[ The Little Life of Anna Paul ]

My name is Anna Paul. The full name is Anna Elizabeth Paul but I'm just going to say the second one in my head because it's difficult to say and my tongue seems too big in my mouth. I'm a big, big girl. I'm 4 years old. Mommy always claps her hands together when I show her how old I am with four fingers pointed at her. I can do a lot better than that and my Daddy knows it.

My Mommy's name is Ally Paul. Sometimes, my Daddy calls her Ally McBeal but I don't know why. It happens when he's a little angry at her. He goes: "Would you listen to me, Ally McBeal?" He had to put a hand on his mouth because there's a bad word coming out. Daddy is never really angry at her. It's just that she pouts like me and he hates that. When they get into a fight and I'm listening, Daddy turns to me and winks his eye. Then I know it's not a real fight.

My Daddy is a lawyer and my Mommy is one too. Daddy is the greatest lawyer in the world. I know it. He always wins. When I'm big, I'm going to be a great lawyer too. Daddy says that we could open a big firm along with Mom. Paul, Paul & Paul. That sounds great!

Mommy is the best when it comes to inventing stories. My favorite is the one with the unicorn. She says that she met on in real life and I believe her because there are stars in her eyes when she tells me about it. Mom believes in magic just like I do. She knows that I'm not telling lies about the monster in my closet. I think she's scared of him too. One night after a bad dream, she comes into my room with a baseball bat and hits the monster on the head. He falls asleep but I know that he's still there waiting…

One day, we are cleaning my room when Spidey the spider comes out from under my bed. I scream and Mommy screams too. AAAahahhhh!! When Daddy enters my room we are both jumping on my bed afraid of Spidey. He wants to eat us alive.

"What's going on?" Daddy's asking, rolling his eyes.

"DADDY! The spider is there! Help!" I scream again, louder. My scream makes him step back.

Mommy is waving her hands in the air and gasping. I take a look at her and do the same thing.

"HELP!" she screams.

Daddy looks around the floor. I can see that he's smiling. Nothing scares him; he's the most courageous man on earth.

"Girls," he sighs, "There's no spider."

He walks around the room and Mommy growls with her mouth closed.

"Larry…" Mommy says between her teeth. "Do something."

Spidey the spider is still there. He opens his mouth and we can see his sharp teeth. His tongue is licking his lips, like he wants to eat us.

"AHHHH!" I scream.

"AHHHH!" Mom screams.

Daddy looks scared a second but I know that he's not scared one bit.

"Where is it?" he asks, his eyes open, looking everywhere.

"Over here," Mom and I exclaim, pointing in different directions.

Daddy follows the direction I'm pointing and he plunges at Spidey the Spider. When I say that he's courageous I'm not kidding. Spidey is quick but Daddy is quicker. He holds the spider and squeezes its body from one side to the other. He lifts him up in the air and bangs his head on the floor. BANG! BANG! BANG! As soon as the spider flees back under the bed, I get jump down and run into Daddy's arms.

"You okay, pumpkin?" he asks, kissing my forehead.

"You saved us!" I said, hugging him tight.

"Well… that wasn't hard."

He lifts me up on his shoulders. He's so strong. Mommy approaches. Her smile is bright like the sun. It's always like that when she smiles to Daddy.

"Mhmm… thank you, Larry."

She kisses him on the cheek and I feel a little jealous. She tilts her head to one side and does something with her lips. I don't understand.

"You're my hero," she says again.

"Mine too!" I tell him, my arms around his neck.

Daddy is smiling back to Mommy. His eyes are sparkling like the stars. He turns his head a little and I feel his cheek against my cheek.

"Anna? Would you like to sleep at Auntie Renee's place?" he proposes, making me rock back and forth.

Auntie Renee is the best. When I sleep at her place, she always gives me candies. We watch movies until it's very, very late and I eat popcorn until my belly is about to explode. When my parents are taking me to Auntie Renee's it means that they want to clean the house. Especially the kitchen.

"We could… huh… clean the table," Mommy says, winking at Daddy.

