Hands down, the best part of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Conference is handing out my chotskies to my kids once home—especially the sperm and egg chotskies, which constitute the majority of what I bring back. By now, my kids are suspicious when I sit them down to hand out the spoils. The first year, when they were still innocent of what was coming, they gathered around with genuine enthusiasm. I almost felt guilty when I handed my youngest son the writing pen with sperm floating inside the carriage. He kept staring at the cute little things swimming around trying to figure out what they were. His elder brother helpfully (and I might add- gleefully) said, “Bro, those are sperm you got your hands on.” Within seconds, the pen was dropped, never to be touched again.
My kids are now jaded. When I return from what they now call “The Sperm Conference”, they still gather (after all candy is in the offing, as well as trinkets), but warily. Everything is suspect. I offered up a metal water bottle from the Obstetrics and Infertility Nurses Association, and you could almost see their minds weighing the teasing potential of the words “obstetrics” and “infertility”.
Personality plays heavily on their approach. Son #2, smiles with his hands in his pockets and leaves with nothing but a Snickers Bar. Daughter #2, highly analytical in everything she does, examines each object closely, weighing value with options to obliterate any evidence of its source. She desperately wants the five way circular highlighter, but it advertises an egg and surrogacy agency. The relative value of having five colors in one package wins out, and she walks away muttering about whiteout vs. scraping.
Son #1 has a totally different approach—he owns the possibilities. He snatched up the water bottle. When another sibling suggested duct tape as the solution to the offensive words (obstetrics?), he responded, “No way, with that on the side, nobody’s going to steal this baby.” His keys are proudly kept on a key chain with a bright yellow smiling sperm. But even he has his limits. He turned down, somewhat regretfully, the sperm baseball cap. “You know Mom, that just wouldn’t fly in the lunch room.” I’m not sure if it was the pink color or the marching sperm that turned him off.
Ann-Marie, over on Facebook, suggested that I’d be a hit at Career Day. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of that before. Just think of the blackmail possibilities!! “If you don’t clean your room, I’ll show up at Career Day wearing the sperm hat and handing our sperm key chains and refrigerator magnets.” I’m calling the school today.
Image credit: GFAR
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Last year I took one of my early 20-something (male) co-workers to the ACOG conference in Chicago. Needless to say, it was a wide-eye opening experience with lots of full-color pictures adorning the booths. I suspect I’ll never get him to join me at another convention!
Kimberly-Ha, I bet he still rues the day he agreed to go.