It was the perfect plan. Lucy was conceived in April 2000 and she was due to come in January 2001, three weeks after Canada’s mandatory one-year maternity leave was due to take effect.
And then my husband said the C-word. You know the one: C**T.
It was December 22, and we were enjoying a lovely pre-Christmas evening with some good friends. Having wrapped up dinner, we gathered around the fire to exchange gifts. They were expecting their first just a few weeks after us so we presented what we thought was an appropriate gift. A book entitled, Where did I come from?
Yes, it was early days, but soon enough that bump curled up inside Sarah was going to ask that dreaded question, so we thought we’d help prepare them. (We also picked up a copy for ourselves.) I didn’t realize at the time that the author, Peter Mayle, is the very man who wrote A Year in Provence and Toujours Provence, two equally witty but far more appetizing reads. But back to my story.
Now, my ex-husband isn’t somebody I would call a funny guy. When I laughed, I was usually laughing at him, not with him. On those odd occasions when he did deliver a killer one-liner, I’d split my gut laughing. On this particular occasion, I went a step further. I went into labour.
After they’d opened their gift, we thought it would be fun to have Dad-to-be Dave read it to us out loud. Much to our delight, he obliged. Having already read it from cover to cover – it was a gripping read, let me tell you – I was looking particularly forward the genitalia descriptions.
I can’t quote from it exactly (Lucy’s 16 now, she knows how she got here and our copy is long gone) but after introducing the PENIS, the author shares some friendly nicknames, willy being one of the obvious ones. And then he gets to VAGINA.
I remember him saying the vagina looks kind of like an upside down bottom (maybe a five-year-old’s does, but mine certainly doesn’t). He then goes on to say there aren’t really any friendly names for the vagina. Cue the comedian.
“Of course there are. What about C**T?”
And that, ladies and gents, is when I laughed so hard, I popped my cork. Lucy was born 23 hours later.
While this book cost me six-months of maternity benefits (Lucy came eight days before the one-year policy kicked in), it was worth it for the memories. And they didn’t stop there.
About six weeks after she arrived, my parents came to stay. One evening, my dear father agreed to read this story out loud. His face was dead pan. His voice sing-songy but even. His big, bushy eyebrows were the only thing hinting at the slight discomfort he was feeling. A few minutes in, we were back there. “There aren’t really any friendly names for the vagina,” he read, to which my very straight-laced mother responded:
“What about pussy?”
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