After our first two kids were girls, my wife and I agreed that when it came to anything related to their anatomy “ask your Mom” would be a totally acceptable answer on my part. I would take the kids when they throw up, she would take them when they had questions about their lady parts. A perfectly fair division of responsibilities. Along those same lines, we decided that if we were giving the kids showers, she would be the one to take a shower with them. They’re all working with the same equipment, it would be easier from a practical standpoint and an avoidance of awkward questions standpoint. So as far as I know, it wasn’t until they help changed their baby brother’s diaper that they saw anything different than what they’ve got.
I was curious to see how they’d react. I assumed at minimum it would be “What’s that?” and probably a good amount of giggling. Worst case scenario, some poking. However, much to my pleasant surprise, they had pretty much no reaction at all. I don’t think they asked any questions the first several times they watched us change his diaper. Eventually they asked what that was, we told them, they moved on, and it’s never come up again. It felt too easy. Should they have more questions? Is it weird that they didn’t? I wasn’t about to bring it up. They asked a question, they learned a thing, and they can file it away in their brains never to be thought of again until biology class. Right?
Yesterday my four-year-old was sitting at the kitchen table drawing a picture. She told me she was drawing me. She held it up to show me. It has all the basic elements – a head, eyes, arms, legs. It lacked a torso, but who am I to critique her creative vision. And while I had no chest, she did accessorize me. I was wearing what looked like a Colonel Sanders style tie. My initial thought was “how the hell does she know who Colonel Sanders is?”
“Do you know what that is?” she asked as she pointed to my tie.
“What?” I asked.
She didn’t say anything, but as a sly grin came across her face she pointed down to betwixt her legs. She had drawn my dangle.
At once my mind was filled with so many thoughts, and yet remained completely blank. I knew I couldn’t over react, but I also didn’t want her to think that including my misters would be the new normal in my portraits.
“No thank you,” I calmly replied. Perfect response. Polite and to the point. How everybody should respond when faced with uninvited genitalia.
She didn’t respond, and I didn’t present any follow up questions. Though I do have questions. Aside from “what the hell?”, I would like to know where that came from? Did she absorb the fact that guys have different parts seven months ago and it has taken her this long to put the pieces together that I’m a boy too? Is this what kids talk about around the preschool playground – “Tag you’re it! By the way, have you seen your Dad’s peeper?” Was it that little son of bitch Isaac?
Perhaps I should ask these questions, but I feel that really starts to blur the established lines of “ask your Mom”. If someday my son draws boobs on a drawing of his Mom, I’ll field that one. But I guess the parts of the human body are now extending beyond head, shoulders, knees, and toes, and I don’t like it. Knees and toes. Maybe I should buy her a Ken doll.