No matter what anyone tells you, parenting is always a work in progress. You're always learning to be a parent; there's never any sense of 'course completion'. Even when your kids are adults, there's still something new that comes along. No matter how much a person prepares to be a parent, things happen that were not covered in the manual. It would be nice in those situations if the Super Nanny was always. right there over your shoulder to whisper the best answer, or if Grandpa Walton was there to dispense homey advice. I'd even settle for my mother to step in with an answer or two. No such luck. Things happen, and Larry and I have to decide how we are going to handle it right there. It's not always easy to think in these situations, when you're in panic mode. Sometimes it seems easier just to say "Oops," and try your best to clean up.
Larry and I were initially vigilant about what sorts of television shows and movies we watched, just in case our boy's young brain became traumatized. We've gotten a bit lazy these days, but we never worried about The Big Bang Theory. Larry and I felt that we could watch the show with Zane in the room because most of the content was relatively benign. The content that was occasionally a bit racy, well, Zane never seemed to notice it at all. He only looks at the screen when Sheldon is talking; otherwise he wasn't in the least bit interested. He usually plays with his cars or Legos at the other end of the room, or buries himself in his Boy Nest watching episodes of Chima or Monster Bug Wars. He was oblivious, we thought.
We were watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory the other night, and Zane turned to my husband.
"Why won't Penny have sex with Leonard?'
I cringed where I was. Larry's eyes grew very large. He would not look at me, because Rule #7 of parenting is never show any signs of panic. The man had to suck it up and wing it.
"Uh...she had some other stuff to do."
"Ok". Zane went back to doing whatever he was doing, and the moment seemed to have passed.
Zane did not ask Larry what sex was, thank goodness. But that doesn't matter. What matters is that something we should have been watching for slipped through the cracks. Larry and I let our guard down a little too much. We made a mistake. It would be easy to completely overcompensate for that brief failure and do something crazy like send him off to a monastery to be raised in a completely isolated and hermetically sealed existence. But the best way to learn is to get back on the horse, and that is what Larry and I will do. We could flail at ourselves and wallow in guilt about it, but that never solves any problem.
We made a mistake, and we will deal with it. There will probably be many more "Oops" moments to come. I hope that we do better with the next one.