"Hmm… yeah…" Daddy says with a little laugh. "And the couch too. It's been a long time."

I nod my head even if I don't understand. The couch is clean but they like it very, very clean.

"Okay. I want to go see Auntie Renee," I say finally.

Mommy squeals. She smiles at Daddy. She's so excited about cleaning the house. It's her favorite thing to do. Daddy replaces his glasses with a shy look. I think that he likes cleaning too but he stays silent.

* * *

Did I say that I absolutely love my Daddy? He's the best daddy in the whole world. Sometimes, when I look at him I feel my heart filled with love for him. He looks into my eyes too. Our eyes have the same color. If our eyes are the same maybe they are talking without words. Sometimes, his eyes are filled with tears when he looks at me. He tells me about my big brother Sam who's in heaven. He says that I remind him a lot of Sam. I don't like it when he's sad. I have to drop kisses everywhere on his face to make him smile. It's always working and he says: "I love you, Anna Paul." Then, I know that he feels okay.

When I sneak up into my parents' bed at night after a nightmare, I find a small place between them and hug Daddy really tight. He always smiles. He knows that I'm there. He wraps his strong arms around me and I fall asleep right away. Daddy is there to protect me.

Daddy is also the most handsome man in the world. I love everything about him. Each morning, I like to watch him shave. I handle the bottle of cream in my hand and help him to put it on his chin. The first time, I thought that it was whipped cream so I made him taste a little bit of it. He didn't like it. I don't think it would taste any better with sugar.

When Daddy is done with the shaving, I help him choose a shirt and a tie. He says that I have an eye for clothes but when he comes out of the bedroom Mommy is laughing hard. I'm not sure why.

"Larry Paul!" she says, giving him a cup of coffee. "Are you going to court dressed like that?"

"Of course!" he always says, smiling at me.

Before he goes, I have to tell him not to forget his glasses. I'm the one putting them on his nose and fixing them. Then he hugs me tightly. I feel a pinching in my heart when I look at him. I kiss his nose and promise to myself that when I'm an adult, I'll marry him.

He then raises up and kisses Mommy softly on the lips. She's the only one kissing him on the lips.

"Bye Larry…" Mommy says.

Sometimes their cheeks become very red when they look back at me. It's like they are wearing make-up or something like that. Daddy waves goodbye and I know that Mommy and I have to hurry because I'm going to the kindergarten and she's going to work. Soon I'll spend a day at her office. I can't wait to see Uncle John and his frogs. Maybe Auntie Elaine will sing some songs with me in the unisex where there's more echo. I can't wait.

"Mommy!" I ask.

"Hmm… yeah?" she responds, brushing my brown hair straight.

"Can I go with you to work tomorrow?"

I can almost see her smile even if I'm not looking at her. She knows that I want to be a lawyer too… just like her… just like Daddy.

"Why not?" she says.

* * *

I wonder why it's called Cage & Fish. I don't see a fish. And a fish lives in an aquarium. I don't understand.

There's Uncle Richard talking. I cross my hands on my knees and smiles to him with all my teeth. "First up… yadda… yadda… yadda." I don't understand but I can fake it. I nod my head just like Mommy. I like Uncle Richard. He always buys me presents but he is a little odd. He thinks that I'm a little doggie. Sometimes, he walks on his knees when he sees me and he goes: "Go get your present." When I got it, he goes: "Good girl." Maybe he wants me to bark.

Mommy is writing something down on paper. Her other hand is in my hair brushing it back softly. Some words that I don't understand come out of her mouth. She keeps writing and then she turns her head to me and smiles. She does that same smile when she tucks me into bed and says: "I've been waiting for you all my life Anna Paul." Mommy loves me.

I don't know if I should take a look at them: Nelle and Ling. I know who they are. They are Cinderella's evil step sisters. One is Anastasia and the other is Drisella. Both are blonde but Mommy says that Chinese are not blond. She says that Ling used some paint in her hair. Yuck! When they're gonna take off their masks, I'm going to scream and lose my tongue. I am so scared of them. They almost killed Cinderella.

