Just when is too young to start sex education? I ask this not because I am vexed by the hoo-hah in the papers this weekend about whether or not schools should give out more condoms / fewer condoms / no condoms at all, pretend sex doesn’t exist and teach tapestry and how to bake macaroons instead, but because my daughter, all of four, is starting to ask QUESTIONS.
E.g. Mum where do babies come from?
Me: John Lewis.
Millie: Are you sure?
Me: Er… (crosses fingers behind back) yes.
Millie: Can you get me one?
Me. No. Not until you are at least thirty-five and only if you find a man and marry him.
Millie: I will marry Freddie (six years old and only interested in Daleks and Tai Kwon Do).
Me: That is nice.
Millie: Can you have a baby?
Me: No, they are annoying and cry and are sick a lot.
Millie: Maybe I don’t want a baby.
Me: Excellent. Good idea.
Millie: But what if Freddie wants a baby? I will run away and hide in the den. But not in the bit where Catherine did a poo (two years old, likes to poo outdoors, also in love with Freddie).
Me: Brilliant. I think that went well.
So that is sex education done. Until she is at least eleven. Then I will leave it to Miss Beadle and her plastic penis model to explain it all. Or maybe she can do tapestry instead.
About Joanna Nadin
A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics I’ve written more than 80 books for children and adults, as well as speeches for politicians, and articles for newspapers and magazines like The Guardian, Red and The Amorist. I also lecture in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and hold a doctorate in young adult literature.
I’m a winner of the Fantastic Book Award and the Surrey Book Award, and have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Booktrust Best Book award and Queen of Teen among others, and twice nominated for the Carnegie Medal, for Everybody Hurts, and for Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC TV series. I've also worked with Sir Chris Hoy on the Flying Fergus series and ghost-written Angry Birds under another name.
I like London, New York, Essex, tea, cake, Marmite, mint imperials, prom dresses, pubs, that bit in the West Wing where Donna tells Josh she wouldn’t stop for a red light if he was in an accident, junk shops, crisps, Cornwall, St Custard’s, Portuguese custard tarts, political geeks, pin-up swimsuits, the Regency, high heels, horses, old songs, my Grandma’s fur coat, vinyl, liner notes, the smell of old books, the feel of a velveteen monkey, Guinness, quiffs, putting my hand in a bin of chicken feed, the 1950s, burlesque, automata, fiddles, flaneuring, gigs in fields on warm summer nights, Bath, the bath.
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