Annabel has started talking. For the most part her new-found chattiness is only made up of baby talk, but she has started to spout a growing number of actual words. Even more impressive (says her proud papa) is that she consistently uses a few such as “Uh-oh” and “Bye” in the right context. This development excited me to no end until I realized that all of this talking is only going to lead to Annabel one day asking awkward questions I have no idea how to answer. Questions like:
“Did you have sex before you got married?”
“Did you drink before you turned twenty-one?”
“Have you ever broken the law?”
It’s tough to know what the right thing is to say when your kid asks you questions like these. On one hand I want to be a cool parent who has an open and honest exchange with Annabel, while on the other hand oh hell no am I telling her everything about my life before I became “Dad.” Being totally honest with Annie will only lead to her snottily saying stuff like, “I hardly think you are in a position to lecture me on that, Dad.” Wow. Just typing that is making me mad at the imaginary teen Annie. “Go to your room, imaginary teen Annie!”
The other problem with being totally honest is that Annie might not only judge me for things I did, but also things I didn’t – like date much in high school or go to many parties. Yikes. Even worse than Annie’s judging me for being too wild might be her judging me for being too dorky.
There’s no easy answer. The alternative to being honest – refusing to answer these questions – won’t lead to much open conversation, and without open conversation Annie will probably keep everything from me and never ask for advice or guidance.
Like I said, it is a tough one. At least I have time before I have to answer questions like these, and in the near future I will only have to answer easy questions like “Why is the sky blue.”
Wait a minute. Why is the sky blue?