So it’s my turn.
My turn for the August Blogchain at AbsoluteWrite.com. Take a peek-a-boo over at Kristi’s The Mommy Writer and have some ice cream with her adorable kids, then walk off those extra calories by toddling over to Ralph Pines’ Neither Here nor There (which sounds like it might be difficult to find, but it’s not. I put a link nearby, close to your favorite chair.)
Kristi’s post made me laugh. Kids will always find a way to make wearing a bag over your head in public seem like a reasonable option. Her kids notice the resemblance a man at the ice cream shop has to Santa Claus, mine discuss in bright, clear voices certain noted differences in the male and female anatomy.
It’s all my fault. I thought I was being so progressive, my kids wouldn’t be the ones using baby-talk euphemisms to describe body parts. Listening to mothers and their children use the word “num-nums” to indicate women’s breasts or “wee-wee” or “pee-pee” or once “the little man” made me want to run screaming from the room. My children would know from the get-go proper anatomical nomenclature. I can’t tell you all the many ways that particular area of knowledge has come back to bite me in the buttocks. But I feel I should try, as a service and a warning to mothers of pre-verbal children.
Rule #1 Do not tell your son he has a penis.
First of all, he knows. He knows because he came into this world fitted out with the best pull toy EVER. Fisher-Price and Baby Einstein will never come close to inventing a toy this cool and so convenient. If you can convince the young prince to keep it in his pants, you’re doing a far better job of it than I ever could. The real challenge, however, comes when he wants to give a name to his friend and constant companion. Don’t be fooled that this is mere curiousity, it isn’t. He wants to know what it’s called because he wants to talk about it a lot. To everyone. Everywhere.
For Conor, the word “penis” had a profound and magical effect on his life. Not only did his friend finally have a worthy name but every time he said it in public, which was daily and abundant, his mother would a) turn color or b) start moving that shopping cart at warp speed or c) dive into the closest hedge. All of which amused my tow-headed progeny to no end.
While standing in the check out lane at Safeway, Conor came to know the awesome power of his best friend’s name. Pointing a pudgy toddler finger at the large man waiting in front of us, Conor says, “Mommy, is he my daddy?”
“No. He’s not your daddy.” I probably should have continued on to say that his daddy is the lovely, hard-working man who lives in our house, the one I’m legally married to just to soothe the looks of horror I received from the man in question and the old woman behind me.
“Does he have a penis too?”
In hindsight I see I should have faked a fainting spell right there. Maybe if I had fallen to the ground or spontaneously combusted or even jammed my fingers in my ears and started singing “The Star Spangled Banner” I wouldn’t have been sucked into this topic, imprisoned between upstanding members of the moral police in the check out lane of Safeway. Anyplace they could have taken me would have been better than where Conor was going with this.
“Maybe we should talk about this later.”
I tried but there is no later for toddlers, there is only now. Now. Now. Now. I knew that before I said it, I also knew that Conor had latched on to his new favorite word like a barnacle on the Titanic. Even after the boat’s laying on the ocean floor, the barnacle is still attached, loving every minute of it.
“Is his penis as cute as mine?”
Someone just kill me because I’m going down in flames.
I must have blacked out because I woke up in the parking lot, attacking a quart of Butter Brickle with a rubber-tipped baby spoon, humming “The Star Spangled Banner.”