My Kids: Angels or Demons?

This piece first appeared on In the Powder Room.

My daughters are cherubs. They are fair and blond and blue-eyed, and if I hadn’t been present when they emerged from me, rudely destroying my body in the process, I’d question if they were really mine. I was a tomboy. They love nail polish, wear tutus, draw rainbows, and believe with every cell of their tiny bodies in the world of My Little Pony. Just when I’m about to unearth their birth certificates to make sure I’m the right mom to the right kids, they shatter their angelic images with casual conversation, reminding me that we are, in fact, related.
Ivy (4-years-old): Mom?
Me: Yes?

Ivy: If you die, what should we do with your body?
Me: Wow, Ivy. I love you, too.
Ivy: But what should we do with your dead body?
Me: Burn it and spread my ashes somewhere cool.
Ivy: Okay, got it.
Yes, they’re definitely my kids. But I try to keep my own morbid tendencies hidden around my children, so where does this come from? I consider the outside influences. Disney! Disney is the easy choice to blame for this, right? Because if there’s one thing Disney loves to do, it’s kill off the moms. What do Bambi, Cinderella, Snow White, Mowgli, Nemo, Ariel, Jasmine, Chicken Little, and sisters Anna and Elsa all have in common? Dead moms. Surely that’s the root of this discussion, rather than my four-year-old’s natural inclination toward estate planning. But then we have other conversations that I find harder to rationalize, and I know Disney isn’t to blame.
Ivy: Mom?
Me: Yes?
Ivy: If someone took out their eyeball and ate it, would it be poison?
Me: Wow, Ivy. Why would someone do that?
Ivy: Just pretend they did.
Me: Do I have to?
Ivy: Yes.
Me: No, I don’t think it would be poison, but it might not taste very good.
Emilia (6-years-old): But if you cooked it first, it might not taste so bad.
I silently commended Emilia for thinking that one through. And despite the graphic nature of Ivy’s scenarios, she seemed genuinely curious about how I would answer. Yes, these are my little angels, after all. And despite the unholy amount of glitter in my home, which has engendered in me an irrational fear of all things sparkly, I will likely enjoy a relationship with my children similar to the one that exists between me and my mother, who has told me exactly how and when to dispose of her. Maybe when they’re older my daughters and I can watch The First 48 marathons together or form our own little book club centered on serial killer biographies. In the meantime, I’ll suffer through My Little Pony, paint their nails, and answer their questions on self-cannibalism as truthfully as I can.
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