Friday, March 10, 2006

Insane in the Membranes

My wife is near insane with hypochondria – for my children. If six year old Gabriel develops a cough, I usually think, “Hmm. Gabriel’s getting a cold.” If my wife hears the same rough hacking, she automatically escalates the diagnosis to pneumonia or pleurisy. This is important because:

Yesterday, Gabriel kneed his younger brother in the, ahem, testicles.

I apologize for the bluntness. I know the official Southern Family rulebook demands that my family come up with cute euphemisms for body parts i.e. “kiki”, “tatas”, “cha chas” or my personal favorite, “tallywhacker.” I, however, enjoy the horrified look that neighbors get when one of my kids busts out the word “vagina”, so we stick with the classics.

So, anyway…yesterday, accidentally or not, Gabriel hit three year old Julian way, way uncomfortably low in the stomach. Julian told his mother, “Mom, my testicles hurt.”

I’m sure it did. Heck, my testicles hurt just typing the sentence. But it’s one of those things that every boy learns the hard way. Bridget, though, was worried. First, she called me. When she couldn’t reach me, she did what any rational mother would do – she called her stepfather in Florida….to ask about my son’s testicles.

Now, whenever I’m bored, I like to imagine that awkward conversation.

This morning, though, my smugness was tested when Bridget rushed Julian over to me. She was frantic.

“Julian says there’s something wrong with his penis.”

“What’s wrong with it?” I asked. Panic rose in me. What if Julian’s testicles had really been hurt yesterday? What if, God help me, something was broken and I had just smugly blown it off?

“I don’t know what’s wrong with it. I can’t understand him,” she said.

“What’s wrong, Julian?” I asked.

He said something about his penis, but I couldn’t hear it clearly. I leaned in closer.

“Dad, my penis…”

“Yes, Julian?”

And then he said, I swear to God…

“Dad, my penis is big….”

Instantly, Bridget’s face went from anxiety to irritation and she stood up. I looked Julian in the eye with as much commiseration as I could muster.

“So is Dad’s, Julian. So is Dad’s.”


rod said...

When my oldest was but a wee one, he was in the tub and while his back was being washed he was exploring himself. He told his mom, "mom, look, there are balls in here!" Mom said, those are really called, "testicles". Your weiner is really called a penis.
He looke up at her wide eyed and said, "what is this leg really called?"

Grim Richard said...


I would totally subscribe to Reader's Digest if they put stories like yours in the column "Life in These United States."

Heh. You should submit it.