Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bits n' Bobs~ Parenting 8 year olds; a fine needle aspirate.

A biopsy (FNA, not core) of  some recent parenting moments.

I have three children, ages 8, 8, and 2. My 8 year olds (girl/boy twins) are about to start 3rd grade next month which makes me feel really old--how did this happen already?! I feel like I was just waddling around HUGELY pregnant, then swaddling them, nursing them, rinsing off binkies dropped on the floor for the millionth time, changing their diapers, having delirium from the sleep deprivation, and all of that goodness and badness. And now we're talking about Big Issues In The World like homelessness, what is a mortgage, why Donald Trump is "not a nice man" (ok, so we're not subtle in our liberal tendencies. We're a West coast gay multiracial family, duh!), why it's better to compost food waste than throw it away, and on..and on. And last week my daughter saw a license plate frame that said "Army Mom" and asked me "Mom, are there any wars going on in the world right now?". What a heartbreaking and innocent question. Cue a conversation about war and conflict in the world, presented at an 8 year old level.

When did parenting suddenly get so complicated for our home? Does anyone just want to read a board book? Sing a song? Wrestle? Be totally oblivious sometimes?! And with two elementary school students, we're now entering into questions about the human body. And these questions usually come up either at dinner or at bedtime (of course).

The other night as I was putting my son to bed I reminded him that he realllllly needed a bath the next day (man, boys can be so DIRTY! Summer boy feet, oh wow); I also asked him if he was still retracting his foreskin while in the tub, to make sure he was cleaning himself properly-such a mom question. It truly astounds me that an 8yo child can get out of the bathtub after having "bathed" as dirty as when s/he went IN. He asked me "Why do I have to pull it back?" and I explained that for boys with foreskins, it's important to retract/clean because blah blah blah. He then says, incredulously "You mean SOME BOYS DON'T HAVE FORESKINS?!". Oh. I guess we never really talked about that specifically--never had a need. So there we were at 9:00 at night discussing circumcision, why we didn't circumcise him, whether most boys are circumcised (around here I think it's 50/50 for new births), penis growth (he said he thought his was "fully grown" by now....um...no, honey...it's not. So we did a bit of teaching there) and so on. It was hysterically funny, all in all.

And at the end of the conversation, my little man, being the budding biologist that he is (his obsession is mostly birds, so ornithology is actually his first love) also reminded me that foreskins are also important because they protect his penis from bad weather, bacteria, and insect bites. Oh right, but of course...

Until the next bedtime,



  1. My 11 year old smelly and wonderful boy recently revealed his life passion. "Mom I want to be a plant biologist." Me: Because of photosynthesis? All the things plants do for medicine? Him: No, because of all the different varieties of plants. I love what you do but eww, I couldn't do that for a living. There are so many different species of plants, as I learned in Costa Rica. I want to study them for my life's work. Not for medicine, for the plants. Cue serious music.

  2. So nice that you are having conversations like that. Many parents are still shy to open topics like that. Keep up, Mom! You are on the right track.

  3. Go super Mom....you are skilled in talking about LOTS of stuff with you kids!

  4. Great article — thank you. But do please note that the foreskin of infant and child males in adhered to the glans of the penis at birth, and does not start to naturally separate until the child is older.

    The Canadian Urological Association explains, “The uncircumcised penis requires no special care… It is important not to retract the foreskin forcefully for any reason. Some parents feel the need to pull the foreskin back to ‘clean under it.’ Since the young boy’s inner foreskin and the glans are initially fused, there is no space to clean.”


    Thanks! Keep up the good work.

    1. Excellent point re infants, yes--definitely not something to force. I'd think that elementary and older aged boys (as mentioned above) might want to have a clean under the hood every now and then though!

    2. While many boys are not fully retractible until the end of adolescence some boys can easily and gently retract their foreskins much earlier - our son could and still does. He's turning 5 and that's his job at bathtime in case of irritation; he tells us when he can and he tells us when he doesn't want to (that usually means we help with putting a bit of steroid ointment on it). He asks for help sometimes with wiping off schmegma. Some boys have quite a lot of schmegma so while I understand your point of not wanting to force pully the foreskin back, some boys such as our son prefer to clean the built up schmegma off regularly. If his schmegma builds up, like when on vacation with his grandparents, it results in a whole lot of schmegma and he has told us he doesn't like that. So, I think we should allow these boys to lead us in what works for their penises and what doesn't, with some gentle urging from us, just like ZebraARNP mentioned.

  5. Oh goodness!!! I love this article! We didn't circumcise Zo either and yup gotta clean the nether-regions daily. We have the book "It's Not the Stork" - had to get it after we got lots of foreskin, schmegma, and testicle questions.


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