I am all for raising my kids in a way which promotes a healthy understanding of sexuality. I don’t ever want to shame them because of the genitals they have, and I aim to be open about any questions they may ask about their body. I try to be understanding when it comes to self-exploration, and I recognize that it is a normal, healthy part of child development.
But in the name of all that is holy, my 3-year-old is always touching his penis.
Maybe I don’t get it because I don’t have a penis, but it is out, or his hands are in his pants, all the time, and it’s starting to drive me crazy. Like, dude, if it’s taking you forever to clean your room because you’re only using one hand since your other one is on your junk, maybe you should let go of it for a few seconds to get the job done faster.
In a nonjudgmental, non-hostile, age-appropriate way, I’ve tried to solve the mystery of why the penis is such a big deal to him. I want in on the secret so I know how to handle it. Here, from the mouth of my son, are some of the reasons why it’s penis time all the time:
1. “My hands are cold.”
Well, son, I say to him, your pants have pockets. Can you put your hands in your pockets? “No. My pockets are warm. My penis is hot. I need my hands on my penis.” Hard to fight with that logic, amiright? The kid’s hands are cold, and he needs to get them heated up right this second, and only the penis will do! Winkie to the rescue. Maybe I’ll buy him some hand warmers for his birthday.
2. “No one else will play with me.”
Oh good. Now it’s like a friend. He’s like, “Screw you, guys. If you won’t hang out with me in my room, then I’m just going to sit here and pull on my foreskin all by myself. It never leaves me.” Well, except when he worries it might…
3. “I don’t want to lose it.”
His cup, his dinner, his socks, his Mickey Mouse doll, all of these things can evidently go to hell without him batting an eye with no remorse whatsoever, but the extremity which is literally attached to his body is the one thing he’s concerned might get away from him. It doesn’t have legs, son. It ain’t going anywhere.
4. “I’m just tired, Mom.”
Some kids have a special blanket they cuddle up with when they’re sleepy. Some have a stuffed animal that calms them down when they’re frazzled. Not my kid. No, my kid’s comfort item is his penis, and given all the time he’s investing in it, he should be very comfortable for a very long time.
5. “Because Dad does it.”
Well, your dad has a lot of habits I don’t necessarily want you to start emulating. He’s a great guy, but he never manages to put the toilet seat down or put his clothes in the hamper, and I’m trying really hard to here to raise a better generation of men. I want better for you and your future life partners. Please remove thy hand from thy penis even if your dad walks around like that all the time.
I’ve no doubt that having a penis is fun. And I keep trying to steer him to only play with his privates in private, but somehow, every time I turn around, whether I’m in the kitchen or in the baking aisle, there he is. And his little him. For everyone to enjoy. Please forgive me and him and avert your eyes and pass the whiskey because I don’t know how I’m going to survive this penis-palooza.