Lesbians, Lynchings, and Little Ones

I was on the phone today when a friend asked me if I saw crazy Ann Coulter’s latest ploy at media whoring. In all honesty I had not seen whatever asinine thing she muttered because I have been busy, and really she does not rate me raising my eyebrow anymore.

The conversation on my end went like this:

‘Ugh. Her. What this time?’

‘Uh huh’

‘Uh huh’

‘CNN has lost all credibility.’

‘Did she really say LYNCHING?’

At which point my son said ‘Mom what is lynching?’

I froze, told my friend to hang on a second and then said,

‘Honey Mommy is on the phone, use your phone manners please’

and then went through 300 possibilities in my head on exactly how to explain lynching to a 5-year old.

My little one went about his car zooming business in the kitchen and I kept talking on the phone.


‘Oh, the Fox guy?’

a Yummy Lesbian? Figures’

Mr. Big Ears didn’t miss a beat,

‘Mom-what’s a lesbian?

‘uhhhhh’ I stuttered…now mind you I have no problem explaining ‘gay and lesbian’ to my son at all-but my mind was still reeling from having dodged (like an idiot) the lynching question.

‘sometime when girls marry other girls (ok, that’s a stretch) and boys like other boys people say they are gay and lesbian’

Holy crap what a horrible explanation!

No idea why I said ‘marry’ when I am all for living in sin -other than the issue of gay marriage has been weighing heavily on me as it’s one of the only things I’m unhappy with Senator Obama about…and why I switched to ‘boys like other boys’ is entirely beyond me too.

So later after hanging up the phone and watching some Tom & Jerry I thought I would approach the subjects again and attempt to redeem myself,

‘Honey remember earlier when you asked me what ‘lesbian’ meant and what ‘lynching’ meant?’

‘Mom look at this cool wheel I made-what if I shoot it like a rocket outside on the grass….’

…and he ran out the back door to play in the yard.

I suck.


  1. I know that as a mom, I have had plenty of teachable moments that I was caught completely flat-footed on. My kids survived, and I have caught them explaining to others my values and what I have taught them. That is the best gift of all.
    Just remember that these things are set in a child’s mind by example and ongoing conversation, not by single incidents.

  2. I can relate so much. It seems no matter what my two year old is engaged in, he always overhears me and my wife when we are discussing complicated things, and throws us curve ball after curve ball. I recently read an article that said no matter how focused kids appear to be in their play, they are aware of what is going on around them, and will stop to ask questions about the conversation. It blows my mind.

    Don’t worry, we ALL suck sometimes. But lots of times we don’t.

  3. Queen of Spain says:

    someone let me know when the ‘I am NOT sucking at this’ part starts…..

  4. Quick reminder: at 5, the explanation doesn’t need to be as complicated as we, as adults, think of it.

    “What’s a lynching?” was far more unnerving for him than for you. You have options all the way from “something you don’t need to know about yet” to “just a figure of speech honey” to “well, it’s actually where someone gets hanged by a rope until they are dead by a group of angry people – but that’s not what I meant when I used it that way.”

    You didn’t blow it. If he REALLY wanted to know what the word meant? He would keep pushing it.

    Lesbian is another word that is similar – I mean, honestly, when he really wants to know – and he asks you over and over and over again? You’ll hit the ground running.

    Hard to do when you’re on the phone and caught off guard.

    A couple of weeks ago, my daughter asked me how babies ‘got out of the mommy’s tummy’ because her best friend’s mom is having a baby. Since best friend was in the car at the time she asked and I didn’t know what her mom had told her I opted for “the mommy goes to the hospital and the doctor gets the baby out.”

    Guess what? That’s all she wanted at the time.

    Remember that you will have multiple chances for the awkward questions – and sometimes you’ll get it ‘right’ and sometimes, you won’t. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. erk… switch this:
    โ€œWhatโ€™s a lynching?โ€ was far more unnerving for him than for you.

    to this:

    โ€œWhatโ€™s a lynching?โ€ was far more unnerving for YOU than for HIM.


