Let's just call it what it is. It's a penis. Boys each have one. A girl has a vagina, or as Christopher calls it, a "vaginis." You know, almost rhymes with "penis."
We use the almost correct terms in this house.
What we haven't done enough of yet, which has become glaringly obvious this weekend, is teach which parts of our bodies are private.
The lessons I'm learning the hard way just keep piling up.
Friday night, I was on my own for bed and bath with the boys because Kevin and Mallory were at a football game. I put Christopher and Colin in the bathtub together, like always. After I turned off the water, I left them for a minute to go get their dirty clothes basket so I could gather a few days worth of their clothes.
When I walked back in, there was a brother's penis headed into the other brother's mouth.
Are you aware that this is NOT covered in any parenting books I've read so far? And are you aware that if you try Google for help on the subject, you come up with some pretty disturbing results, making you wish you had been FAR MORE SELECTIVE on what you Googled for advice?
Yeah. I wasn't either until Friday night.
So the conversation of private body parts began in full force that night. Putting other people's body parts in your mouth became something that is off limits. Just don't do it. Fingers, penises, toes, penises, elbows, penises, ears, penises, any of it. Just keep it out of your mouth. Also, penises are something that come out in the bathroom only. All other times, they are to be covered and kept to yourself.
I was secure in the way I handled it. The situation had freaked me out - don't get me wrong - but I felt as though a balance between "this is something you need to listen to and remember" and "I don't want to put too much emphasis on this behavior" was met.
And of course, as soon as I gain any sort of confidence in my parenting, I take my children out in public so that they might knock my off my pedestal in a most splendiforous way.
The day after the incident I don't care to speak of again, I took the boys up to the neighborhood fire station with our friends from down the street. The weather was perfect. We walked with our double strollers filled with our four perfect children through our almost perfect neighborhood up to meet the fireman and see the truck. It was as storybook as it sounds.
Perfectly storybook until Christopher says to one of the fireman, "I have a penis."
I was standing a few feet from him, and I thought I heard him say, "I have a penis." However, I was far enough away and was able to conjure enough immediate denial that I thought, "He didn't just say that."
That denial didn't last long. Almost before I could finish the thought, and certainly before I could imagine what he might have said instead of, "I have a penis," he dropped his pants. And his underwear. Right there in the firehouse.
As a friend said later, I guess he was just whipping out his own hose.
Seriously though, NOT FUNNY. I'm pretty sure the look of horror on my face will forever be burned into the memory of my three year old. Or at least until the next time he drops his pants in public. Which might be tomorrow. You just never know.
Later, I decided to casually inquire as to why he thought it was a good idea to show the fireman his penis. The conversation went like this:
Me: Hey Christopher, why did you try and show the fireman your penis?
Christopher: Because he will like it.
Me: Why do you think that he would like it?
Christopher: Because it is beautiful.
There's not a lot of arguing with that. The kid has good self image. I'm going to start complementing him a lot more on his hair and his smile though. Hopefully it will catch on, and he won't feel the need to show off what he obviously feels like is his best feature.
Boys. Nothing can quite prepare a mama for boys. I'm sure of that.