A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Another Spectacular Dinner Conversation

As I’ve told you before, we tend to have pretty hilarious and/or bizarre dinner conversations at my house (depending on your perspective).

My sweet husband, “The Gatekeeper,” is all about order and peace at the table. He really hates it when the kids and I get silly or inappropriate. And the man has a point there, really, I get it. But sometimes, we truly just can’t help ourselves.

The other night we were talking about ethnicity. My husband is 100% Italian; I’m more of a mutt. The kids absolutely despise that I ruined their chances of being purebred Italians.

So Mini-Me, desperately trying to find a way to be more than 50% Italian, pleaded, “Mom? Do you have any Italian in you?”

Those were her exact words.

I mean, come on.

In baseball, that’s what they call a “meatball” (ahem, speaking of Italians)…a perfect pitch right down the middle of the plate.

Look, I just don’t have it in me to not square up and knock that sucker out of the ballpark, even in front of children.

“Not at the moment.” I countered with a straight face, followed by a We-Make-Sexytime double eyebrow raise in my husband’s general direction (which on me, actually looks more like Groucho Marx having a petit mal.)

“Nice,” The Gatekeeper replied with an undertone of this is why our kids are like this. (He may or may not have been referring to various troublesome behaviors including a child who will not be named allegedly dropping trou on the playground the other day and getting sent to the preschool principal’s office on charges of indecent exposure.)

pic of bucket head preparing for trouble and in mismatched socks

...in trouble with more than just the Fashion Police.

Don’t worry, my joke went right over the kids’ heads, as I knew it would. They are way more interested in poop and fart talk than they are with the whole P-in-the-V concept…so far. Which is why it came as a big surprise that a few minutes later Mini-Me revealed that she was learning various gynecological terms at school. 

“We’re learning SPEC words in spelling.”

“SPEC words? What does that mean?” I asked.

“You know, words with SPEC in them. It’s a Latin root. It means see or look.”

“You’re learning Latin roots in 3rd grade? How cool is that?! You are going to rock your SATs, girl. What are some of the words on your list?”

“Inspect. Respect. Spectacle. Speculum…” she replied.

Hold up. Did you just say speculum?”

“Uh-huh. Speculum.”

Speculum is one of your spelling words? In third grade? Are you sure?”

“Yes. Also, perspective, spectator…”

“No. Really. You must be mistaken. There is NO way in Sam Hill that speculum is one of your spelling words. Get me that list.”

Meanwhile, The Gatekeeper and the boys were silently chewing their food, watching our dialogue like a tennis match. Mini-Me got up from the table, rooted through her backpack, and produced this:

my daughter's spelling list of words including the Latin root SPEC

 Quickly, I scanned the page.

“There’s no speculum on this list, Miss Thang.”

She leaned over to see it again and prove to me that I’m wrong.

Suddenly realizing her mistake, “Oh, I meant to say speculate.”

“Big diff, honey.”

“Well what is a speculum then? And why isn’t it on my list since it starts with SPEC?”

This would have been the ideal moment for me to be circumspect before answering.

“Oh. Well. Okay. A speculum is a special scope that doctors use to look inside your vagina.”


“Don’t worry. Only grown-up women need to have those kind of exams.”

“Like a telescope? That goes into your vagina? And a doctor looks up in there? That is disgusting! Ew! I am never going to let anyone stick anything in my vagina!”

“AMEN sister. Let’s make t-shirts that say that,” I approved.

“Can we please change the conversation?” The Gatekeeper pleaded.

“Da-ji-na.” Bucket Head chimed in, better late than never.

The kids and I all started to giggle, nervously glancing at the head of the table.

“See? See what just happened?” The Gatekeeper admonished.

In retrospect, yes, yes I do. Maybe I need more Italian in me to win him over.



  1. Lindsay @lilloveandluck

    This is exactly what I needed to get through this awful webinar.

    • The Bearded Iris

      At your cervix, m’lady.

      • Kris the Colts Fan


  2. Leigh Ann

    Oh, I can’t wait. Currently our conversations consist of me telling them we are going to play at a friend’s house, and them yelling, “Daddy! Are you going to take your penis too???”

