We’re running late for the billionty things we need to do this morning, and all I want is for the four-year-old to Get. Dressed. Now.
This, inevitably, results in much running away, giggling, and hiding under the table. A phenomena which rarely occurs when we are not running so tight on time.
Anyhoo, I grab him and pull his pyjama pants off.
This mere action sets of a process of giggling and yelling “Look at mine penis!” and more running away, the word “penis” wafting about in his wake.
I am, yet again, finding myself saying “no one cares about your penis, mate”.
The alternative saying is “seen it before, it’s not impressing me.”
It’s not new, not for him or for me. My experience with boys, and 100% of the ones in my care, is that penises are hilarious and everyone wants to see them. From the moment they can reach it (around 6 months of age) they are reluctant to let it go.
Of course, between my three, other little boys I’ve had the pleasure (??) of caring for or merely being in the presence of, and anecdotally (mostly from my friends who have experience a girl child before a boy child) this is quite common behaviour.
They fiddle with them, they love running around nudey and thinking everyone is impressed by their willies and have no concept of size or penis envy and do not care. When they’re erect (the penises, not the boys) it is, at times, apparently, even more funny/interesting/worth pointing out to anyone who happens to be nearby.
Even if that “nearby” happens to be a packed Gloria Jeans at Christmas time. Just sayin’.
As a friend recently said to me “NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE TALK ABOUT FOUR YEAR OLD’S STIFFIES, AMANDA!”
She’s right, in a ‘perfectly normal’, non-sexual or perverted way, it has become a taboo topic that has led to numerous myths and
phalluses phallacies about the very normal behaviour of toddler and pre-school aged boys.
So … back to this morning, as I’m trying to pull a pair of knickers over a little bum (also a topic of much unwanted discussion) and a hand that is firmly gripping a doodle, I’m reminded of a thread I saw on another parenting support site.
It commenced with a post from a highly distressed mother of a pre-school aged daughter, whom had had a fellow kindergartener flash her his doodle.
From there, the discussion got scary … it escalated to the point that accusations were being made about this boy’s parents, from exposure to sexual acts through to out-and-out claims that this boy was being sexually abused by his father!
Concerningly, no one, at any point, suggested a four year old flashing his penis was in any way “normal” behaviour. No one even alluded to it.
No one stood up and said their kid did anything similar, I guess for fear that they, too, may be accused of such horrible and horrific behaviours.
I will admit that, just for a moment, I had a heart stopping moment at bath time with my pre-schooler, and, at a later day, at the local pool where a friend’s pre-schooler went all silly with his willy and the ensuing talk between our youngest as we set off for our cars.
Whilst I don’t feel that anyone, of any age flashing their penis is acceptable in public, and that the actual doodle-exposure needs to be dealt with in an appropriate manner, I was sick to the stomach and horrified about what this family of this small child was likely to now experience.
What trauma they may face because someone who just didn’t know about little boys (at best) or whom had worked herself into a state of such fear (at worst) had asked “what do I do”.
The fear that we have had thrust upon us spiralled into an even worse scenario that was almost a competition to see who could come up with an even more appalling situation that this little boy was living in. So … crazed that it would have been funny, had it not been for the fact that a kinder teacher was likely to be bailed up by a now near-irrational-with-fear mother of a daughter, bringing allegations against another family who would suffer terribly as a result of the behaviour of a very normal pre-school aged boy.
Yes, absolutely, there is a line, and children are abused in their homes by those who are supposed to love and care for them. Yes, most assuredly we do need to be aware of this and take steps to intervene when necessary.
Yes, we would feel “terrible” if we let it go and something did happen.
Yes, I understand you would be totally freaked out if that were your daughter and you had no idea that this kind of behaviour existed! Totally freaked out!
Yes, I completely understand the frantic “what do I do?”
For the most part, however, it is not something to fear, to jump to horrendous conclusions about or put another family- another of your children’s peers – through such trauma and questioning and getting authorities involved over the teensy penis of a small boy.
That we have such a fear that normal behaviour has become a taboo topic is concerning. On the one hand, those of us with little boys feel we are doing something wrong, that, perhaps, they are experiencing something we “should” know about or that there is something wrong with them and we need to have the assessed and diagnosed. We feel guilty and inadequate and worried.
On the other hand are those that feel this behaviour is beyond anything that it is, and call for extreme measure in order to deal with it; causing unnecessary stress for everyone.
I, for one, am here to say that little boys flash their penises, they play with them and they are of the deluded belief that everyone else is just as interested in their penises as they are.
I’m here to say that little boys get stiffies.
And they’ll happily show you whether you want it or not.
I’m here to say it is very, very normal, and I’d be more concerned about little boys not being remotely fascinated with their doodles at some point.
Do we need to be too worried when they flash their willy at kinder, or other public areas; yeah maybe – but not necessarily to the point that we call DHS, DOCS or equivalent.
If a child is being abused, there will be signs … be aware and do something, don’t let it just go.
Mostly, be aware that there are normal behaviours that society are just to scared to talk about … I have no idea why, because, often it’s funny.
Just not when you’re trying to get out the door on time.