In front of me there's Uncle John. Every time, I come with Mommy to work he is there waiting for me. When we're out of the elevator he takes my hand and we go see his little frogs. He always says that his frogs are asking for me. He's the only man on earth who can talk to frogs. Maybe he's a frog too.

"Huh… Richard," Mommy says. "Aren't you forgetting a little something?"

"Oh! Next up, Donald Duck is suing Mickey Mouse for emotional distress."

I raise my head. Yippee!

"And I want my best lawyer on it. Anna."

Now I have a file on the table waiting for me. I open it. Aaaargh. Donald and Mickey are smiling at me. It's a coloring book. Aaaargh! I want real, real papers and a real, real pen just like Mommy has.

"What is it, sweetie?" Mommy is asking.

"That's okay."

* * *

Auntie Elaine is big, big, big. She has a big belly with a baby inside. I wonder why the baby isn't coming out to say "Hi" sometimes. Maybe he's just shy. Auntie Elaine is smiling with all her teeth at me. She likes to sing me songs. Sometimes I sing with her but I can't hear my own voice. When she sings, she hurts my ears. But I like her. She's very excited about the baby inside of her. She doesn't know how the baby will look, if he'll have red, black, or blond hair. She says: "I don't know who put it. It's going to be a baby-surprise!" I understand what she means. Maybe the little man on the box of Cracker Jack is the daddy. Oh… I'm going into Mommy's office. I have to ask Auntie Elaine about babies. I'm sure she'll say something.

"Come here, Anna," Mommy says.

I sit next to her on my little chair. I wish that I had a real, real adult chair just like in Daddy's office. I sigh and grab my pen. The phone is there on the desk. Mommy sees that I'm watching it.

"Is there any chance that you would like to call your father?" she's asking, smiling.

"That's okay," I just say.

But my eyes are focused on the phone and Mommy knows what I'm thinking.

"Just call him," Mommy whispers.

"Okay," I sigh. My heart is beating fast, fast.

I know Daddy's phone number by heart. I hear his voice. He says: "Isn't it my favorite daughter on the line?" I hope so. I say: "Daddy! It's me Anna!" He goes: "I know… I know. How could I forget?" I kiss the telephone and Mommy is laughing, her chin leaning on my head. I hand her the phone and hug her tight. She says: "Hmmm… yeah… we miss you, Larry. No really. I'm serious. Ahh… don't play innocent! You just like that girls are crazy about you."

* * *

I'm waiting for Daddy. He's supposed to get out of the elevator in a minute. I can't wait to see him. I replace my blue velvet dress. It's very, very new. I went shopping with Mommy and we ate pizza for lunch. I like my new dress. Mommy says that I look pretty. My hair is long, brown and a little curly. I have a little ribbon in my hair. The door is opening and there he is… My Daddy.

"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!"

He smiles, his eyes are sparkling.

"Hey," he says and lowers on his knees.

He puts his arms around me and I put my arms around his neck. He lifts me up in the air. I'm laughing and laughing.

"You look like a princess!" he exclaim, kissing my cheek.

Mommy comes out of her office and goes: "Larry! Larry! Larry!" I think she's imitating me.

* * *

I can't sleep. It's dark in my room. The only light I can see is coming out of Mommy and Daddy's room. I walk into the living room on the tips of my toes. I can be silent like a cat when I want to. I think that Mommy and Daddy aren't sleeping. I can hear them whispering. The door is closed. I turn the handle just like that detective Sherlock Holmes… Very slowly. I open the door to sneak one eye inside. Mommy is lying on the bed and Daddy is just next to her. I wonder if they can hear the music playing in my head. Daddy leans closer and puts his lips on Mommy's. Then I know. My heart goes BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

I knew it!

Daddy is prince Charming!

My heart is flying. I knew that Daddy was prince Charming. Prince Charming doesn't only live in books and on TV. My Daddy's one! Now, he's kissing Mommy, his lips are kissing her lips and I feel like I'm in heaven. I could dance right now there's something that I don't understand…

If Daddy is like prince Charming and Mommy's like Sleeping Beauty why is he kissing her again? She's not sleeping one bit. She does those little sounds with her mouth just like when we eat chocolate. "Mhmm… Larry…" it's like it's delicious. I don't see any chocolate. There are only Daddy's lips on Mommy's and there's Daddy's hand under Mommy's pajama top.

