A Sampling of Today's Conversations with My Children

Exhibit AOn the way to school, Milo went on this diatribe made up of animated, complex and unintelligible sentences. As best I could tell, his narrative had lots of action — I made out several "...and then..." statements where he was stringing together descriptions of things that happened. He also seemed to convey strong feelings of injustice and outrage: scowling, pursing his lips, shaking his hair and, at one point, saying, "NO, I don't like that!" Then, to close, he explained, "Lucy MY sistoe. She not you sistoe. You her mommy and you my mommy and she my sistoe!" And then he looked at me in the rear-view mirror expectantly. Like he wanted applause for his monologue.

Exhibit B After we dropped Milo off, Lu stuck her head out of Harry Potter long enough to notice that we were driving past T3, my old (and still beloved) agency. She asked about our friends that still worked there, and I talked about a few people, including "Mr. Lee and Ms. Gay," whom Lu remembers not just as my bosses but as great hosts who always showed her a good time (and continue to invite her out to the ranch).

About ten seconds later...

Lu: Mom, what does gay mean?

Me: Well, it's a name, like Ms. Gay–

Lu: I know, and Mr. Gay, the second grade teacher, but I mean, the word. You know?

Me: Well, you know how Dad and I love each other romantically — we are together? Do you know what I mean by that?

Lu: Uh huh.

Me: Well, sometimes men and women love each other, like Dad and I do, and that's being straight. And sometimes people who are the same gender love each other [I go on to enumerate the many friends and family members in our tribe who are gay], and that's being gay.

Lu: Oh.