The thing that worries me the most about having a boy is not the early-morning hockey practices one day in the future, or even visits to the hospital for broken bones. If I can be so blunt, what scares me the most is his penis. Make that his teeny weeny penis.
I once caught a glimpse of my nephew’s penis shortly after he was born, and I was shocked, to say the least. It was the weirdest looking thing I had ever seen. All balls and, well, a a teeny weeny penis. At least I think it was; I didn’t really stay long enough to find out. I ran out of the room that my brother was changing him in, screaming, “Oh my god! Oh my god! What was that?” Needless to say, I never helped him change my nephew’s diaper again.
That was seven years ago and my first and last glimpse of a baby boy’s penis. I think, make that I know, I’m still traumatized. I’m actually saying to friends and other mothers with boys that I’m terrified of my baby boy’s penis. ‘They just look so weird,” I said to one of my friends over coffee last week. She has a boy and she laughed and said, “I know, I know.”
Maybe it will be different when it’s my baby boy and I’ll not think of his penis being so weird, like something you make out of Play-Doh. Because if I continue to think the way I do about baby penises, my fiancé is going to be doing a heck of a lot of diaper changing.
But that’s not all. Whenever I mention I’m having a boy, everyone can’t help but telling me stories of being peed on. As a gift, I received a package of Pee-Pee Teepees, these little cloth things, shaped in a triangle, that you are supposed to put over the boy’s penis while changing him, so in case he does pee, he doesn’t end up peeing on you or in your face (which seems to happen a lot according to everyone I know who has had a boy). I looked at the Pee-Pee Teepees and thought, “Seriously? I need these?” I put some on a high-up shelf and gave the rest to my daughter to use as party hats for her stuffed animals.
People, it seems, love to share stories of being peed on by their babies, just like people love to share their own labor stories. Just like bad labor stories, I’m like, “Please, stop! I don’t want to hear any more!” I don’t think it’s funny, and I know I won’t find it funny to be peed on at 3 a.m., especially in my face or hair. My gag reflexes are already on ‘ON’ just thinking about it.
And the advice seems really complicated, too. “When you take off the diaper, you have to hold a hand or washcloth over their penis, but make sure their penis in the up position. And you have to change them really fast,” one friend, who has three boys, told me. Not only am I afraid to look at baby penises but also changing him seems like a lot of pressure. And I crack under pressure.
I think I’m so afraid of taking care of a penis possibly because I don’t have a penis. And sometimes I don’t even know what to do with an adult one (just ask my fiancé – hardy-har). But, let’s be honest, even adult penises are weird to look at. Try looking at one for a while and you’ll end up thinking like I do, which is, “How the hell do you walk around with one of those things all the time?”
But then I’ve spoken to women who have had only boys, and it turns out they have no clue what to do with a vagina when they finally have a girl. I tell them, “But you have a vagina! You know how to keep your own clean, so why can’t you figure out your own baby daughter’s?” That, too me, is strange. And the funny thing is, I don’t really hear men complain of not knowing what to do with either gender when it comes to changing their diaper. So maybe that is one thing they are definitely better at or not as concerned about.
I, on the other hand, am very concerned. Not a day goes by these days without me mentioning to someone how terrified I am to take care of a penis. I’ll never say, “It’s been nine years since I’ve had a baby. I don’t remember anything. I’m scared.” Instead, I’m always saying, “I’m having a boy. I’m terrified of his penis.”
And then, if they have a boy, they’ll give me some crazy-ass advice about always keeping their penis warm, while also putting on their diaper. Even the worst diaper changes with my daughter I could handle. She never peed in my face, that’s for sure. I remember my sister-in-law joking, after I saw her son’s penis for the first (and last) time, how he had a big penis. I was like, “Are you kidding me? I’m not sure what the hell that was that I saw, but I’m highly disturbed.”
And now, in just two weeks, I’ll hopefully have a healthy baby boy. With a penis. Which means I’m going to have to get over my fear of baby penises. Like I said, maybe because it’s my baby boy, I won’t think his penis is so weird looking and I’ll just know what to do. Anything is possible.
(Photo: Kati Neudert/Shutterstock)