Saturday, June 19, 2010


Watching disc #2 of "Life," those amazing Discovery Channel nature videos narrated by Oprah (really would've preferred James Earl Jones), when Saia suddenly looks up from her dinner, rotini hanging from her lower lip, and says with a mouth full of chicken and peppers, "Mama, whath thspum?"

I point at my mouth and give her the look. She swallows quickly, wipes the back of her hand across her pasta sauce glazed face and says, very clearly, "Sperm, Mama, what is it?"

I'm fairly certain my own noodles fell right out of my own mouth and onto the floor. Or right outta my head. I couldn't really tell at that point.

Either way, I totally froze. Like a deer in headlights. Thinking this was gonna get really complicated really quick. That they were gonna ask about how they were conceived. That I'd need to pull out the 32-page packet of information that went along with the first nitrogen tank Fed-Ex'd to our door 8 years ago. That I'd need to pull up to the front of my brain the speech I'd been rehearsing for 7 years about our donor, about insemination, about -- gasp! -- how babies are made. And that Amy really really needed to be here for this. Where was my phone? I really thought we had at least a few more years. How fast could she make it over here, I wondered.

"Mom?!?!" she says with that helloooo lilt in her voice.

"Huh? Wha?"

"Sperm, Mom." And every time she uttered that word, my whole body flinched. As if she were shouting "Lord Voldemort!" in the middle of Hogsmeade, and all traffic came to a full stop, and someone whispered to her that she should really be saying "you-know-who" instead.

"Right," I begin, " is what males produce to fertilize a female's egg to make a baby."

"Oh," she says, "Ok," and turns back to the clownfish eggs nestled deep inside the sea anemone.

And that was it.

Minor reprieve, I do realize, but a reprieve just the same.

Then, we're getting ready for bed. All tucked in. Harry Potter at the ready. And I ask, as we've been doing for a few months now, if there's anything they want to talk about or ask about that we didn't get to today?

"Yes, Mom," says Saia, and I hold my breath again thinking she's been pondering our discussion all day, feels completely inadequately informed, and is about to demand the whole story.

"What's suicide?" she asks.

"What?! Where in the world did you hear that???" I ask, stunned, relieved, then stunned again.

"On that show, Mom, when they were talking about the honey bees attacking the bear to save the hive."

[Oh, dammit, Oprah, you're really killing me here!!!!]