Mommy isn't Sleeping Beauty. Now, she's like a panther! She rolls on top of Daddy and bites his lips. She's going to hurt him! No! I'm scared, but Daddy isn't. I think he likes it because he's doing those sounds too. "Mhmm… mhm…" His hand is still under Mommy's pajama top. Mommy is helping Daddy to take his t-shirt off. I wonder why. He's a big boy; he's capable of doing it by himself. He smiles and brings his lips on Mommy. Mommy repeats his name: "Larry… mhmm… Larry… oh, Larry…" One of Mommy's hands is in Daddy's hair and the other… I'm not sure…

"Are you making babies?"

"Aaaaaahhhh!" they scream.

I see Daddy and Mommy breaking apart and look at me like I'm some kind of monster. I scared them!

"Huh… huh…" Daddy doesn't know what to say.

"Oh… huh…" Mommy doesn't know what to say either.

I have to repeat again. "Are you making babies?" I jump on the bed. Mommy is buttoning her pajama. Daddy is staring at his t-shirt. He puts it back on like he's embarrassed or something. It's not the first time I see him shirtless but now, he's shy.

"Y-you… you're n-not sleeping, A-Anna?" Mommy's asking.

"I'm awake."

"Oh, that… that's funny," she giggles. I don't think she finds it funny though.

I'm lying between them. I can hear them breathing like there's no air in the bedroom. I wonder if I should repeat the question. I don't know.

"I think you were making babies," I say.

I hear Mommy gasping. Daddy puts his glasses on. He always does that when he's about to say something.

"Huh… Anna…" he begins. "Sweetie…"

I raise my eyes up to look at him. He's shaking his head.

"Where did you get that idea?" he asks.

"Auntie Elaine told me."

"W… w… what?" Mommy tries to say.

"What?" Daddy goes at the same time. He's always better with words than Mommy is.

"Auntie Elaine told me how the baby got into her belly. She was in the bar, dancing with Cracker Jack but not the one on the box and…"

Mommy is laughing I think. Daddy is using his t-shirt to clean his glasses. He likes to clean the house and to clean his glasses. I continued with the rest of the story but I don't remember or understand, really.

"Ally, can I sue Elaine Vassal for corrupting our daughter?"

I don't understand that but Daddy's angry. I can see it by the look on his face. I don't want him to be mad at Auntie Elaine. I like her. She didn't do anything wrong. I just asked her about the baby. I'm just curious. I want to know.

"Where do babies come from?"

Silence. I can't hear a thing. Mommy isn't breathing, Daddy isn't either. I think they lost their tongues. Suddenly, both are talking over my head. I hear them whispering: "Go ahead, Larry." "No, you go head, Ally." "I can't! You've got experience with this. I don't." "Ally… women are supposed to know how to say those things. I'm not good with…" "Oh! This is embarrassing."

"Hello?" I ask.

"Sorry, pumpkin," Daddy says. He kisses my forehead.

Mommy is clearing her throat.

"Huh… Um… Anna," she begins. She plays nervously with my hair. "All of this begins when a man and a woman are in… in love."

"Yup!" Daddy is approving.

"They are so much in love that they have to show the other how much they are in love."

"Auntie Elaine says that it's like the urge to pee."

Daddy rolls his eyes and mumbles: "Ally? How many years for murder at the first degree?"

"Um… twenty, Larry," Mommy hides a smile and continues, "Those things are happening between two adults. They… they… huh…"

"Let me try," Daddy says, cleaning his glasses again. "Once upon a time there's half a baby living in a dark tunnel. The other half is living in a… a…"

"My gosh, Larry… I… I don't know," Mommy is nervous.

I think they're scared. They are looking at me with big eyes. I don't know what to say. My head seems heavy on the pillow anyway. I take Daddy's and Mommy's hands in mine.