    • The Bearded Iris

      I hate when Daddy doesn’t take his penis with him, don’t you?

  3. Amy Sherman

    In my own words: “Way to strike while the speculum’s hot!” This is a delightful piece.Thank you for letting us all come to dinner.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Anytime, Amy! Thank you. 🙂

  4. Adrian Bielski

    “AMEN sister. Let’s make t-shirts that say that”


    • The Bearded Iris

      That does it. I really need to open a Zazzle account.

  5. Kim at Let Me Start By Saying

    Please immediately put those tees up for sale. Will they come in a 5T?

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh, the possibilities are endless. Coffee mugs, onsies, cloth diaper covers. As if my kids’ teachers needed any other reason to file a report with social services…

      • Put me down for two or twenty also. I might hand them out as introductory gifts to perspective dates for my daughters. Maybe the addition of a shotgun graphic would be nice. Maybe just for the teen set. Although, it would make a classy addition to the diaper covers.

        Girl, this post was snort inducing. Since you already aren’t very busy, consider starting The Vagina Blogs with me. My stories plus your “creative language” would kill. Think off (off) broadway. Maybe down a dark alley.

        But you might not want to sign that contract after I buzz kill you with some reassurance. Speculums are used all over the medical field. For example, there is one they stick up your nose. And that disposable tips on the end of an otoscope? Also a speculum. Points to ponder if you are ever in the ER for jellybean-up-the nose removal or an ear infection.

        Still giggling over “in trouble with more than just the fashion police.”

  6. Daryce

    Just so you know, my iPhone chimes when I receive new emails…most if not all I will glance at who it is from and either delete before even reading it or leave it alone until I have more time to look at it. Not yours though. Everything goes on hold so that I can read your blog email. House is on fire?! Quiet! Iris has spoken. Dog shit AGAIN in your room?! I’ll get it later-Iris has something to say. Thank you for the reprieve!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      That’s so awesome Daryce! Make my freakin’ day, why don’tcha.

  7. Kate

    ROFLMFAO! That is awesome. My husband would have been dry-heaving at the table during that conversation. LOL Love it!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Right? That’s half the fun though, I have to admit. (Tee hee!)

  8. Snappy

    Ha! Just wait – your daughter will tell her friends at school about a speculum. Any chance you will get a call from an unhappy parent?!

    • The Bearded Iris

      No chance in hell. Honey, I live in the SOUTH. Anyone who has a beef with me will just say “Bless her heart” behind my back and not invite me to Bunco. I’ll take my chances. 😉

  9. Famous SpokesGoat Pricilla

    How spectacular!

    • The Bearded Iris

      I love that word. Oooh, let’s make our own SPEC words!

      Speculicious…when something tastes as good as it looks. I.e., not pudding.

      • Famous SpokesGoat Pricilla

        Maybe I could be a Famous SpecGoat since I am all seeing. Did you know that goats see 240° around? Pretty spectabulus!

  10. Lisa Hewitt

    Oh I want to come to dinner! I would also like a tee shirt. And Bless His Heart – not the Gatekeeper but the poor child wrongly accused of preschool indecent exposure! I hope it doesn’t go on his permanent record. Third grade words – really – is this before or after third grade advanced algebra? May I please be the first to notice? you left your verb out before circumspect. bahahaha DA JI NA!!! You rock.
    P.S. Did I see a sink in your yard?

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh my – I hate when I accidentally leave my verbs in the front yard next to my sink! Thank you for having my back (and da-ji-na). XO!

  11. Jester Queen

    I’m on your side. I love lobbing innuendoes over my kids heads.

    • The Bearded Iris

      They make it so damn easy, don’t they?

  12. Jennifer

    Hot Damn that made me throw up my disgusting protein shake. Mucho gracias.

    My husband raided some old doctors barn the other day and brought home a shitload of really old LARGE speculums. I’m talking 20 of them. I asked him what he plans on doing with them and he said he plans on making them into an art piece to hang on the wall. I”M NOT JOKING. I didn’t know what to do with them, but I guess maybe their purpose is so that I can send you a picture of them.

