It was one of Those Mommy Days. The boys woke me up at five. Liam colored his face with my eyeshadow stick. I lost my breakfast (as in, put my breakfast somewhere and couldn't find it again.) Liam lost his breakfast (as in threw up all over me, himself, and the living room couch.) And I drove to work in the frigid March morning with one window stuck halfway open because one of the children wore out the gears by fiddling with it too much.
But the clincher came this evening, while Soren and I were happily cutting out pages for a book that we were making. He noticed that I'd written the page numbers and mentioned that I was very good at writing 3s. "I'm good at writing 3s too, Mommy," he said. "Why are we so similar?"
"Because you're my son!" I told him.
"Why does that make me like you?" asked Soren. "Is it because I grew in your belly?"
"Yes," I said, "And because some of my cells were used to grow your body."
And then-- foolishly!--I added, "And some of Daddy's cells, too."
"That's weird," remarked Soren. "How did Daddy's cells get into you?"
Oh no! I thought. This is it! What do I do? What do I say? Okay, first, stay calm. Think. Make sure he feels comfortable talking about this. So, now, game plan: Do I tell him there's a special secret hug? Should I tell him I'll tell him when he's older? Do I say 'sperm'?
"Uhhhhhh," I said.
Soren thought for a minute. "Do you put a straw in your belly button and use that to put Daddy's cells in you?"
Yes! "Something like that," I said, surprised at how close he'd come and hoping that maybe he'd be satisfied with his own answer. Nope.
"So if it's 'something like that,' what is it really?"
Panic. "Uhhhhhhh," I repeated.
Abe was sitting just down the couch from us and I tried to catch his eye, but he was absorbed in his novel and completely unaware of what we were talking about. I, on the other hand, was painfully aware that I was trying to resort to that awkward exchange of glances that my parents had always done when sex came up when we were kids. That thing I swore I would never do. Nevertheless, I frantically tried to call Abe with my telepathic powers. Abe! What do I say? Should I use The Momastery Approach of lies and distraction? Should I start with, 'When a man and a woman love each other very much...."?
"Mommy? Huh? What is it really?" Soren was still waiting.
"Uhhhhhhh." Think, think, think! Say something! Say anything!
"How did Daddy's cells get in your body?"
"Uhhhhhhh." I pretended to be so absorbed in cutting that I didn't remember to answer his question.
My final tactic worked and Soren got distracted by sewing the pages of the book together. It was a close call, though. Now for a game plan. If I can just catch Abe's eye....