"That's okay," I say. "Can I sleep with you tonight?"

Both sigh. They turn off the light. I feel one kiss on my right cheek: Daddy's kiss. Mommy's kiss follows on my left cheek. Maybe I don't need to know tonight. I hear Daddy saying: "She's growing up too fast." I feel so little in that bed between them. Mommy says: "I know, Larry… I know…" Soon, I fall asleep and go to the world of dreams where there are many babies coming out of flowers. They are waving at me. They are really cute.

I'm feeling happy…

* * *

I'm sitting next to Daddy on the couch. Mommy just came home from work. She enters and drops her coat on the floor. She's looking at me with surprise. Daddy and I are watching TV side by side.

"Hey, Ally," Daddy says, his hand reaching for the bowl of popcorn I'm holding.

"Hi Mommy."

Mommy's big eyes are still on me.

"What's that?" she asks, pointing at me with a finger.

"Oh!" Daddy says. "Your daughter… I guess."

"I mean on her nose!" she snaps back.

Daddy takes a look at me and smiles with pride.

"Glasses," he answers.

Mommy's mouth is hanging wide open. I don't believe she doesn't know what glasses are. Mine are red. Daddy ruffle up my hair and we both raise our heads to look at Mommy. She gasps and asks:

"What is she? Mini Larry?"

I can feel that she's not happy about my glasses but I don't know why. I like my new glasses. I kind of look more like Daddy.

"How come she's wearing glasses?" she insists.

"Mommy… we went to the glasses doctor and the doctor said that I needed them."

"Oh… sweetie… that's just…" she doesn't know what to say. "Larry," she grabs Daddy by the arm, he doesn't have a choice so he follows her to the kitchen.

I hold the bowl of popcorn and watch them leave the living room. The image of the TV is so much clearer than before with my glasses on. I'm going to wear them day and night and night and day.

"You did that on purpose, Larry. You let our daughter wear your glasses. Don't say anything… I-I saw you two having fun with your stupid glasses. And… and you let her wear them without objecting this is all your… your fault!"

Uh-oh, Mommy is mad. She tries to keep her voice down but it's rising and rising. I don't like it! Glasses are not stupid!

"Anna is four years old, Larry! I-I don't want my daughter to be blind before she gets her periods!"

Daddy talks calmly. I can't see them from where I'm sitting but I can tell that Mommy's upset.

"Now, Ally. What's the matter? Really… I was wearing glasses at the same age and after that my vision went okay."

"You ARE wearing glasses! Hel-lo?"

"Okay… it went okay for a while and then I started to need them again a few years later, so what?"

"So… so… so, don't you think that it's enough, Larry? I mean, she has your hair, your eyes, your nose, your toes… she's completely in love with you and-and… now, she's wearing glasses! May-maybe we should change her name to… to Lara or something! Larry and Lara… huh!"

"You're overreacting, Ally! Do you have your periods?"

Daddy is becoming mad too. I don't like it even if I don't really understand what they're saying. I hear a noise. Mommy throws something at Daddy. It doesn't look good!

"What really is the matter, Ally? Are you jealous of the relationship I have with my own daughter?"

"Well… well… maybe I am… I… You two are two of a kind and I feel left aside for whatever reason…"

"This is stupid!"

Daddy is really mad.

"That's what I feel, Larry."

"Well, maybe we should be four!"

Silence. I can only hear my hand grabbing popcorn. I stop moving. Something is up but I don't understand.

"Are you serious?" Mommy asks, her voice a little more soft.

"Yes, I am."

"That's a strange way to bring it up, Larry."

"You wanted me to bring it up… so I am," Daddy pauses, I hear some footsteps. I think he's still a little mad at Mommy. But he isn't really… I guess…

Then Daddy asks a question. Why do adults have to use words I don't understand? It's like a secret code or something.

"When are you ovulating?"

Mommy giggles and goes: "Huh… oh… hmm… Larry… huh… this… is… oh… I don't know…"

"Then tell me when you are so I'll make sure that you're not mad at me when it comes."

Here we go again. Mommy raises her voice.

