I’m sorry, Love, but Mommy just doesn’t have a penis.
— Me, to Munchkin, at least once a week
My son, like most boys his age, has a penis.
I, like most women my age, do not.
Munchkin has let me know, in no uncertain terms, that he really doesn’t give two damns about my lack of penis. Because I am Mommy. Knower of all things (except why God made tornadoes), healer of all booboos, answerer of all questions. Even questions about male genitalia. So every time a penis-related question arises, I am tapped to tackle the unknown.
Now you might be thinking: “Munchkin has a dad. Why isn’t dad answering these questions?”
Great question! Dad is, after all, the one with the penis. But Dad can’t answer questions that Munchkin doesn’t ask him.
I have a few theories about why Munchkin doesn’t ask his dad. To start, he perceives his father as less open than I am. He fears the feedback he will get if he brings up something personal and potentially uncomfortable with his father. And while I’m certain dad doesn’t mean for Munchkin to feel that way, I also wouldn’t be surprised if some non-verbal cues of discomfort really were being broadcast and Munchkin is tuned to pick up the signal.
There’s also this thing that I’ve been telling Munchkin since before he could talk: ask me anything, tell me anything. There is nothing you can say that would make me stop loving you. I tell him that because there were so many things that I couldn’t tell my mother. So many questions that I never asked resulting in wrong answers from the wrong people. My own mom shied away from the uncomfortable conversations (you know, the ones that really matter), and I’ve promised myself I would never do that.
Some promises were meant to be broken.
The good news is, Munchkin has taken me at my word and I know an awful lot about what is going on in that amazing little head of his. The bad news is… well, the subject of this post.
So back to penises (never expected to write that on my blog) – It turns out that they are fascinating objects. Full of sensations, often in the way, and fun to play with. They pop up at all the wrong times and make riding a bike a wee bit complicated. The hormones and other appendages that come along with them are no less fascinating. I hear that this testosterone chemical is going to nearly ruin my child’s life once the faucet is turned on. Fun.
Like my wife said, it’s a wonder that little boys ever become productive adults.
So what’s a mom to do? Well, I wing it. I listen. I Google. I send inappropriate text messages to my really awesome guy friends. I talk to other moms. Sometimes I cry. But much more often, I smile. Because I feel so honored to be the person my son comes to about these things. As awkward and distressing as it can sometimes be, I know that he is telling me because he trusts me. I am his go-to person. I can’t even begin to tell you how neat a feeling that is. After all of the times I’ve forgotten a snack, or not packed a book or forced him to shower against his will, he still looks to me for answers to his most important questions.
Penis or no penis, I’d say I’m doing something right.