Recently, Red and I were talking about the possibility of having more kids. You know, a few years from now when the one we’ve got ceases to act like a slavering bull terrier in heat and more like the ridiculously smart, perfect child we had until six months ago. We sincerely miss that kid. I really wouldn’t mind having another one just like him.
But of course I’m dying for a little girl. One I can dress up in all sorts of frilly purple stuff and ruffle butt bloomer and wee little patent leather Mary Janes. You can’t blame me. That shit is cute. Every time I go to this happy pink place in my imagination, Red reminds me that our family? Is a family of boys. Lots of ’em.
Red has one brother. His brother has one son. There’s only one girl in Boo’s generation on that side of the family. And it’s up to Red to donate that magical X chromosome to make our next child a girl.
Statistically speaking, we’re screwed.
Don’t get me wrong. I love having a boy. If we have another one, we’d just have to buy more insurance to offset the household damage that’s
likely going to occur . (Oy, I’ve got images of broken windows and head injuries dancing in my head.)
In the face of this inevitability, I’ve got a name picked out, right along with his the pirate-themed nursery decorations. The one thing Red and I can’t agree on is whether or not our new little one will, ahem, be divested of a (arguably) non-vital piece of flesh shortly after birth like his older brother. Almost in the same breath that I said, “Bring in the mohel!” Red told me very emphatically, “NO.”
My question: No to the bris? (After all, we’re not Jewish. Buy hey! A party’s a party!) Or no to the snippity-snip?
Apparently, in the brief two years and some-odd months since Boo was born, Red has gotten very attached to the idea that our next boy will remain intact. Au natural. As God intended him to be. One viewing of Penn and Teller’s Bullsh!t episode about circumcision has left Red convinced that it would cruel to circumcise another baby, because, ya know… it’s his penis!
Circumcision is an intensely personal choice, one that’s not easy for anyone to make. Until recently, for most male babies (I say ‘most’ because I’m too fucking lazy to look up an exact percentage) in the United States, it was a routine procedure. Lots of people didn’t think twice about it being performed a matter of days after birth–and I was one of them. At the time, I was too drugged up, sleep-deprived, and sick to lift my head off my pillow long enough to engage in a intelligent discussion with the nurse who took Boo away to have the surgery performed. I just knew that I wanted it done and over with.
And if I’m being truthful, I was a little freaked out by the look of my new son’s wee wee. The first time I got a really good look at it, my Texan father’s voice sprang into my head. “It looks like a earthworm in a turtleneck sweater.”
Back then, I hadn’t yet been sucked into the gaping chasm of internetland, where this topic riles up the nameless, faceless masses and brings them to fits of rage wherein they foam at the mouth, misspell insults, and accuse women of being UNFIT HOORS!!!1!! and MERCILESS BABY MUTILATORS!!!1!! These are often the same people who think formula=baby murder and anyone who uses disposable diapers is going to burn in the fires of smelly Diaper Genie Hell for all eternity. Certainly there are other more level headed intelligent individuals out there, but their voices are usually drowned out by the card-carrying I’m-a-superior-parent-because-I-do-X-Y-and-Z-for-my-offspring type of zealot.
That’s not to say that I was completely uneducated about the subject. I knew the arguments against circumcision ran the gamut from it being a totally unnecessary cosmetic procedure to it being the equivalent of female genital mutilation. (Which it’s not. If you’re going to be specific, a properly executed circumcision is akin to a female having her clitoral hood removed.)
For me, it was a more of matter of aesthetics.
I’d never been around an uncirumcised penis, and I had no intentions to change that. I also didn’t want my son to grow up shamefully hiding his willy from the other boys in the locker room because he looked different. Adolescence is hard enough as it is, and since he’s his mother’s child and likely to be too mouthy for his own good, I didn’t want him to have to deal with a problem that wasn’t of his own making. (However, if things continue on the path they’re on now, this boy is NOT going to be teased by other boys about his penis. My son is, shall we say, blessed in that department. Must be all those good Italian genes. Heh.)
In the end, I don’t regret that we had it done. Many will argue that it wasn’t our decision to make, and we should have left up to our son to do when he gets older. That doesn’t change the fact that it was done. That train’s done left the station, y’all.
Perhaps my reasons weren’t the most logical, and you can accuse me of being negligent monster if you want, but I don’t think Boo is bitter about missing that particular part of his anatomy. His preliminary explorations with himself in the bathtub (Hey, Mama! What’s this? tug, tug, tug) haven’t yielded any feelings of resentment. But then again, he’s only two.
If our next child is a boy, I don’t know whether we’ll have it done or not. We’ve got time to think about it. I respect the opinions of others, and if they choose to leave their children intact OR give them the ole sniperoo, that’s their choice. Please respect ours.
Although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to the hate mail I’m going to get for this. And just because I like to stir shit up here’s where I stand on a few other touchy subjects: formula (sure, why not?); co-sleeping (no); and cloth diapering (shit son, are you crazy?). Let the kvetching begin!