Ender hatched from an egg. That’s how they tell the story, anyway.
Flora: It was the cutest egg ever. Orange, all orange. But I’d decorate it with purple squiggles and rainbows.
Cinder: …and we all took turns sitting on you. Like, when Mom had to go somewhere, or even take a shower, Flora or I had to sit on you. But sometimes, when she was out for a long time, instead of sitting on you, we’d just throw you back and forth like a ball. You’re so lucky we didn’t smash you.
Flora: Mom was so mad was she caught us doing that once…
They’ve told him the story so many times, they’ve even got these details down:
Flora: …and after you hatched, I tried to keep the egg shells for my museum, but Dad said it would be unhygienic and he threw them out.
Cinder: But I kept one. Want to see?
(and the mystery to why he was rooting through the garbage earlier for chicken egg shells, and through Flora’s room for an orange marker, is solved)
Flora: You were the cutest little baby.
Cinder: Well. The cutest little maggot. You were all white and squirmy. You didn’t really look human until you pupated. That happened when you were two.
(he might have crossed the line here. Yes. Yes he did?
Ender: Mooom! Did I pupate when I was two?
What would you say? What should I say?
Isn’t all life just a really long metamorphosis?
This is 100% true: While Ender was in the womb, we called him Two-Horned Rainbow Merlin Stinky Socks Marsh.
So it’s all our fault, really.
I’m in a café, working, and there’s a new proud father at the table next to me, showing off his progeny to co-workers. “She’s such a good baby,” he says.
What he means is “easy.” And “convenient.”
She’s four months old.
In three to six weeks, he and her mother will look at each other, and one will ask the other, “When do things get back to normal?”
What they mean is “the way they were before.”
What they don’t want to hear: Never.
Jane: Do! Not! Call! Your! Brother! A! Maggot!
Ender: Yeah! I’ve pupated!