from Mr Frog
to Petite Anglaise
date 19 Sep 2007 21:16
subject Quote of the Day
“Aujourd’hui dans la cour de récréation Matthias il nous a montré son zizi…. C’était très rigolo.”
I chuckle aloud, paste the quote into my ongoing MSN chat with the Boy (his response: “let’s hope Matthias is a four-year-old”), then file it in my brain under “things I musn’t forget to use one day in a blog post”.
Several days later, Tadpole and I are in the unisex, open plan changing rooms at the kids’ swimming pool we visit on Sunday mornings. When we first began frequenting the pool, I used to manoeuvre myself into my underwear with embarrassed awkwardness, under cover of a huge towel. Then one day I realised that normal rules didn’t apply here. Something about the fact that we are all parents, surrounded by young children, rubbing the sleep from our eyes and wishing that we were at home with a steaming mug of coffee and a newspaper, makes casual nudity even more asexual than a nudist beach in Greece.
Tadpole sits on the bench, swaddled in a hooded towel, wearing an extremely disgruntled pout. Persuading her to leave the pool had not been easy, and involved my resorting to a whole spectrum of parental behaviour – wheedling, promises, threats, pointless lengthy negotiations, raised voices – approaches proscribed one and all by the child rearing manual Mr Frog pointedly lent me the other day. Our altercation culminated in the tenth “I’m not your friend” of the day (it is midday), followed a dose of the silent treatment (a blessing in disguise).
Suddenly Tadpole’s eyes widen at the sight of the small child opposite, and she opens her mouth to speak, her fit of pique instantly forgotten. “Mummy! That girl has got a zizi! Why has that girl got a zizi?”
I sneak a glance at the child in question – male, without a shadow of a doubt – and consider how to respond. Probably best to keep things simple. Conversations about gender reassignment can doubtless wait until she is a little older. “Well,” I say slowly. “We know that only boys have zizi’s, don’t we? So that means it must be a boy, not a girl.”
“But mummy, she had the voice of a girl!” Tadpole protests with a crumpled brow.
“Little boys’ voices are often just the same as little girls’ voices,” I reply. “But if you see a zizi, it’s always a boy. That’s how you can always tell the difference between boys and girls, ladies and men…”
At this, Tadpole gives me a very strange look. In her opinion, I have taken leave of my senses.
“No!” she says emphatically. “My daddy doesn’t, any more. Maybe he did have a zizi when he was a little boy, but then he growed up and it disappeared.”
“I think you might be wrong about that honey,” I reply, the corners of my mouth twitching. “So, when we see daddy later, perhaps you should ask him…”