“Hey, Mom?”

I froze at the sound of my daughter’s voice, trying to figure out if I should run and hide, or stay and chat. There’s something in its questioning quality that, after years of experience, told me I should’ve run. However, it was too late. She’d cornered me in the laundry room.

“Yes, honey?” I heroically kept my voice from quavering.

“Do you and Daddy still have sex?”

BOOM! I knew it! I had heard that little something in her voice warning me I was about to be blindsided.

But, I was ready. I knew exactly what to do. I’d been fielding these kinds of questions ever since she started school. What unnerved me was wondering what gem she was about to hit me with. I responded with my fallback deflection.

Why do you ask?”

You see, when your child corners you with questions you may not be ready to answer, responding with another question is a great deflection. Besides, many times the question she’s asking is not what’s really on her mind. It’s the product of whatever she’s been mulling over. My question cuts to the heart of the matter.

Questions like, “Why do you want to know?” refocus her mind on some earlier experience that had led to the question. That’s really what she wants to discuss, so we have a loving conversation while folding laundry. Crisis averted! 

In our family, these moments typically originated from a conversation at school, or a scenario in some show.  Sometimes it even came from a book. Those moments provided insight to her mind’s workings. We were able to offer guidance, and we strengthened our parent-child bond in the process.

It worked like a charm for years… until she reached her sophomore year.

“Hey, Mom?”

“Yes, honey?” I jammed my hands into my pockets to hide my clutching fingers. Lately, the questions were getting into more uncomfortable areas.

“Do you and Daddy still have sex?”

Yup, the little voice had warned me! I squared my shoulders and proceeded with confidence. “Why do you ask?”

“No reason. I just want to know.”

Deflection deflected? That was new. Slogging on despite the initial failure, I calmly place my hands on my lap. “What made you bring that up now?

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and I really want to know.”

I was in uncharted waters here. This was the first time distracting questions hadn’t worked. It looked like I might actually have to answer her this time. But, I had one more trick up my sleeve.

I leaned in, looked her in the eye, and said, “Don’t ask me a question, honey, that you really don’t want to hear the answer to.”

She blinked at me once, spun around on her heel and fled out the door… and never brought it up again. 

Years later I shared a laugh with my cherub when I reminded her of that story. I couldn’t resist teasing her. “Do you want to know the answer now?”

“Ewww, Mom! No!”

The end. 😉

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