Over the past two years I’ve seen a lot of my son’s penis.
I’d have to say that aside from my own, there’s no one penis I’ve seen more of.
And I’ve been on Chat Roulette.
It’s one of the many sneaky and unavoidable realities of parenthood that you are going to see a lot of naked baby.
Unless you master the art of the blindfolded diaper change – which I would not advise – you have to come to terms pretty quickly with the fact that your child has genitals and, for the first few years of his/her life, you are in charge of them.
In fact, when you have a boy, one of the first decisions you have to make has to do with your son’s pubis: to circumsize or not to circumsize. That is the question.
In anticipation of my son being born I didn’t spend a ton of time considering the circumcision issue, but I did give it some thought, most of which came down to two things: 1) the health issues that circumcision is meant to circumvent are considered by many to no longer be much of a deal, and easily avoidable via common sense and good hygiene, and 2) the procedure greatly reduces the amount of sensation the circumcisee would experience later in life (if you know what I mean).
(You can check WebMD here for a quick snapshot. But don’t worry, there are no actual snapshots.)
I know the Other Parent contingent can be quite aggressive on this issue – browse a few websites and it’s not long before someone compares circumcision to torture and throws a video of the surgery in your face – but it’s not exactly cut and dried, and there are points to be made for either side. In the end, it’s a personal decision, and I felt the benefits outweighed the cons. At the very least I’ll save him a few minutes in the shower every day.
In a broader, let’s-stop-talking-so-much-about-baby-penis kind of way, circumcision is parenting in a nutshell (no pun intended). It’s merely the first in a long line of difficult choices you have to make as a parent, out of regard for your child’s well-being.
Being a parent is a constant, daily struggle to decide when to sacrifice a little of your child’s happiness in order to preserve and protect his health. Maybe you won’t let him buy a motorcycle, or play football, or see Internal Affairs just because there’s a fingerbang scene and it might warp his little mind (I’ve finally seen it, Mom and Dad! So ha!).
It’s never fun to deprive your child of something, but tough choices have to be made. Maybe you’ll tell him it’s for his own good, maybe he’ll throw a fit, maybe you’ll feel like your father; you have to grit your teeth and trust you’re doing the right thing.
On the plus side, re: circumcision, at least when he’s a baby he can’t put up much of a fight! You could give him a nose job in the maternity ward and he’d be none the wiser.
I kid, of course. But I certainly don’t remember being tortured, nor do I feel like I’ve been deprived of anything (not that I could ever know the difference). Maybe when he’s older my son will feel differently, but I did what I thought was right and I don’t think anyone could argue that I’ve harmed him – though I’m sure after this post I’ll get my share of comments suggesting I have.
So be it. At the end of the day, I’m a firm believer that a son’s penis should look like his father’s.