  6. What’s great about this scene is we can all relate to it. We’ve all been caught off guard with our children’s blunt questions. I think it’s great that kids can ask with no filters, keeps us on our toes!

    My 8 year old asked recently how a couple we know could have a baby when they weren’t married. I loved the innocents of the question and was struggling with words. She said, “Oh, this is an adult thing that I don’t understand yet, right?” Maybe she was just giving me a break, not sure. I told we could talk about it anytime, I just needed to think about it as it was a very good question. She said, “Nah, I’d rather play Uno with you.”

    Anyway, I hope I can keep the lines of communication open always so she knows she can talk to me about anything – ask me any question.

    So my long winded reply is I don’t think you suck at all. I think your son knows he can ask you anything, anytime (as long as you aren’t on the phone) and you’ll answer the best you can. What more can a child ask for? Your time and attention and honesty…that’s goodness.

  7. When mine were 5, they barley understood sex, much less homosexuality. I would tell him it’s something that is too much for him to understand and that you’ll explain it to him when he’s older.

    It worked for Seth.

    I will say, if you’ve not yet addressed sex, you should find the video, “Where did I Come From”. It’s hysterical, but touches on ALL of the subjects and still teaches everything that he’ll ever need to know. Jason and I watched it for fun!

  8. Father Yig says:

    It’s so hard to know what to say and at what age, and I’m sure we all do stumble over that, and it doesn’t suck to not always have a ready answer to everything and be instantly be able to generate the right content for their little ears. I’m never sure what they are ready to hear.

    My 6 yr old son loves the Simpsons and really, really wants to understand every joke and cryptic reference in the show. He sees Otto the school bus driver with a bong “What’s that?” he says. Perfectly reasonable question for which I have no answer.

    Then a week later he’s telling me about the KKK because they learned about it in social studies.

    So I have no idea what to tell who when myself.

  9. Forgive me for laughing but I am. Bless your heart. Lynching and lesbians all at the same time. That’s how parenthood goes, isn’t it?

    But next time – no “marry”, ‘k? Patriarchy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Just take that cute kid over to my family pictures and point us out, by name – TW and Denise and Jenn, and Chris and Michelle and Joe, and RJ and Liz – that’s a family. Those are the two moms. They all live together, just like we do and they all love each other just like we do.


    That lynching thing, much harder. Though I will admit that living in the south has made that discussion a lot easier. Which is wrong and horrible, but real.

  10. Agggh! Haven’t had to face the lynching conversation yet. Although, I guess I’d rather explain it than wait for public-school history in the fifth grade to, ya know? Still not going to go broach the subject right now though. Psssh.

    You’re not sucking at it, not any more than the rest of us anyway.

    My explanation of lesbians wasn’t far off from yours I think it went like this:

    “When a woman loves another woman, instead of a man, like mommy loves daddy, she’s a lesbian. And they live together and have a life just like ours. But with just women.”

    At which point she looked at me like, O’tay then.

    Another fun one: “Mom, why does everything say Made in China?” Which led to this final question before we ended that conversation half an hour later. “Well then, who pays the Chinas?” (by which she meant “who pays the CHINESE”.)

  11. Well, at least you were not driving him to school and have him ask, “Mom/Daddy, my friend says that some moms and dads like to love each other by the mom kissing the dad’s penis. Is that true?

  12. The “I am NOT sucking at this” part comes when your grown child calls you and tells you how wonderful a mother you are, and how well you did when they were young, and how it is payback time with their 2 yr old, and ask how you ever did it, then THANKS you for not having killed them years ago.

    You are doing great. We all suck in our own minds. Just do your best as it happens, and you are fine. Don’t over think every moment.
    (Like you can turn it off. I know. It is merely a suggestion… hah)

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