Saturday, August 25, 2007


WARNING: I say penis in the following post. And Frued. Also foreskin and retract. Just so you know.

Here's the thing about parenting: You can toss and turn and weigh advantages and disadvantages about every decision, but you can never know for sure how things are going to work out. I guess that is true about life in general, but it just seems more pronounced with your kids. We feel like we have to make The Right Decision about everything, and we fool ourselves into thinking that there is one right decision to make. At least I do.

And now I'm going to write about one series of decisions that I thought was right, but perhaps wasn't right. And I'm going to have to delete this all when Luke turns about ten. Or eight. Or whatever age a kid these days could accidentally stumble upon a blog that his mama wrote.

We are enlightened, well educated people, my husband and I. We did not--absolutely not!--have our boys circumcised. What medical evidence is there to support such a decision? Of course this was The Right Decision.

But now Luke has had a few problems--we'll just leave it at that--and the big C word is being thrown around. And let me tell you, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES go and research circumcision on the internet unless you want to be persuaded that it is a very, very bad idea. At least don't go looking for pictures.

Which is what I did a few nights ago, because, enlightened mom that I am, I made another great decision. I told Luke--in anticipation of him hearing the doctors discuss "retraction" in regards to his health--that some day, the little opening where the pee comes out will get bigger and his inside penis will be able to come out of the outer skin and then go back in. Luke turned all pale and stammering on me, and started laughing and then crying.

"But what will it look like? I don't know what it will look like! Is it like my insides coming out? Does it happen to girls? I don't want it to come out! What will it look like?"

We tried to clarify, but it just wasn't working. So I asked him if he wanted to see pictures. And after much looking and stumbling upon pictures that I did not want to see, including pictures of older males being circumcised, I found a black and white drawing illustrating what I thought Luke needed to know. I called Luke to the computer.

Luke took one look at the pictures and went, shrieking, out of the room. Later, he fell asleep mumbling, "But what will it look like?"

The next morning I said, "Good morning Luke."

His reply? "I don't know what it will look like!"

Have we made the right decisions? I have no idea. I'm worried that I've mucked it all up, and that the messing about by doctors, the rubbing with ointments, the scary images in his head and the not-helpful pictures on the computer are giving him some sort of complex. I don't know. I'm fumbling around here, trying to make the right decisions, and I know in the grand scheme of things this is not a Huge Deal.

It is just that everything feels so monumental sometimes. And yes, Freud could have a heyday with all this.


Molly Sabourin said...

Hey Ser,

The mystical world of boys and circumcision has also led me to some late night frantic internet searches. Due to the fact that I do have a son who can google his own name and find every word that I have written about him, I will merely let you know that a certain eight year old in my family has not yet ... well, you know, and my doctor assures me that nothing need be pulled at or touched until puberty (some guys are just alot slower at developing in this area than others). This is assuming, however, that there are no other health issues (pain, infection, etc.).

I love your blog. Your boys, your family, are just precious.

Lucy said...

This is hilarious, as usual. You make being a parent sound entertaining and not merely exhausting. I think when Luke is 30 he'll probably be able to read this without embarrassment...

Mara said...

So, Ser...
I noticed you did not include a picture with this blog??
That was so kind of you!
I miss you and this is great.

Beck said...

WE didn't circumsize OUR boy and oh, how we wish we did. Not that he's having problems, but we're constantly worried that he WILL, you know?

Jenny said...


I miss you so! I want to hear these stories in person. Also I want to put in a plug for Bethany's blog--I want you to see how she describes yours in her links.

Her blog is

Mama Mandala said...

How old is he? Some boys' foreskins are not fully retractable until puberty. The vast, vast majority of the time it is simply better to leave it alone. Over washing, washing with soap or overhandling is like to cause balantitis. Check out the forums at motheringdotcommune for more information.

Bethany Torode said...

Neither of our boys have it, and I don't regret it, even if we do end up with the occasional hygiene problem (which we haven't yet, to my knowledge, but I'm also not very attentive to these things). I'm very, very happy that they'll be able to choose for themselves once they're grown up (and at that point, if they have it done, they'll be uber-medicated during and for days after, so the pain won't be as torturous as it is for baby boys. !!!!!!)

Jenny said...

Eagerly awaiting next post from Ser.


Ser said...

Jenny, you just want me to move on from this earthy topic.

I need to get over my "pretty post" hang up and just post something now and then.

You just set such a high bar, Jenny. Your posts are always so pretty.