Disclaimer: I was ambivalent on the decision to circumcise our sons, but Mr. D had strong feelings on the topic. Evidently boys' locker rooms are hostile places and a little nip/roll goes a long way in protecting male self-esteem in American culture. Because I wasn't born with a foreskin, I deferred to my male compatriot in this matter.
About a week ago Mr. O showed us this huge, sharp, metal-bladed sword. His brother had bought it. For his sister's new baby. A little baby and Mr. O's brother's idea of a great gift is this swashbuckling weapon. Mr. O thought it was funny and showed the sword to the class (sister had given it to him, wisely believing a baby had no business with a sword, but a 3rd degree black belt might know how to handle it appropriately). I cracked, "Did it arrive in time for the bris?
Cue the laughter and a lot of confused looks from the rest of the room. What's a bris? one kid asks.
It's a name for the Jewish circumcision ritual, I explained.
Did I have one? Mr. B asked.
Yep, you did. In fact, most of this room had one I bet.
More laughter and then we moved on to practice our sword form.
A week later...
Mr. B and I are at karate where we worked on our sword form during class. After class ends, Mr. B asks me where his sword is. What sword? You have it in your hand.
No, that other sword you got me.
What other sword?
The one you said you got me last week.
Buddy, I have no idea what you're talking about. You have a sword. It's in terrible shape because you don't take care of it and leave it outside. I'm not buying you another one until you're older and show more responsibility.
No, Mom! You said in class last week that I had another sword. Just like the one Mr. O's brother bought for the new baby.
OH! No, sweetie. I was referring to your circumcision. You had a circumcision, not a new sword.
What's a circumcision?
You know how you plan those "talks" with your children? I always felt I'd gotten off the hook having boys instead of girls--no menstruation conversation, no breast buds, instructions on inserting tampons, etc. I sort of figured that little cut when they were a day old would never come up because all the other boys had it done and they'd assume that was the norm and never question it.
Well, it's a thing most people in Western cultures do to their baby boys. You know how your penis looks kind of like a mushroom at the end? Well, there's this bit of skin--it's called a foreskin--and the doctor snips it and pushes it back and that's what a circumcision is. Just cutting and rolling back that foreskin.
Reader, if I could describe the look of horrified betrayal that kid gave me.
You did WHAT?
Yeah, it sounds bad when you say it out loud like that.
Did it hurt? Mr. B's brow is furrowed with concern.
I imagine it did. I wasn't there. They took you to another room and Dr. K did it. When they brought you back in, there was a little blood.
I remember Mr. T's indignation when we changed Mr. B's diaper the next day and he saw the blood. He was furious that we'd cut a baby. And concerned about how it felt. And mad that we did it to him without his permission.
Why? Why did you do that to me? I was a baby!
This is the point of the conversation where I totally threw Mr. D under the bus. Guy stuff, not my turf.
I can't believe you guys did that to me.
Honey, everyone does it. It's just something parents do to boys.
Well, I'm sure glad I had it done when I was a baby instead of as an adult. If you were an adult it would really hurt.
That happened a week ago. Last night we discussed apocalyptic events on the ride home, like zombies taking over, or apes taking over, or the world turning into a giant fireball that no water could extinguish, but then we'll all be with Jesus. And how do zombies become zombies, how could apes take over humans, did I ever see a movie about haunted houses, how many haunted house movies have ever been made and what's the scariest. Important stuff that weighs on the mind of a nine-year-old boy clearly not traumatized in any way by last week's conversation.