    Thanks for the spelling story. I enjoyed the “Let’s make t-shirts” the best.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Okay seriously, you MUST take a picture! We’ll put it up on my Facebook page!! I wonder if those specula (pl?) are for bovine or if the women in your town are just really special. I’m dying! Take a pic!

      • mrs.frisbie

        I just searched “speculum art” on Etsy and nothing turned up. I believe you have the market cornered and may very well be sitting on several tens of dollars there.

  13. Jen

    We have very similar dinner time conversations but I act as the gatekeeper… and I often fail.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hahaha! I never would have guessed that. You seem like you’d be the fun one in any partnership! My poor husband often feels like he has 4 kids instead of three.

      • Jen

        Ok, I replied to the wrong comment but my reply still stands.

        *sigh* blogging and commenting is hard.. yo!

  14. Vicky

    Oh you completely need to put a rush order on those tee-shirts. I want one for my 18 year old daughter before she graduates high school in a couple of weeks, lol.

    Thank you for the laugh during my work day. That just totally made my day!!

    • The Bearded Iris

      LOL – we might be onto something here. What parent wouldn’t want this shirt for their daughter? I can hire that dad who shot his daughter’s laptop on YouTube to be my head of marketing.

      • Jen

        Ok, I’ll admit that I often to start things but I am forced to be the gatekeeper because I will start something semi-innocently and my husband will take it and run with it until we are explaining where babies come from and why 50 Shades of Grey is not for children. My man does not have a G rating. 😉

  15. Michelle

    Hilarious! We have two boys so we have a lot of the “penis” talk bc they are fascinated with them.*Sigh.* I guess it will always be this way.

  16. Connie @isuckasaparent

    I want to see those t-shirts at Target! So funny- I can’t believe your husband stayed at the table after “speculum”- my husband would have fled.

  17. Ninja Mom

    Beats the hell out of dinner conversation about fractions, amirite?

    You are a funny mofo. Fun-eee!

  18. Astra

    Hysterical! I totally reSPECt the way you handle dinner conversations 🙂

  19. Actually Laughing OUT LOUD! Thank you writing all thes awful things, because you are making me feel so much more normal. I sometimes worry that I am a little to “freakshow” for parenting, but when I read your stories I see that my kids are going to be awesome because of it.
    I am a quarter Italian and it is an awful shame. You are always left wishing to be full blooded….it just seems so much more badass. My poor darlings are mega muts and I feel like I’ve wronged them someone how. And I’m back to hysterical laughter about the joke that you had no choice but to knock out of the park. Well done!

  20. Robin

    Great blog! Ha, ha, my husband would have been egging that convo at the table on! Oh the things we have talked about with our older 2 daughters at dinner. When their boyfriends, now their husbands would come over, I think at first they were mortified, but now they just chime in! Oh the other hand, now they get to turn the tables a bit with TMI about their relationships and “Oh yeah, we remember hearing you and Dad (when the boyfriends were over late)… ya know!” Gosh I though we were pretty quiet, what the…. However, with 2 little ones at the table again, we have resorted to the fart and poo talk, but someday soon the mortification will begin again!!! Looking forward to it!

  21. Kristen K

    The Gatekeeper AKA- InSPECtor ReSPECtful- would not enjoy dinner with the Kotrlik family…

    Dude…. You need to give me a heads up when you’re going to lob this sort of meatball at me. This post has my name all over it.
    Circumspectacular…. when you realize that that Jewish fella you are dating has a magnificent specimen in his gotkes.

    I married a man that occasionally injects me with a little German here and there. AND do you know that that same man tries to slip it in the back door, and I say that that entrance is specifically for special occasions and no spectators watching- I have to be specific too…otherwise, he tries to slip it in unsuspectingly.

  22. Michaela Mitchell

    I have two boys, so thankfully, speculum isn’t in our vocabulary. But, I’m half-heartedly trying to teach my oldest, who’s 6, the proper words for the male anatomy. So he’s heard penis, testicles, you know, THOSE words…But, as an example about how it can go SO wrong, here’s my conversation with him the other day:

    A: Mom, S kicked me in the nuts!
    Me: We don’t use that word. If you’re not going to use the correct word, don’t say anything.
    A: Mom, S kicked me in the tentacles!

