Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mulan, the Egg Baby

We've been waiting all trimester for sex education to begin at my sons' school. When I say waiting, I don't mean in some kind of suspended titillation. I mean that both boys have been aware that it's coming up -- Oliver, who is in fifth grade has had a sort of excited dread about it, and Henry, who is in seventh grade, an affected nonchalance. So, now that we're about a week and a half away from the end of school, it begins, and this is how it goes when you're two boys attending a progressive public school in Los Angeles, California.

Oliver came home yesterday afternoon requesting deodorant.

You have deodorant, I said, patiently.

Does it have aluminum in it, Mom?

Uh, no. That's why you have the Tom's stuff, Oliver.

Oh, so you know about the aluminum?

Yes, Oliver. I know about the aluminum.

I refrained from adding that I know everything, and then the conversation veered toward the various things that were going to happen to Oliver's body as he grew into an older boy and then man.

Easy peasy.

Henry came home on Thursday and told me that he needed a boiled egg to bring to school on Friday for their health and sex education project. Evidently, the egg was going to represent a baby and would be squired around school for the week, a centerpiece of a larger project that included budgeting for a child, health insurance, negotiating childcare contracts and a myriad of responsibilities pertaining to having a baby. The project is worth 500 points, a significant part of one's final science grade, and rules include a "O" if you break your egg. If a caregiver breaks your egg and hasn't signed a liability contract before said sitting, you get 150 points deducted. Don't quote me on that, though, as parenting an egg makes my head spin. Henry asked me to boil an egg for him, and I told him to boil it yourself. When the timer went off, he asked me to remove it from the heat, and I said You're going to have to take that egg off the heat yourself.

And so on.

Now, you might roll your eyes (I did) because, honestly, an egg doesn't come close to representing a baby when you're thirteen and fourteen years old. On one level, it reminds me of  a disability awareness project that I heard about where the kids are asked to walk around blindfolded to get a sense of what it's like to be blind. Right, I thought, caustically, being blind for a day is a real hardship. But I digress. I've heard that areas with better school budgets -- ahem -- have real baby dolls that poop and pee and cry for these projects, but keeping an egg safe, dry and clothed is evidently a substitute, and Henry was pretty excited about the whole thing. Maybe too excited.

In the morning we placed the little brown egg in a tiny shopping bag that we lined with paper shreds, while Oliver chattered nervously about his upcoming health and hygiene class. I said good-bye to my two sons and my grandegg and tended to Sophie who in a weird twist of fate wears deodorant (non-aluminum), a bra and diapers, which made me wonder about a disability project that might include caring for an ostrich egg, perhaps? -- caring for an ostrich egg for more than a week, though, and maybe the ostrich egg would be barely shattered and dripping protein and points would be taken off if you missed therapy or threatened to kill someone at your insurance company or spoke rudely to the little girl staring at your over-large egg in its stroller -- But I digress, again.

Henry got into the car with his friend Noah (also an egg father) on Friday afternoon and enthusiastically told me what had happened that day. Evidently, each student was required to pick a partner for the egg-rearing and was also given a random job or career. Noah had decided to be a single father and carried his egg in a neatly designed box. When he got into the car, he placed it carefully in his lap. Henry and his friend S decided to co-egg.

S and I are gay parents, Mom, Henry said.

We went to China to adopt an egg and named her Mulan. I'm a veterinarian with health insurance, and S is a hairdresser with none. Right now we're a little bit in debt which we have to get out of to earn back points. 

Evidently, other occupations included McDonald's cashier, doctor, movie producer, unemployed, and Noah is a salesman. Each egg parent was given a salary, commensurate with their experience, and had to budget accordingly.  Oliver listened to all of this avidly, shaken out of his former foul humor (he'd lost a file on his lap-top for a science project and had gotten into the car completely enveloped in a cloud of Oliver rage that I've learned to endure, if not ignore completely).

Henry was not in possession of his egg because his partner had volunteered to watch and take care of Mulan over the weekend, so we're egg-free today.

That's what's going down out here in La-La Land. My son is the proud gay father of a little brown Chinese egg named Mulan, and I'm a grandmother. And everyone smells nice and is aluminum-free.


