9:41 am

If all of the mothers in the world spoke to their children this way, the world would be a much better place. 🙂
tj- Proud sister of a gay brother 🙂

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homelesslady January 11, 2011 at 9:54 am

I JUST had this conversation less than a week ago! Great approach. I have learned the hard way (and sometimes still forget) to pause and ask the “what do you think it means” or “why do you ask” question before launching into a long uncomfortable conversation that didn’t need to happen. : P

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Ellie Di January 11, 2011 at 10:10 am

A truly great piece of parenting right here. I love that you included your inner monologue to contrast with what you actually told Thing One. I can only hope that I handle it as well when my someday-children ask me the same question.

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Deb January 11, 2011 at 10:10 am

Man, I love this. I am so sharing this. It’s awesome. Thank you.

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Kerri O January 11, 2011 at 10:19 am

You are such a GREAT mom…I am going to count my lucky stars that mine are just asking me what pop tarts are 😉

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Becky Johns January 11, 2011 at 10:55 am

absolutely love this one, sugar. god bless that little guy of yours. EIGHT?! seriously. it’s just not fair. now you’re gonna tell me that thing one is THREE! 😉 it’s gone by too fast, sister. way to handle this powerful subject well. i am just as proud of the fruit as i am the TREE. xoxoxo

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Katie @ Up Fit Creek January 11, 2011 at 11:25 am

Wow. You’re an awesome mom. THANK YOU so much for tackling that one in an honest way. My daughter’s too young to ask questions, but when she does I hope I can give her even half as awesome of a response as you did.

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Untypically Jia January 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I don’t even have kids yet and already I’m stressing over these type of conversations with them.

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Lisa January 11, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Thing One is mighty lucky to have you for his mama! Seriously. Talk about grace under pressure. I admire how you handled this one.

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JourneyBeyondSurvival January 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm

We’ve had a lot of sticky conversations around here too. But, they only turn out to be sticky because of my thinking and my knowledge of the wider world. My eight year old is usually just weighing what I say against ‘the kids’. I don’t need to worry about the latest political debate. Or what was said on the last newscast. I just need to go with my gut. Like you.

Thanks for being an honest mom.
I’ve always liked those.

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seattlerunnergirl January 11, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I love the conversations you have with your kids and that you share them with us. Maybe I should be taking notes…

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Jenn January 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Wow – you explain these hard things SO well to your kids. If only every parent could explain things to their children with such honesty and kindness so that every generation had more compassion and understanding for our differences as human beings – the world would be such a nicer place. (o:

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merri January 11, 2011 at 5:37 pm

My next door neighbor’s parent was a mtf or a ftm, i cant even remember now after all these yrs, but after meeting them, learning about just being gay seemed totally normal to me. I don’t even remember how my parents explained it.

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Beth A January 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm

such an awesome momma

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Tanya January 11, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Well done. I felt like I was reading the novel of the century and couldn’t wait to find out how it ended! Love the dialogue 🙂

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Ayslinn January 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm

As a gay parent myself, I just wanted to say thank you. It’s people like you who make the world a little easier for people like my kid to get through. I always worried about her starting school and what the other kids would think when they found out she has two mommies, and if she would pay a price because of who I am. You have no idea how important dialogue like the conversation you just had with your son is. I wish more parents (more EVERYONE) would, and not just because I’m gay. Hate and teasing have no place in society and certainly not in our schools. Thanks for the post.

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Rebecca January 11, 2011 at 8:37 pm

You are awesome. So is he.

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Drazil January 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Just when I think I can’t love you anymore………you do this…up above. Your son is one word.

Lucky.

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chris January 11, 2011 at 10:12 pm

love the answer. It was a good one. My 9 year old asked me a very interesting question the other day…she asked me if men had vaginas on their butts. Now, she has seen my neighbors little boy get his diaper changed…and for some reason I thought we had had the ‘conversation’ about penises and vaginas…but apparently it didn’t stick.
So I say NO….boys have penises.
she said what do those look like.
I said well, you have seen _______- get his diaper changed.
what did it look like..
she says A ball.
I say well then…there you go. (imachicken)
Then held my breath cause the last time I had this conversation my oldest followed up with…does it get smaller as they get older….which prompted my reply of
no, it gets bigger
which prompted her reply of EWWWWW!!!!
I was spared that this time.
But I think she may come back to it. lol.
I love kids.

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Karen January 12, 2011 at 8:35 am

Wow! I’m glad neither of my boys ever asked me that!

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Thea @ I'm a Drama Mama January 12, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Wow, you could not have handled that any better! Nicely done!

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Heather January 13, 2011 at 1:43 am

You handled that so beautifully. I love how you let the child answer about whether they would use the word that way. I usually tend to lecture too much and tell them what I think they should do. You’re an awesome mom.

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Laurie January 17, 2011 at 11:05 pm

That was fantastic!

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Tracey January 18, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Wait til he gets old enough for the birds and the bees talk and wants to know how gay people “do it.” Oh my Maude, I almost passed out, LOL.

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