How Much Does Sperm Cost?
It started out innocently enough. Tired of watching the same garish cartoons over and over with my children, I thought, “Let me get a movie we could all enjoy.”
It hit me. “Look Who’s Talking?” A classic. You know the movie with the talking baby and a young John Travolta and Kirstie Alley. No one would lose.
And it was a hit! The talking baby fascinated my girls, and I enjoyed the light flirtations and adult banter of Travolta and Alley. So like all the movies my kids enjoy, it went into heavy rotation. But of course my children’s favorite part became the three-minute intro with the computer-simulated sperm on its quest to reach the egg. With the funny narrations of Bruce Willis, my kids laughed and giggled.
And then came the questions.
“What are those small things swimming at the beginning of the movie? And what is that ball it goes into?” asked my 6-year-old daughter, Ms. Prissy.
“The things swimming are called sperm,” I answered. “And the ball is an egg. Women have eggs and men have sperm. Together, they make a baby.”
She looked at me satisfied.
“Great,” I thought. “That was easy enough.” No collateral damage.
Two seconds later, however, Ms. Prissy screams to the next room, where my 3-year-old daughter was playing. “Come in here! The sperm is coming! The sperm is coming!”
I cringed but stayed calm. I mean, I have to teach them about where babies come from, right? Besides they’ll probably forget the technical terms by the end of the day.
A week passes. We keep watching the movie. All is well.
I take my youngest to day care one morning and am chatting with her teacher. She plays at our feet with a toy snake wiggling it in the air. “Mom,” she says, “here comes the speeerrrm.”
All I could do was smile at the teacher, my face an ungodly shade of red. The teacher kindly returns my smile, but her eyes longed for an explanation. And I eagerly explain because lord knows what was running through her mind. Before she has even a nanosecond to judge me, I told her about the movie and we had a good laugh.
Then two weeks later I’m in the car with my husband and my daughters. As my husband and I chat about nothing in particular, my oldest interrupted the conversation.
“Mom, how much does sperm cost?”
Before I could say a word, my husband spit his mouth full of coffee all over the dashboard! His head spun around and he looked at me part bewildered, part incensed. I knew he was wondering what the hell I’ve been teaching his children.
I gave him a comforting look and patted his hand. Then I turned around to address the question as clear and simple as possible.
“Honey, sperm is free. Daddy makes it.” I turned back around and shrank in my seat.
“Great!” she exclaimed. “Dad, when we get home, can you give mom the sperm so that I can have a baby brother?”
Well, when we got home, my husband and I did convene in our bedroom but he did not give me the sperm.
He expressed his discomfort with his children talking openly about sperm. And I had to agree. We told the girls that some terms and talk of private body parts should happen only when we’re at home.
Of course, my youngest took this to mean that she had permission to torture me at every public function by talking about sperm and eggs and making babies with everyone we encountered. She even told her cousins about it at our last family vacation. And I had to explain the whole story once again to my sister-in-law, whose kids were stunned by their three-year-old cousin’s vast knowledge of the birds and the bees.
The movie has been conveniently “lost.” I guess I learned my lesson. We are now back to watching those same ole animated shows that would never mention sperm or anything else my children could repeat that would embarrass me. And those shows really aren’t so bad to look at over and over. Really.