Sleepovers, best friends and difficult questions.

Various 008

Flea had a sleepover this weekend, and one of the guests was her best friend, Zara.

Flea and Zara are really close friends and are really cute together – Flea always makes sure Zara is served snacks on a pink plate, while Zara always lets Flea play with the boy figures when they’re playing with the dolls’ house. Whenever anyone asks Flea if she did anything good at school, the answer is always: "Yes, I played with Zara."

Flea and Zara are such good friends in fact, that Flea’s top wish (after being a dog) is to be Zara’s sister. Failing that, Flea wants to marry Zara so they can live together and have bunk beds, except Flea will probably still come home on weekends.

Last night, Flea and Zara were playing a game with Flea’s Super Scribbler – which is one of those screens where you can draw a picture then wipe it off.  After sending secret messages about dogs and cats for a time, Flea painstakingly wrote: “Zara, who do you love?”

Zara thought for a moment, and wrote ‘GORGE’. I don’t think she’s a geology fan, so I’m guessing it was a reference to George, a boy in their class at school.

Flea’s face fell. “Oh,” she said, in a small voice. “I thought you’d say me.”

Zara looked flat-out confused and then laughed at this ridiculous notion. “You can’t love a GIRL, Flea,” she giggled.

“Yes you can, my Mummy says you can marry a girl or a boy, and boys can marry boys, too,” said Flea, looking at me for reassurance. Flea has pretty much always known that some people are gay – after all, we lived in Brighton AND Flea’s old nanny is gay, so although I never really explained it, as such, it was just an accepted fact.

Not so if you’ve grown up in England’s whitest, straightest town, apparently.

Zara’s eyes were like saucers. “NO WAY. You can’t do that,” she said.

She thought about this amazing new possibility for a moment. Then she looked at me. “Can you really? Why would you do that, though?”

Faced with the awe-inspiring responsibility of explaining homosexuality to someone else’s child, I admit I took the cowards way out. “Zara, did you know we’ve got Toy Story 3 on Blu-Ray?”

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

19 Comments

  1. 12th February 2011 / 2:21 pm

    😀 ROFL!!!!
    We’re really open about this too, although I did begin to wonder if maybe TOO open when Maddy acted out a story for the young two girls on a long car journey which told the story of her toy blue elephant realising he was gay and coming out to the stripy blue monkey!

  2. 12th February 2011 / 2:40 pm

    LOL! Oh dear! I’ve been honest with Zack about these things too. I think everyone should be, otherwise how will it ever be accepted?
    Good out there though… 😉

  3. Lorraine The Party Times
    12th February 2011 / 2:46 pm

    Made me laugh! Our 7 year old came home the other day asking what “gay” meant as he had been called “gay” by someone in the playground and wasn’t sure if that was good or bad! I made an excuse to leave the room and left my husband to deal with (while I listened sniggering in the hall!)
    My husband simply said “it’s got two meanings – one is when you are really happy and the the other is when a man loves another man or a woman loves another woman” and our son just said “okay” END OF! Easy!

  4. 12th February 2011 / 3:25 pm

    Classic – oh the tricky moments ahead for us all. Luckily this particular one shouldn’t be too shakey a POppy’s godmother is gay and we’ve always explained that J & B are together like mummy and daddy. The one I’ve found hard so far is to try and explain what an orphan was. The girls just couldn’t believe some children didn’t have a mummy and daddy – i swiftly moved on from that one!

  5. 12th February 2011 / 4:50 pm

    We’re all open in this house as well. I was shocked the other day, though, when a gay person was discussed by parents of my son’s school, and they were – I’m not sure how to put this – trying to be “tolerant.” It upset me quite a bit, because I had assumed that in this country were we have marriage equality and everything people would be a little more open to the concept. There’s a long way to go.

  6. 12th February 2011 / 10:28 pm

    My kids have already been to a civil partnership ceremony, as their eldest cousin is gay. They were small enough at the time just to accept what was going on. (They were 4 and just 3). We always called it a wedding and never got questioned on why it was two men instead of a man and a woman. I do wonder if they’ve ever mentioned it to their friends and got some odd responses. I suspect not, because they have not mentioned it.

  7. 13th February 2011 / 7:26 am

    I think I’d have probably done the same. It’s a bit trickier when it’s someone else’s child! We’ve always talked about boys liking boys and girls liking girls in our house and one of my daughter’s favourite people is a gay friend of ours, so she is at least vaguely aware of homosexuality.

  8. 13th February 2011 / 9:27 am

    I can always be depended on for a good ‘change the subject’

  9. 13th February 2011 / 9:28 am

    My nephew called someone gay in front of me, as an insult, and I wasn’t sure how to react – because it’s not my child. But I was absolutely fuming. How do kids gets the notion so young that ‘gay’ equals ‘bad’? From their parents, I bet. Grrr.

  10. 13th February 2011 / 9:29 am

    Ah, I have a head start in being adopted, so Flea knows my Mum isn’t the Mum who gave birth to me. But she struggles more with why she can’t have a sister. There’s always something, I guess.

  11. 13th February 2011 / 9:30 am

    Yes, I had a friend who once talked to a nursery manager who genuinely believed if his son wore a princess outfit he would be gay. There is still a lot of intolerance.

  12. 13th February 2011 / 9:31 am

    Yes, what if I’d done my happy ‘everyone loves someone different’ spiel and it turned out they were people with a different viewpoint based on religion or something? Awful! Mind you, I’d have loved to have heard the conversation in your car!

  13. 13th February 2011 / 9:32 am

    It’s nice that they’ve not had any weird comments, though.

  14. 13th February 2011 / 9:32 am

    Yes, it’s the terror of someone else’s child!

  15. 13th February 2011 / 11:57 am

    Brilliant that you have informed Flea of homosexuality and naturalised it. Good you didn’t take on the responsibility to explain it to other people’s children though. Well done you, great post.

  16. 13th February 2011 / 2:30 pm

    The boys are really accepting of homosexuality. They understand that men can marry men and woman can marry woman. It is fine with us and I wasnt it to be fine for them.

  17. 13th February 2011 / 7:53 pm

    My eldest is cool with some boys liking boys or some girls liking girls and living with each other like Mummies and Daddies but my youngest well he thinks its a stupid idea and is very firm in his views I don’t know why he feels this way but at 4 and a bit I’m not pushing it. Still think you made a great move there with Toy Stoy!

  18. Aly
    13th February 2011 / 9:19 pm

    We live across from a gay couple so the kids have always known about homosexuality.I’ve never thought than anyone would try to be anything but open about it though.As for explaining it to another person’s kid, hmm that’s a toughie.Kudos for the distraction!

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