I was toweling off my then five-year old son after his shower and thought I saw an odd, discolored patch on his penis. Apparently, he noticed my eyes’ focus fall from his face to the part of his anatomy that will, likely, come to rule him.
“Mom, I’ve had that for a long time. Since I was like two,” my son said knowingly as he touched his genitals.
“Oh. Okay,” I thought negatively of my obstetrician/gynecologist for a moment – could this imperfection be due to his circumcision? – and then realized that I was being neurotic, even for me. I’ve seen a couple of penises in my life and all of them have their unique features. I don’t think a bit of skin that is lighter in one area of his shaft will affect his life in any way.
Just as I reached for the moisturizer, the kid postulated some more about his pecker.
“I didn’t have a penis when I was little,” my wee one said about his wee one. Wait, did he mean the skin color differential or did he think that I had just noticed his junk? Regardless, it was time for dick talk. My, they start early, and focus often on their penises, don’t they?
“Yes you did. You were born with one.”
There was a pause, which I decided to fill.
“Your penis will grow as you grow,” I said in that reassuring mom voice all of us have.
“Oh, so like, when I was two it was ‘this’ big,” he said holding it ‘back’ in a way that made his tiny weenie look even tinier. Bet that’s the last time he’ll ever try to make it look smaller.
“Something like that, yes,” I said with only a little chuckle.
Moisturizing continued – he has very dry skin. My son’s internal wheels turned faster.
“Mom, what would happen if I got rid of all the pee I have at once?”
“You’d still have a penis.”
“You can use it for other things”
“It’s a long story. I’ll tell you later.”
I did not look forward to filling in this pause. I’m all for telling my children about the birds and the bees but don’t want to have the only kindergartener who knows about this when school starts next month. Children naturally share what they know – especially if it’s about their private parts and I would rather not invite the ire of other parents.
Darn short term memory.
“To make a baby,” I said, thinking of other parents talking about me behind my back.
“How does a penis help you make a baby, Mom?” my son said laughing as if it was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard. I do hope he remembers this when he’s older and sexually active… like when he’s in his 30s.
“Well,” I swear to God I kept a straight face, “you need sperm and an egg to make a baby and the penis can deliver the sperm.” I said ‘can’ because my son was conceived via IVF and discussions of sperm delivery systems will surely arise at some point.
Hearing no follow up, I dropped the subject and finished moisturizing him. He clearly was not ready to hear more about reproduction and sex and by only answering what he asked I hope I haven’t added additional any neuroses to his repertoire. He put on his pajamas unfazed and trotted off to bed for a story, The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman, a favorite, about birds and no bees.