Friday, 27 February 2009

The question of marriage

"Can men marry men mummy?" asked five year old son yesterday.

Hmmm. Tricky question alert.

"Why do you ask?" I deflected.
"Just because. So can they?"
"It depends on where you live but yes they can, although it's more common for men and women to get married."
"Oh."
"Why? Do think you'd rather marry a man or a woman?"
"A man," he says.

Ok then. He's five and fairly anti girls which might be why .... or not. He has always preferred pink and is a massive Abba fan and did ask for ponies in my pocket for his birthday.

"Why's that?" I ask.
"Dunno," he says kicking a football repeatedly against the kitchen cupboard.

More kicking. I slice vegetables for dinner.

"Mummy, do you have to get married?" he starts up again.
"No, you don't," I say.
"What happens when you get married?" he continues.
"Well you see what mummy and daddy do. We live together. We do the chores. We play with you boys. We go on holidays together. We do stuff together because we're married," I attempt.
"No, I mean when you actually get married, at the wedding," he says.
"Oh right. Well that can happen in lots of different ways. Often it's in a church and the lady wears a pretty dress and the man wears a smart suit. All your friends and family are there. You stand in front of the priest..."
"What's a priest?" he interrupts.

"Like Daniel's dad," I explain.

"He's not a priest, he's a vicar," he informs me.

"Right, same sort of thing really. Anyway, you stand in front of the vicar and you make promises to each other about how you will always love each other and look after each other no matter what. And because you're making these promises in a church, you're making the promise to God too, so it's really important that you don't break the promise. And you wear a ring to remind you of the promises you made," I say sounding far more religious than I actually am.

"Oh.." he contemplates.

A few more kicks of the ball.

"Do you get to choose who you want to marry then?" he asks.

"Yes."

"So God and the vicar don't choose?"

"No."

Silence. More kicking.

"Why are you interested in marriage, is it something you talked about at school?" I ask wondering where this is all coming from.

"Just wondered," he said and sauntered off.

What on earth is going on in that small brain? Is this normal five year old conversation?

16 comments:

justme said...

I love it! That was SUCH a cool conversation! It is so fascinating what goes on in their little heads......

Expat mum said...

Ha ha. You did it like they tell you to in the books - just answer the specific question and don't volunteer any more information. Well done!

Mary said...

Hmm, mine is convinced he will marry his sister. I'm struggling to explain why exactly that's such a bad idea.

rosiescribble said...

Thank goodness God and the vicar don't choose. Definately a normal 5 year old convseration. I wouldn't worry!

b said...

Your son sounds wonderful, this is a normal conversation for this age and perfect answers wait til he gets older and wants real answers my 9 year old cross examined me the other day about father xmas and the tooth fairy in one go, the father xmas one was easy enough to admit to as we are Jewish and celebrate Chanukah, rather than xmas, but the tooth fairy one I was torn about telling a white lie or not, in the end I admitted the truth and she accepted it with good grace, I decided it was better to be honest rather than let one of her friends tell her, as she would have felt very foolish.

katyboo1 said...

Totally normal I'd say. For ages Talllulah wanted to marry UE and be called Princess Tallulah Fish Hammock. She planned it in great detail. I asked her what Jason could do and she said: 'Oh! He'll just be my James Bond.'

Normal. Normal. Normal.
:)

Home Office Mum said...

Justme - I know. A conversation this evening was: What do you want to be when you're big? A photographer he said. Oh right, said I. What will you take pictures of? Skeletons, said he. Ok then.

Expat mum - I don't think I've ever read a book on the subject but am beginning to feel I might need one.

Mary - I seriously doubt that mine will want to marry his brother so at least we won't have homosexuality combined with incest.

Rosie - agreed. Can you imagine if choosing people's spouses where added to a vicar's job spec?

B - we haven't had those conversations yet. Thank goodness. But they will come. And soon I fear.

Katyboo - Tallulah Fish Hammock is my ultimate hero. one day when she's famous it'll all be revealed in Tatler or Vogue. Glad to know it's normal.

Tara@Sticky Fingers said...

I think that is utterly adorable and just shows how thoughtful and sensitive young boys are.
I've had a similar conversation with my son he declared he was going to marry me.
When I told him I was already married he said in the most shocked voice 'who to?'

Home Office Mum said...

Tara - that's gorgeous. My youngest son says he'll only marry me.

Ali said...

Sounds like a pretty nice normal 5yo conversation to me. I love the things they think about. Kids minds are so cool.

More than Just a Mother said...

What a fantastic conversation. I was really struck by the idea that God and the Vicar might choose your spouse for you - what a ghastly thought!

Iota said...

I often think that children are amazing to make any sense at all of this complicated world we live in.

sallymandy said...

I wonder if fundamental religions are popular because it's easier for parents to say, "Because that's just the way God made it, dear."

Sounds like you handled that great!

mothership said...

My four year old daughter is quite adamant that she doesn't want to get married at all, she just wants to live here with me and her dad forever (fine by me, but I think she might change her mind). Also, she categorically only wants to adopt a baby and talks a lot about 'me and my adopted baby' and what they will do together and how they will all sleep in our big bed. Be a bit crowded, I think...

Home Office Mum said...

Ali we had more super cool five year old conversations today. I will write a brief blog to capture it.

More than - wait for next blog post to find out who the vicar really is...

Iota - absolutely. I get confused by the world so poor them.

Sallymandy - might think about taking up a fundamentalist religion just to get me through the next few years

Mothership - it would certainly be a cosy sleeping arrangement and I fear she might just be trying to tap you for some future babysitting

A Modern Mother said...

Maybe he is "marrying" someone at school? All of my girls have already picked an unsuspecting boy in their class to marry.

Can I please highlight this post on Thames Valley Mums?