I happily sit on the floor of my bathroom folding laundry. The radiant heat floor that took 4 months of my husband's “I-promise-it-will-only-take-two-months” 9-month bathroom remodel warms my bones on this very Wisconsinesque April morning.
The giggles of my two children that will soon turn into cackles fills the air. Their love for each other is evident as Xavier passes his coveted swimming turtle to Scarlett and she squeals, “Tank You!” in response while kissing him on the head. They “carefully” splash each other back and forth.
As I lovingly crease his and her pants into neat squares, I pick up evidence of Xavier's most recent triumph: UNDERWEAR.
Now, these are no ordinary unders. These are the undergarments that I begged and pleaded for as a child. Sadly, they had not been created yet. But, joyously for my son, he does not have to be deprived. Some genius of textile design finally created Super Grover underwear.
With great care, I pick them up and smile at their tiny 3T size. How could a tushy be so small? How is it possible that Xavier is old enough to wear underwear? Wasn't it yesterday that he started solid foods? Perhaps... If yesterday, was two and a half years ago.
I set the Super Grover garment on the pile and peer into the near empty yet-to-be-folded pile and see Elmo's face grinning up at me. Of course! (slowly) ELMO! Four of the six pairs of underwear in the Sesame Street package are of the red monster that is taking over the world.
I shake my head and think of more ideas for my yet-to-be-written Master's thesis proving that Elmo is single handedly dumbing down the youth of America. However, I suppose it does comes down to a generational bias. As a child watching Sesame Street, the humans were the main focus. Sure, we all loved Cookie, Big Bird, Oscar, Bert & Ernie and who could forget Grover? But the majority of our knowledge came from Luis, Maria, Gordon and Bob. Now the show depends on a 3-year-old red monster and his side kick, Mr. Noodle, to mold the brains of our impressionable youth.
As I am pondering ways to connect Elmo to our nation's math skills falling behind nearly all of civilized society, Xavier interrupts my thoughts.
“Mom?” Xavier asks. “What is my penis attached to?”
My mind goes reeling, “Ummm....what, honey?” I ask.
“My penis,” he ponders. “What is it attached to?”
“Errr...ahh..umm your body,” I spudder out.
He squints his eyes like he is wondering what is wrong with me, “Yeah, I know, but what are these things?” he asks as he cups his wee testicles in his hand,
I ponder for a mere second. What do I say? If I tell him the anatomical name he will be running around at play group telling everyone about his genitals like he did when he learned the word penis. Who could forget two solid months of, “I have a little penis and my daddy has a very big penis.” And then the proud smile on my husband's face.
Think quickly! If I wait too long to answer, he will think something is wrong. I don't want him to have a complex about his body or to be afraid to ask me questions.
“Those are your testicles, honey,” I say smiling at him. There! I said it! Good! Conversation over! Score one, mom!
Then he hits me up again, “What are... testicles?”
I skip a beat and then quickly answer, “Umm...they are part of your genitals.”
“Oh,” he answers. I knew this “oh”. It means that his gears are turning, and he is preparing the remainder of his cross examination.
Wait for it! Wait for it!
“Mommy, what are my testicles for? I mean, what do they do?”
Where do I go with this? At three, I really do not feel that he is ready for “the talk” quite yet. Do I explain the male reproductive system? Do I lie and say they just hang there? No! Open communication is a must. Do I tell him about sperm? No! That just might freak him out.
I'm taking way too long. His child danger gauge is going to pick up on this. Quickly! Answer! Something! Anything!
Come on! Who are you kidding? You are already the weird mom at playgroup anyway. Will it make a difference that your son knows one more word that makes Puritans cringe?
“Xavier, someday, if you choose to have a baby. Your testicles will help you do that.”
Nice! Good one, mom!
And then the follow up. He looks down at his sister in the bathtub and then up to me.
“Do you and Lola have testicles?”
“Kind of, honey. Lola and I have ovaries which are on the inside.”
“And Daddy and I have testicles on the outside” he proudly replies.
“Yup, honey. That is correct.”
Feeling pretty high on myself. I begin to wonder why any parent would hide information from their children. Just be honest. That is all our children truly want from us anyway.
I feel that way until playgroup later that afternoon. As I sit with the other moms discussing gluten and dairy-free diets, I suddenly hear my sweet boy yelling clearly across the playground, “My mommy has testicles in her tummy!”
Score one, Xavier!
I wonder what Super Grover would do in this situation? Who am I kidding? He would probably ask the all knowing and all powerful Elmo, who would in turn go ask his goldfish, Dorothy.
Editor's note: This story was part of the 2016 Listen To Your Mother Milwaukee on May 1. Visit metroparentmagazine.com/ltym for more stories from this wonderful event.