Friday, August 20, 2010

Breaking water and procreant primates

I went to the Relief Society enrichment meeting last night while Andrew stayed home with the girls. It's kind of strange being in this ward--Andrew's family's ward--because everyone seems to already know so much about me while I know so little about everyone else. There's this one young mother in the ward that I've been meaning to talk to but haven't yet. We each have two children who are similar ages so I often see her in the hall or in the mother's lounge but we've both been so busy wrangling, hushing, nursing, and lulling children to sleep during those times that we've merely exchanged understanding glances.

We both work in the primary and I have her son in my class. But because I'm so busy with our cute, little sunbeams and she's busy with her class we still hadn't talked to each other. Her son was the spotlight child a few weeks ago and it came out that a "food he really doesn't like" is pizza. Now, what kind of child doesn't like pizza? I asked her that last night when we both found ourselves in the kitchen refilling pitchers of water for the refreshment table.

"Does your son really not like pizza?" I asked her.

"My son doesn't like anything," she said. "He hates getting his hands messy so he will only eat 'clean' things like crackers or bread. He avoids anything that could possibly get his hands wet or sticky. It started when he was about one and now that he uses a fork he still won't eat anything. It's so frustrating!"

So I told her about how my older brother used to eat with a washcloth beside him because he couldn't stand to be messy, either. That way he could wash his hands any time he felt he needed to. And then we talked for a while more.

This is kind of a big deal for shy, little me. I started a conversation. And then I went home and told my husband about it so that he could be proud of me.

"So I asked her if her son really didn't like pizza and that's how I broke the water."

"Ice." Andrew said.

"What?" I asked.

"Unless there's something you're trying to tell me, you broke the ice, not the water."

Whose idea was it to have such closely related idiomatic constructions mean such entirely different things? There is a huge difference between breaking ice and breaking water: if you break the ice you start a conversation but if your water breaks it means you're about to have a baby.

I'm really not alluding to anything within our situation and is not an announcement of any kind, but yesterday I learned an interesting fact about tamarins and marmosets while I was working with the word procreant or something, which I shared with Andrew. That is that both tamarins and marmosets rarely have singletons-- instead, usually they give birth to fraternal twins. For some reason I found this fascinating. Don't most primates have one baby at a time? I thought so. Furthermore, after clocking out to investigate this tidbit of information by wandering over to Wikipedia, I learned that marmosets can pass on the DNA of their twin instead of their own due to placental fusion. That's just crazy.

"If they always have twins, don't you think the world would be overrun by very little monkeys by now?" I asked Andrew.

"No," he answered without hardly thinking about my question, "Ever heard of dogs, cats, rabbits, mice...?"

Point taken. I suppose two babies is nothing compared to how prolific other animals can be--like my cat Winter who had two batches of kittens in one year, bringing a total of twelve kittens into our home. And while that didn't exactly overrun the world with cats it certainly took over our house!


  1. Did Andrew tell you about Miriam? How Rachel asked me "What's Meme chewing?" and I put her on my lap to have a look, and she was trying really hard to let me NOT have it, and almost swallowed it, but I got it--a SCREW!

  2. That girl! She always has something contraband in her mouth! I don't even know how she finds these things! Thanks for rescuing her. :)

  3. Nancy! We just moved back into the old ward and I missed seeing your beautiful face there! I knew you weren't still living in Orchard Creek but for whatever reason I expected you to be there. If you're not in Egypt you should be in my ward, right? :) I hope you're doing well!