I have a friend. Let’s call him Ren. His son, we’ll call him Hogie, is nine and a really sweet kid. Two nights ago, I was talking to Ren about the weird things that little boys do, and equally weird things parents do in response. I explained how earlier in the night, as I was running a bath for the Kaiser, I turned and found a pair of balls in my face. Not soccer balls. Not tennis balls. Toddler balls. Nuts. Gonads. Bollocks. Yep, in my face.
The Kaiser had sneaked behind me as I knelt to adjust the water temperature. When I turned to stand, there he was. And there they were, held between toddler fingers. “Mama. Mama, what dis part?” He asks and pokes his scrotum.
“Uhhh. Well, that’s a…..” I pause. OK, do this one right, Sara. “Well, those are your testicles.” I stammer. “Let’s hop in the bath,” I offer cheerily and silently congratuate myself for a job well done.
“What dey do, Mommy?” The Kaiser releases his ball grip and bends over, trying to get a better look. He peers intensely between his legs.
I search for the right words. “Eh. Well, they’re just another part of your body, like your elbow or your toe.” I offer and smile.
“OK.” He lets me pick him up, and the conversation is blissfully over.
So I tell this story to Ren. He takes a drag of his cigarette.“Why didn’t you just tell him they were his balls?” He exhales.
“I don’t know. I couldn’t say it. I thought about it, but I just couldn’t. I’m mean, they ARE testicles.” I explain.
Ren then tells me a most horrifyingly awesome story of childhood grossness, which I’ve paraphrased for you below. Enjoy, and realize your children are just as weird as anyone else’s …
So I take Hogie to a movie a few years back. He musta been 4 or 5. It was summer, and we’re sitting there in our shorts, eatin’ popcorn and sipping a shared Coke. About halfway through the movie, Hogie leans over to me. “Daddy. Smell this,” Hogie says and holds his finger toward my face.
Now, I know when someone tells you to smell something, that something is generally not good. But it was my kid. How bad could it possibly be? So I smell his finger. And then I half yelled, half whispered, “What are you DOIN?!?”
Why? Because his finger smelled like ass. The kid had sat there, through 45 minutes of the movie, apparently with a finger up his butt. Or a finger very near his butt.
[At this point, I’m doubled over in my chair, hysterical, the Diet Coke dribbling down my chin.]
Yeah, so I’m like, “Hogie! Don’t DO dat, man. Oh. Oh. God, Hogieeeee.” And Hogie was clearly chastised, and embarrassed, you know? He didn’t know he was doing anything wrong. He found an orifice, did a little exploring, was baffled by the smell. And I yelled at him. So on the drive home, I explained that that was alright, you know, putting your fingers where you, uh, want to put them, but that the movie theater probably wasn’t a great venue for that kinda self discovery.