Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Wife, a "Girlfriend", and a Young Boy

Jacob woke up at 5:51 this morning.  I grunted at him to go watch tv and then I went back to sleep.  Somehow, though, that early morning wake-up stuck with me.  I woke up for the day around 7:30 but remained in a fog.  So after a cup of coffee, I was surprised to hear a little voice in my ear, "What does 'Christ-en cashes in' mean?"  I looked around in confusion.  "See?  On the news?  'Christ-en cashes in.'  What does that mean?"  The tv was showing an attractive young woman with the title "Kristen cashes in."  Then I realized that it was a story about Eliot Spitzer's, erm, liason. 
I gulped a few times and tried to clear my head.  I was unsuccessful but that didn't seem to stop me.  I just opened my mouth and started blabbering about how the governer of New York made some bad choices.  Of course, that did not satisfy Jake at all since the picture on the screen was clearly a woman and her name was not Eliot.  After a few more gulps, I came out with the most age appropriate explanation that I could muster - Mr. Spitzer had a wife and a girlfriend, which is against the rules.  Then I explained that he paid the woman to be his girlfriend, which is against even more rules.  Then I rambled on about how magazines are bidding for the girlfriend's side of the story so that they can sell more magazines to nosy people. 
I wonder sometimes if other parents have this same rambling problem that I do.  Surely other children ask questions about the news.  Surely other parents believe, as I do, that age-appropriate honesty is the best policy.  But surely other parents do not somehow turn "Kristen Cashes In" into a diatribe about people who are willing to spend their hard-earned money to leer over the downfalls of the rich and powerful.  Just what is the appropriate response to a six year old boy's questions about call girls, governors, and Hustler magazine? 

1 comment:

Mary Witzl said...

I can still remember asking my mother about my doctor's arm when I was about four. She went on for ages about people who wore pajamas and lived in some sort of camp. I had the impression that they played the game Concentration all the time, too. Years later she told me that our doctor had been in a concentration camp and I had wanted to know why he had numbers on his arm. I did not understand her explanation at all; the only thing I remember is that she seemed flustered and sad.

There is something sweet about the idea of a little boy trying to parse 'Christen cashes in.' Here in the U.K., Heather has cashed in big-time -- all legal and playing by the rules, too.