My son has discovered what makes him different from his sister. He knows what it is and he knows how to use it. He can’t stop talking about it, looking at it, walking around while holding it, showing it to me, and using it at inappropriate times. He asks about mine. It has become his version of a cell phone.
It began shortly after we got him out of diapers. One day he was was awkwardly hauling up his shorts in the bathroom when suddenly he exclaimed…
“Oopth – my PENITH, Dad!”
Monitoring His Manhood
I have no idea when he learned that word because I can tell you I rarely use it in my daily conversations. He wasn’t this enthusiastic about his hair or his ears or his toes or any other part of himself. Every time I help him get dressed now he needs to make me aware of it. It is unavoidable at bath time.
“There’th my PENITH, Dad!”
“Yup, I see it.”
I never look.
“Dad, I have a PENITH and YOU have a PENITH!” he explains during breakfast.
“Yes, we do would you like some more juice?”
“Mommy doethn’t have a PENITH. Do kittieeth have a PENITH, dad? DAD!“
Managing the Moment
This stage is the natural progression from weaning off of diapers. He stands in front of the toilet, points his PENITH, and does the job. Well, mostly. Right now he gets between 60%-80% in the toilet. If he accidentally lets go of the waistband of his shorts, however, I run for cover. And the other lesson I learned yesterday? Always stand behind him, especially if you’re wearing sandals.
The next challenge is getting him to do this task exclusively in the bathroom. For convenience we have taught our kids how to use the far corner of the backyard for emergencies. Kids get distracted with playtime and tend to ignore their bodies until they absolutely can’t. By then the trip around the house to the front door, down the hall, and into the bathroom is too much work.
Unfortunately, my son has assumed that permission to do it one time in the far corner of the backyard means he is free to use the rest of the Earth at any time. The little barbarian doesn’t distinguish appropriate from inappropriate sites, nor does he care who is watching. His list of targets is growing, too: the front step, the back yard, the flower pots, the pile of top soil in front of his uncle’s house, even our beloved raspberry bush.
The other day we were wandering through a farm, waiting for my daughter’s science class to start. We walked up to a large garden divided into many smaller plots. “What is dat?” my daughter asked.
“It’s a place where lots of people can grow things in their gardens together,” I replied. “It’s called a ‘pea patch’.”
My son’s eyes lit up.
Pointing Him in the Right Direction
As always, I need to look for the positives in this. It is his desire to show me he can solve a problem on his own that leads him to water the car tire. My son wants to do everything himself. Sometimes he wants to do things together with me, even this. Our first shared bathroom experience was a father-son bonding moment right up to when he slammed the lid closed before Dad was done.
I think we are progressing through this stage nicely despite the awkward exposures and the accidents. My only challenge now is making sure my son learns that this process only happens in the designated room and not on the garage floor. The sooner I get this across to him the drier I, the plants, and the rest of our property will be.