Saturday, June 14, 2008

Your opinion, please

Yesterday's post was a ruse. Some people DO like sex more than other people and care about it more, too. I just don't see having a high sex drive a unusual or unique or important aspect of a person's being. Even if you do it every! single! day! How much of your time does that take, exactly? Yeah. Not much.

I am a less sexual person than most. Unless there is a marriage and a baby in it for me, I could happily go the rest of my life without ever seeing a naked man. How unfun am I?

Anyway, since I am being gross this weekend, I thought I would solicit your opinion about something that I am a bit __________ about. I might be __________ about it because of my above-revealed unusualness, but never mind.

Behold the conversation I had with my three-year old nephew Liam on Wednesday as I was strapping him into his car seat.

Nina: Please hold still. I can't find the leg strap thing.

Liam: It is under my butt. (Here he arches and extracts it for me).

Nina: Hold still, please. I can't get these untwisted.

Liam: OK. (Here he holds perfectly still and observes me not succeeding and fastening the straps).

Nina: This one here... it's just... (Here Liam helpfully secures the button in the proper position and "click" - he is in).

Liam: Yay!

Nina: Whew! That belly strap was a struggle, huh?

Liam: Actually that strap is close to my penis. (Here he points helpfully to the securing mechanism, which is, in fact, pretty close to the region he specified).

Nina: Yes, I see. Ok, hands and feet in. I am going to close the door.

So then I shut the door and reflected: had my brother and his wife done this right when they decided to refer to all body parts by their clinical names and to attach no special importance at all parts that will be necessary for future reproduction? Their intentions were good: they didn't want their kid to have body/shame issues and they didn't want his manparts to be any more important in his emotional register than any other parts.

But the kid, at three, will mention is stuff (albeit, if there is a reason) any old time without thinking twice.

I am leaning toward saying: eh, this is fine. He is totally innocent. He exhibits no weirdness except for having a big vocabulary and a lack of... here is where I get unclear - awareness that most people don't mention their stuff to other people, even if there is a reason. Or do they? Damn. I don't even know.

Also, he is three. He gets a break for not understanding social nuances until he is at least ten. Or maybe much older. Hell, I still don't get most of those nuances myself.

Your opinion please. Will Liam turn out to be

a) inappropriate and sexually awkward

b) fine

c) something else

Gracias. Oh and to all of you showing up wanting an update on my dad: he still feels fine. He is still (maybe, probably, who knows) very sick. Tomorrow, being father's day and all, I will post about him and his status at greater length.


P said...

Normal. Or, at least, gender appropriate. My experience is that boys like to talk about their junk any old time.

Woodrow said...

B) Fine

My boy was the same way, and still is sometimes around me. But he is getting more modest as he gets older and lately has even taken to shutting the door while he changes clothes.

Sizzle said...

Normal. My nephew does that too and they are just learning about their bodies, etc. One time my nephew (who loves to play hide and seek under the bed covers) was discovered playing that with his penis and having a good ol' laugh about it. At almost 2 that's funny. At 40, well, now that'd be weird.


utenzi said...

No way to tell at this age, Nina. I'm quite sure using the word "penis" at an early age won't enter into the eventual normal/not-normal equation. You, on the other hand.... LOL

Annie said...

Fine, normal. You have enough on your mind to start worring about this :-).

Em said...

hahaha... Nina you crack me up. I really, truly, am so happy I found your blog. Have I ever told you that?

Anyways, like Liam, my kids refer to their parts by their correct names. I have always used the correct names when discussion of those parts became necessary. As my son grows older (6.5 currently), he seems to understand without much explanation that sometimes it's okay to talk freely about the parts and sometimes it is better to be discreet.

My personal policy is open, honest, accurate and age-appropriate... for any and all questions related to body-parts or sex. I think your brother and his wife are right on track!

Em said...

p.s. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's post. And thank you for reminding me it's father's day.

LizB said...

To me, it's much more appropriate and matter-of-fact to use the real words than to say something that sounds silly and somewhat -- secretive? -- for lack of a better word. Adults sound ridiculous to me when they STILL refer to their genitals as "pee-pee, weiner, coochie, tootie," or other equally childish words. But, like Utenzi said, his use of the word penis probably won't make a difference in his normalcy either way.

Effortlessly Average said...

D) Wildly sexual where a knot hole in a 2x4 will look appealing.

Or wait, that just makes him male. Whatever.

Catherine said...

All's well, I'm sure. The sensitivities surrounding the word will creep in and he'll be more hesitant and careful with his usage of it pretty soon, I'm sure. It's just as well he has the word (and not some ridiculous euphemism - amen, lizb) and that it's more or less neutral for him atm. He may already perceive a hint of those sensitivities and figured you're cool cause you're family. But who knows. No matter, I'm utterly sure all's well.

Joel said...

My boys always refer to their parts by the correct names, even though Dad doesn't. They say "penis," even though I more often remind 4-year-old Visigoth to wash his "John Thomas" or to stop grabbing his "old fellow."

Honestly, kids that age are hard to warp. They're awfully resilient. Anything short of actual abuse will usually wash right over them.

ellie said...

Normal, I think. But reminded me of a funny story -- I was in college, babysitting for good friends and giving the three-old-boy a bath. The parents were showered but still in the midst of getting dressed. The father was in a towel, running around looking for something, and just as he came into the bathroom to get something, Brett decided to tell me that daddy had a penis and I didn't. I've never been so aware of someone's penis, its almost naked proximity to me, and my need to hide under a rock.

Mrs. Who said...

Your nephew will be fine. He'll learn all the other words from the neighbor kids.

He will also be less vulnerable to predators if he has knowledge and acceptance of his body.

Arjan said...

he'll turn out fine. We all had that phase.
But it does bring a strange smile on your face. haha.