"I'm not mad! I was not mad!"

"Oh sure…"

"Fine, you want us to be four, Larry Paul. We'll do it. Do you want an appointment or something? Should I write it in my agenda?"

It goes on and on. When Mommy comes back in the living room I'm crying, my face hiding under a cushion. It doesn't take long before she hugs me. Softly, she apologizes. She says that it's nothing. Daddy and she weren't really fighting.

* * *

The next night, Daddy is sleeping on the couch. I find him curled up on it, the covers all the way up to his chin. He's sleeping when I approach him. I touch his hair and he smiles, pulling me closer to him. I find my way under the covers, facing him. He's waking up slowly.

"Are you and Mommy divorced?"

He opens his eyes, looking at me with surprise.

"Where have you heard about divorce?" he asks.

He's awake now!

"In kindergarten. Jimmy's parents are divorced. Are you and Mommy divorced?" I repeat again. Divorce sounds bad. It's even more bad than Spidey the spider. I feel like crying.

"Oh… Anna, sweetie. You're mother and I am not going to divorce. I'm just…" he waits a moment, looking around. "I'm just sleeping on the couch. It happened a lot before you were born. Mommy needs a moment alone."

"She pouts a lot."

Daddy is smiling. He kisses my forehead.

"Hmm… yeah, she does. But you know what? I really love your mother even when she pouts."

I didn't know Mommy was standing there, listening until she cleared her throat. She's playing nervously with the top of her pajama.

"Hey," she says, softly, "Are you comfortable on that couch, Larry? And you sweetie?"

"Oh… that's okay," he says.

"That's okay," of course I have to say the same thing.

I know that Daddy's hiding a smile, his face in my hair.

"Maybe you should come back in bed," she proposed. Smiling, she takes a look around. "Before Spidey the spider gets you again…"

I didn't take more to convince us to more. Soon, I'm jumping and screaming. Daddy picks me up on his back to protect me. Mommy is agitated, she's waving her hands. Holding my legs tight, Daddy runs their bedroom, followed by Mommy. She squeals and shuts the door.

"I think we're safe!" she sighs.

Daddy and I jump into bed.

"Yes, we are," Daddy says.

Mommy is smiling. It's like their eyes are speaking. There are no words coming out of their mouths. They're just looking at each other in silence. Mommy slides under the covers. She takes my hand in hers, still looking into Daddy's eyes.

"In two days," she whispers to him.

Daddy smiles back. I can feel my legs becoming very, very weak when he does that smile.

"Should I note it in my agenda, Mrs. Paul?"

Mommy turns her head in the pillow; she flashes him that look I don't get. Adults are strange sometimes.

"I'll let you know."

* * *

Mommy bought me this book. It follows me everywhere now. It's a book with a mommy, a daddy and a baby picture. It says everything about where babies come from. I just can't believe my eyes. This is so strange…

When Mommy gave it to me her cheeks were all red. She said:

"Huh… Anna… You're a big girl right-right now and-and, I think there are some things you should, huh… know and-and your-your father and I thought that I w-would be a good thing for you to know those things be-because you're a big girl and things in life are…"

Daddy interrupted:

"Ally. Just give her the book."

And then the book is here in my hand, it never left me in two weeks. I just love babies. I wonder if the mommies and the daddies are the same. Maybe I should ask!

* * *

I'm in the kitchen, eating my cereal. The cereals are making funny sounds in my mouth. Scrunch… Scrunch… Mommy is getting out of the shower and Daddy is reading the news paper just in front of me.

"Daddy?"

Daddy takes a sip of his coffee.

"Hmm… Yeah, pumpkin?"

"Do you have a penis?"

Daddy is choking his coffee.

"Well…. Yes…. I've got… one…"

"Just one?"

Mommy appears in the kitchen. She is whistling, looking happy. She drops a kiss on my forehead and stops half way. She winks at Daddy but Daddy is frozen in place.

"What were you talking about?" she asks, opening the refrigerator door looking for orange juice.

"Penis," I say.