  1. I smiled throughout this entire post. Quintessential happenings of life in your house. In my opinion.

    Jake came home from the Family Life videos and said, " I can never look at life the same again." Ah, to keep them young and innocent for always.

    I love you and those boys of yours, you know that, don't you?

  2. I love everything about this post.

    But I feel I should add that Tom's deoderant makes my skin break out in a rash.

  3. I did the egg project in grade 12 and it actually made me realize how much I did not want to become a parent. (I had twins.) It is a bit of a silly project as there is no way an egg is like a baby but when my mom refused to baby-sit on the weekend when I wanted to go out with my friends I had something to think about.

  4. Oh my gosh, I laughed so hard. We are gay parents who adopted our baby from China and named her Mulan. That is wonderful. Just wonderful.

  5. Brilliant. Next, I expect a piece on the new overuse/misuse of "racist" and "bully"!

  6. Oh god this is fantastic. Please PLEASE get this published right away. Love love love it.


    HAHAHAHA grand egg

    all of it



  7. I think I'm just going to say congratulations!


  8. California is way cooler than Georgia. Just saying.

  9. Hilarious! Congrats on the grandegg! xo

  10. I also loved this post! Your schools are ahead of ours and your sons sound like lovely young men.

  11. This made me smile. You're the best. You really are.

  12. I'm laughing out loud (jolting the snoring husband next to me). I love it all, but especially your sense of humor! xo

  13. Wow, gay parenting a hard-boiled egg. School sure is different from the way it was in my day! (Thank goodness.)

  14. Love this story...laughing like crazy. This should be in a book or something somewhere.

  15. This had me laughing out loud.
    Get it published so more folks can.


  16. Nothing short of hysterical. That Henry is a keeper.

    Most eggcellent- cracked me UP! I agree- get published. A+, top-notch good stuff!

  17. Also "V.D. is not Victory"- LMBO!

  18. 10 years ago my daughter's baby was a 5 lb. sack of flour -- we chose some cheapo store brand all purpose WHITE.

    The gay-parenting part trumps all!

  19. Still smiling. Good luck to both your boys... I suspect they'll come through the challenge of sex ed with nothing but good stories to tell (or for you to tell...)

  20. OMG. I hate it when I get behind on your blog. To think I might have missed this!

  21. I wonder if there are any weekend gatherings where the eggs can play? Maybe a big eggstravaganza? Although, I'd note that a project like this can be problematic for some in the spectrum who have never in their lives done imaginative play and think "I cannot crack open, peel, salt, and eat a baby, so this egg is not a baby. This project is absurd." I won't even start on gay, adoptive, and Chinese ideas!

    Very funny stuff. I hope Mulan hatches into a wonderful child who leaves the nest and thrives!

  22. this post is a classic. the gay co-parents of the adopted chinese egg, the "disability egg" project... oh man, this was GREAT!! but i was thinking that cracking the egg - should that really be a ZERO? thats pretty harsh. you know, a cracked egg is still an egg. i think of how many times I cracked my kid's eggs... they have fallen down the stairs, fallen out of high chairs, taken various tumbles while learning to walk, ride bikes etc. I mean, no one has ever had stitches or broken a bone... but even if they DID... it happens? and what about seizures and such? I mean, if carlie were an egg? she's be all kinds of cracked up... but she's still an egg. a beautiful, sweet, whole egg, cracks and all. cracks don't mean you've failed as a parent... they are part of life :)

  23. Now don't be overbearing and tell your gay veterinarian son how to raise your Chinese grandegg, Mulan. Times have changed and these parents have their own ideas.

    Oh my, I laughed at this. Loved the ostrich egg too.

  24. For some reason, this is one of my favorite posts you've ever written. I simply love it.
    In our school district, I think they do something with a bag of flour or a baby doll, or both (instead of the egg). What seems more realistic is to invite the kids who really are teen parents to come every day for the duration of the program and teach that part of the class, and have them bring their baby. That would be a lot more instructive than imagining an egg or a bag of flour as a baby!

  25. i'm cracking up. and yes, that IS a terrible pun.

  26. I'm just catching up & there is so much sad news here but on a brighter note I think the egg project is going around - I am now a proud grandma to a water balloon baby. Single dad though, I think. And he left baby in the fruit bowl for the night so I'm sure the Authorities will come swooping in soon.



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