I’ve had some great historical fiction books kicking around here. Young Royals Boxed Set: The Tudor Women (Young Royals) It’s for girls 12 and up, and I had read them myself for content but was a bit hesitant to read them to Naturalist…because there is no way to sugarcoat what kinds of shenanigans were going on with those english Tudors back in the 1500’s. But they are amazing stories told exceptionally well in these books, and the intrigue is right up her alley. So, I’ve been on the fence, wondering whether or not we should read them together.
What helped make up my mind was reading this great “talking sex” post from My Tiny Kingdom. I realized a couple things. One: I am a big wheenie, because I hemmed and hawed my way through ‘The Talk’ with the Naturalist, and wasn’t nearly as specific as I probably needed to be. And two: It’s time to stop avoiding anything having to do with the subject of sex. Especially in the age of Disney stars getting naked all over the internet and Nickelodeon stars getting pregnant–I can’t pretend that my girl isn’t old enough to understand what’s going on.
So, I resolved to stop treating grown up conversations with her like the game of ‘hot potato’, and go ahead and read the books together–using it as a chance to delve into some topics I may not have covered in our first ‘birds and bees’ talk.
She really wanted to read the Anne Boleyn story, so out came Doomed Queen Anne.. We didn’t get more than 7 pages in before we ran into this:
Mistress, as in: ‘When Mary had taken a dainty bite, she leaned towards me with a coy smile. “I am the King’s mistress.”‘
Naturalist: “What’s a mistress?”
Me (totally taking the big wheenie way out): “Well, it’s when a married man dates another woman other than his wife. The other woman is called a mistress.”
N: “That’s not nice!”
Me: “No, and now days it’s not very accepted. But those English Kings can pretty much do whatever they want. Especially back then!”
N: “Why would other women want to date him if he was already married?”
Me: “A king is really powerful. He can do whatever he wants, and so can the people he likes. So lots of ladies wanted him to like them, so they could do whatever they liked. Also, he was very rich, and he’d give jewels and gold to the people he liked. So, again, lots of ladies wanted him to like them, so they could get lots of riches.”
N (who is much too smart for my own good): “Well, if the ladies get money and power, what does the King get? What do they give to the King in return?”
Me (Man up! Just say it!): “We’ve talked about sex, do you remember?”
N: “Ewwww! Yes!”
Me: “The ladies give the King sex. He has money but wants sex, they have sex and want money.”
I considered introducing the word ‘whore’ at this point, but figured I’d pace myself and save that for another night. We only had to read one more page before we got to this:
Bastard, as in: “He must have a son, a legitimate son of a lawful wife, not a bastard like Henry Fitzroy.”
N: “What’s a bastard?”
Me: “Well, we just talked about mistresses, right?”
Me: “And we talked about how Kings and Mistresses have sex, right?”
Me (getting into the swing of things): When two people have sex, then there is always the chance that they can make a baby. It doesn’t matter if they are young, old, married, dating, or barely know each other. All that matters to make a baby is that two people are having sex. (Poor Jamie Lynn…did anyone ever tell you this?!) And when a King has sex with a mistress, and she gets pregnant, the baby that’s born doesn’t have a Dad because he’s married to someone else. A baby that doesn’t have an official dad is called a bastard.”
N: “EWWWWWWW! And, also, Leonardo DaVinci was a bastard then, wasn’t he? Because the dad that raised him wasn’t his real dad.”
Me: “Yeah, by that definition, he is a bastard. His mom wasn’t married to his dad when she had him. But we don’t really go around calling people bastards anymore. No one likes to be called that name. And sometimes people call other people bastards not because they really are, but just because they want to insult them.”
N: “So if Dad ever had a mistress, you would call him a bastard?”
Me: Yep. But Daddy and I have already agreed that the only person he’ll give money to is Mommy, so he won’t be having a mistress. And other than reading this book, you won’t really hear me say that word, so you shouldn’t say it, either.” (note to self: stop saying that word.)
N: “Can we keep reading now?”
Give me strength…I still have 230 pages of this to go.