As any mother will lament, pregnancy and birth can render your pelvic floor muscles completely useless, making your trampolining and pogo-sticking days a thing of the past and condemning you to the misery of embarrassing leaks with every cough, sneeze or riotous giggle. Alternatively, a life of incontinence pants awaits. On the bright side, if you opt for the incontinence pants, you will always be ready for the times when your children decide to tell you everything they know about sex, when you may be at risk from the odd bout of hysterical laughter.
As a parent, for me there are few experiences more delightful than cuddling up and sharing a book with my children, or as they have become more proficient readers, having a cuddle whilst we both enjoy our own books. Over the weekend, my six-year-old and I were enjoying exactly that experience when he leaned across me, read a few paragraphs from my book and burst out laughing.
"What are you laughing at?" I asked him, intrigued. My book wasn't a comedy and even if it were, at six he wouldn't understand the adult humour.
"It says the word "sex" in your book, Mummy," he replied still laughing uncontrollably.
"And why is that funny, what is sex?" I asked him, trying hard to keep a straight face.
"It's when mummies and daddies are kissing and then they start weeing all over each other."
I suppose sex is quite funny if you put it like that.
All my boys are all having trouble with basic anatomy. We have a new teacher at school called Mr. Nicholls, a fantastic guy who has been around the block a few times so he is not surprised to hear that, behind his back, some of the older children call him Mr. Nipples. My first-grader got a bit tongue-tied recently and referred to him by his nickname and he immediately burst into fits of laughter.
"What's so funny?" I asked.
"Nipples are very funny," he replied, barely able to contain himself.
I was intrigued why he would find the word "nipples" as funny as he had found the word "sex" so I asked him. "What are nipples and why are they funny?"
"Nipples are those funny dangly bits that hang down either side of your willy."
My sex education continued with the older boys who have just started Inter-relate classes. Last week, when I asked one of my ten year olds what he had done at school that day, I got a far more loquacious response than the usual, "nothing." He was excited to tell me that his class had just begun a series of sex education lessons and that they had learned all the "funny, proper words" for body parts.
Yesterday was the second lesson and he was even more enthusiastic than last week to discuss what he had learned because this week they had discussed how babies were made. When I asked him to tell me what he had learned he was extremely keen, although his explanation did suggest he had not been paying full attention last week when the "funny, proper words" were discussed;
"In order to make a baby, all the man has to do is put his peanuts in his wife's Volvo."
I shall make sure when my daughter is older that I urge her to use the central locking feature on her Volvo at all times, especially if there are young men around brandishing their peanuts.
This malapropism has become engrained in our everyday language which is unfortunate for our neighbour who doesn't understand why we can't stop giggling when he drives out of his garage in one of those extremely safe and reliable Swedish cars, the Vulva.
My other ten-year-old is also clearly being less than fully attentive in lessons. On a day when he had had Inter-relate followed by American History, my son returned home proudly announcing he could name several American presidents. I listened keenly as he recited them:
"George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clitoris and George Bush."
I hadn't realised my own sex education had been so incomplete but I was extremely grateful for my incontinence pants.