    A few days later:
    Me: Stop rocking the recliner all crazy. What is wrong?!
    A: I can’t help it! My tentacles hurt!

    And believe it when I tell you, he stares at Squidward when he sees him on Spongebob with a VERY concerned face…

    I am both a gatekeeper AND a bad influence, and promptly Facebook it ALL. 🙂 So go ahead, have some Italian in the DA-JI-NA whenever you can! It’s all good!

  23. Elissa Ashwood

    OMG, your dinner time should have a direct feed into a room of tv writers and you paid on retainer to just be too funny for words.

    Ba-Ji-Nas rule.

  24. Kathy V.

    BWAHAHAHAHA. Oh god, I laughed so hard I cried. And peed a little. Jeebus, that’s funny. I can’t think of much that’s funnier than my baby boy saying Da-ji-na. Mostly because I can imagine the look on my mother-in-law’s face when she hears it. Maybe I’ll teach it to him. Right now all he’s got is ‘Mama’ and ‘meow’.

  25. Bernie Bickers

    I exSPECT nothing less from the likes of you…

    And please refrain from discussing meatballs….

  26. Marsha

    Thank you for this. Just a few hours ago I posted on my FB page that meeting a light rail train face to face didn’t seem like such a bad idea, because seriously, my week (and life in general) has been awful. I so needed to laugh and I can always count on you to make me do that!

  27. JD @ Honest Mom

    I just laughed my arse off. I’m so mad at you for bailing from Blog Her. It’s just not gonna be as funny. Or dirty.

  28. Karine

    Ah, Iris/Leslie/Humour Goddess… you crack me up! I sooooo want to sit-in on one of your family dinners… they sound like hooch… errr, I mean hoot! And I’m so innocent (naive, stupid or whatever you wanna call it…) that when I read the part about the little of bit of Italian in you (or lack thereof), I thought you meant that you weren’t pregnant. Your way of thinking is WAY more fun!

  29. Motherhood on the Rocks

    You need this t-shirt! ; )


    • The Bearded Iris

      OMG. I totally do! That is PERFECT. And then I can wear it to the dinner table and explain to my kids what it means while my husband chokes on his meatballs.

  30. GrandeMocha

    LOVE the tshirt!

  31. Alexandra

    Sigh of relief.

    I thought we were the only household on the planet with the husband being DAD over all.

    naughty mommy.

    But also, just can’t pass up a “meatball” mommy.

  32. Tiffany

    That. Is. Awesome. Those are also some really hard spelling words!!!

  33. Carrie


    Tell me you didn’t?

    I howled. I was giggling at “not at the moment” but at full-blown (don’t go there) howl at P-in-the-V!!

    And I knew before I finished reading, vagina was gonna creep right on up into that conversation.

    And Bucket Head is now flashing at school?? (You go, Bucket Head…get on it!!)

  34. Leighann

    Oh my.
    Today has been a great day for vagina talk.
    My daughter has discovered that there is something there and has spent the entire day trying to see inside it.

  35. chickadee

    My 8-y-o recently dropped and broke the camera while trying to take a picture of her butt.

  36. Jean Deaux

    Bearded Iris,

    You are Hi-larious. Was searching for bearded vagina (please don’t ask why) after learning that JLH vajazzles her lady parts and came across this link. After reading this I have been chuckling quietly for about 5 minutes Now I have 5 people around my desk reading it over my shoulders. Everyone is in stitches. This is now on my “must read” list.

    “Another spectacular dinner conversation”

    Did you intentionally “spec” in the title?

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hello Jean (and friends)! Welcome to my little bearded corner of the blogosphere! I hope you also found my post about JLH and her trendy vajellyjar. It’s one of my all-time favorite posts and it sounds like it is right up you alley…so to speak.

      Yes, I intentionally SPEC’ed the title of this post. I’m pretty cheesy like that.

      Glad you guys found me. Can you stay for a while? I’ll make some 7-layer dip.

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