Me (engrossed in Hello! magazine): "Hmmm?"
Me, (putting the gossip-rag down): "Yes, darling?"
Firstborn: "Look at me!"
I watch fondly as Firstborn leaps in the air, whirls around and generally prances. "Lovely!" I exclaim.
I am about to dive back into a fascinating article on the gracious life of a minor royal when Firstborn stops in front of my prone form and prods me. "Mummy," she says. "Do you think I'm sexy?"
The room freezes. My brain scrabbles desperately for secure ground. I gulp. "What did you just say?"
Firstborn beams at me while executing a perfect pirouette. "I said," she announces, "do you think I'm sexy?"
I am lost for words. I open my mouth and all that comes out is something that sounds like "phnurgle".
"Because," Firstborn explain, "I am really good at gymnastics."
I stay seated and think for a moment. Finally, I manage to choke out, "And why does being good at gymnastics make you .... er... That Word?" I can't even bring myself to say it. Not when there is a suggestion that it could relate, bizarrely, in any way to the blue-eyed, curly haired moppet standing in front of me.
Firstborn looks at me as if she has suddenly discovered that I am really quite simple. "Because if you're good at gymnastics and dancing, and things like that, then it means you're sexy!" She stares at me for a moment. "Didn't you know that, Mummy?"
I cough nervously. "Er, no. I didn't know that. I didn't know that at all." I peer at her, suddenly horrified, Mummy-antennae wobbling dangerously. "How did you learn about this? Has someone said that to you?"
Firstborn goes back to prancing about on the rug, oblivious to my nightmare visions. "Mummy, everyone knows about it at school. Humphrey saw it on TV."
"Oh," I say weakly. "Did he?" Humphrey is a fellow classmate and all of five years old. I suddenly feel better, although it does seem that playground gossip has moved on somewhat since I was at primary school. "Well," I say. "It's not a word that little girls and boys should say. It's an grown-up word."
"Why? Why is it? Why can't I say it?"
"Erm, because it's a rude," I say, lamely. "It's too rude for little girls to say."
Firstborn sits down next to me, her face thoughtful. "Mummy," she says. "Is it a really rude word? Like 'poo'?"
"Yes," I reply. "It's really quite rude. And it doesn't mean you're good at gymnastics. So I don't think you should say it again."
She is silent for a moment, then chirps, "Is it more rude than 'oh shit'? And mummy, what does sexy mean if it's not about gymnastics?"
I splutter. Then I call in the cavalry.
"Alpha!" I bellow. "Can you come in her for a moment? Firstborn wants to ask you about something!" Then I sprint to the bathroom where I sit in blissful silence with the door locked for a full ten minutes.
Argggghhhhh. What next?