Friday, January 25, 2013

The Story of the Egg and the Sperm

It was a typical morning- the five-year-old refused to wake-up until fifteen minutes before we had to leave the house, and the three-year-old was demanding, yet another, pajama day.  After managing hair, shoes, jackets, and car seats, we were five minutes behind schedule- as I said, a typical day.  But then, the three-year-old, Maisy, had to ask a question.  And of course it wasn't just an innocent little inquiry, like "Can we get a peacock?",  it was one that required a thoughtful response, "Mom, why do you have a dad?"

"Well, everyone has a dad."  Even as the words were leaving my mouth I saw the error of my logic. 

"That's not true, Bea and Lena have two moms!" Maisy immediately responded.

Touche, little one, touche.

"Well, what I meant was that in order to have a baby, you need the egg from a woman and the sperm from a man."  There was a few minutes of silence in the car and I crossed my fingers hoping that they were satisfied with the conversation.

However, this is where Elana, the five-year-old, joined the dialogue, "What's sperm?"

"It's something that men have inside their bodies, like bones and tissue, that is needed to make a baby. Women supply the egg and men give the sperm."  At this point a small amount of sweat is collecting on my forehead.  I hold my breath awaiting the next query. 

"How do two moms get the sperm?" Elana asks.

"They can ask a male friend to donate it to them."

"Oh."  More silence.

After a few minutes, Elana continues, "Ok, I understand everything, except the part about donating sperm."

Why is the traffic so slow today?  If it wasn't raining we would already be at school!  Damn you winter weather!

Discussions like these are why I believe lie-based parenting; I am not about to truthfully explain, with any accuracy, the reality of sperm collection to my five and three-year-olds.  Lotion, tissues, porn? Nope, not gonna happen.  Nonetheless, I needed some sort of explanation.

"It's sort of like how a person can donate blood." All of a sudden, this blood/sperm comparison makes perfect sense. "Just like how doctors can stick needles into your body to draw blood." 

"Stop talking! I don't like these words!" Maisy begins to wail.  Oh, sweetie, you don't know how badly I wish I could.

Unfortunately, Elana has more questions, "Is it like when someone is sick and you have healthy blood so you give it to them?"


"So, the doctors put the sperm in bags for the mom to have?"

Sounds reasonable. "Yes."

We are pulling into our parking space when Elana announces, "Ok, when I grow up I am going to marry Elle, or Poppy, or Alma and have a man donate the sperm." 

"That seems like a very good plan!" I give her a kiss and watch her skip into the schoolyard.

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