Mommy starts to laugh. She goes: "Oh… oh…" Daddy is cleaning his glasses. Mommy pours herself some orange juice. I can see her shoulders shaking up and down. She is having fun.

"Jimmy in kindergarten has a penis."

Mommy stops moving, her hand up in the air. Daddy isn't interested in his news paper anymore. He's looking at me, his glasses still between his fingers but his hands frozen solid.

Maybe the word 'penis' is a good way to get the attention of adults. When I'm bored I could go: "Penis! Penis! Penis!"

"How do you-you know that-that Ji-Jimmy has a penis?" Mommy is asking.

Daddy leans closer. He puts his glasses on place, his eyebrows raised.

"I saw it."

"OH MY GOODNESS!" Mommy goes, gasping. "Aaaaaaahhhh!"

Then Daddy grabs my own glasses and starts to clean them on his tie. He does that sometimes when his glasses are clean enough.

"There's a spot right there…" he mumbles, wiping my glasses again and again. "Huh… Sweetie, this Jimmy guy what's his last name again?"

"I don't know."

"And where did he show you his… penis?"

"In his pants."

Another of Mommy's gasps. Daddy is shaking his head.

"Pumpkin, I meant… I wanted to know where you were when he showed you."

"In the bathroom."

That penis thing is big thing. I can see that Daddy and Mommy are nervous. They are forgetting the bread in the toaster. Mommy starts to talk.

"This is normal, Larry. I mean… it was in the bathroom. He had to get it out."

Daddy's jaw is squeezing. He is going to break it.

"I will not let some punk show his penis to MY daughter."

"Larry, the punk is four years old there's nothing to worry about. You're being overprotective. How will it be when she's a teen and goes on dates with guys."

"I won't let that happen," Daddy says with his pigheaded tone.

"Larry, Larry," Mommy says, starting to talk really fast. "She's going to date someday and you'll have to let her be. It's natural, it's human… She-she'll have to deal with a penis at least once in her life."

Daddy's face turns red. He's going to throw his glasses.

"Hello? Hello-o?" I have to say. Sometimes, they forget that I'm sitting with them. They start to talk and I don't understand a thing. The only word I understand is penis… penis… penis.

"Sorry, sweetie," Mommy says.

She sighs and rubs Daddy's back. Soon, the routine goes back to normal. I'm eating my cereals. Scrunch, scrunch, Daddy's reading his news paper and Mommy's eating a muffin.

"Mommy, do you have a vagina?"

* * *

So Mommy has a vagina and Daddy has a penis. They are like Peter and Josie in the book.

They do the THING!

Last night, I tried to rub Barbie and Ken together but nothing happened. There was no baby coming out of Barbie's vagina. I tried to rub a little harder until my fingers where red. It didn't work.

I have to find a way…

* * *

The same night, late, late, late in the middle of the night I sneak out of bed. On the tips of my toes, I walk to my parent's bedroom and glue my ear against the door. It's locked! But I can hear…

"Mhmm… Larry… Mhmm…"

It's the "it tastes delicious" sound.

I start to giggle, a hand on my mouth. That's what Ken and Barbie need. The "Mhm" sound!

There's silence.

"You heard that?" Mommy whispers.

I glue my ear closer. I didn't hear! I hear some footsteps. The door opens. I fall to the floor. Oh-uh.

Daddy is standing there, wearing only a pair of boxers and his glasses. He's fixing them. His hair looks like it was electrocuted.

"What are you doing here?" he asks.

I have to do like Pinocchio. Lie.

"A nightmare."

I sneak my head inside. Mommy's in bed, the covers all up to her chin. She's smiling with all her teeth at me.

"Can I sleep with you tonight?" I ask.

"I can tuck you into bed, tell you a story," Daddy proposes, taking a look at Mommy.

"Please, Daddy, please!"

I flash him a big, big smile. He shakes his head and opens the door a little more.

"How can I say no when you're smiling just like your mother," he mumbles.

I follow him to the bed and jump in it. I curl up against Mommy. She's wearing her satin night gown. Barbie got one so maybe it could help. She sighs and kisses my cheek.

"Goodnight Anna."

* * *