My son likes to touch himself. A lot.
Guest blogger Dani Klein Modisett: "Dani, does ... uh ... Gabriel ever take his hands out his pants?" a
father of one of the little girls in my five-year-old's preschool class
asked me when I came to pick him up from a playdate.
"Yes." I said. "To eat. Sometimes. Unless it's something he can eat with one hand."
It's not like I didn't know where Gabriel likes to keep his hands. However, this was the first time I was hearing about it from another parent.
"Oh," the dad continued. "Yeah... 'cause he was watching cartoons on the couch with Monica, for I don't know, like almost two hours and he didn't take them out the whole time ... and ... you know ... ha ha ha," It was a forced chuckle that managed to incorporate "it's really weird" with "the lucky bastard."
"Gabriel, honey, Monica's daddy told me you had your hands in your pants watching TV on the couch," I say to him a few minutes later in the car.
"Oh. We watched Ben Ten, Mom. HA HA." He knows I don't like shows with tiny sarcastic brats in them, animated or not, so this was a good distraction ploy on his part.
"That's for private time, okay, honey? That's for when you're in your room." I was surprised to find myself parroting what my husband Tod always tells him. We haven't set a formal "hands in your pants" policy, but "in your room" sounds reasonable. Anywhere you're not offending people works for me, but that's a little sophisticated for a five-year-old. The only time it really bothers me is when we're in the kitchen and Gabriel wants to help me cook. His "hands on pee pee" style is a little unappetizing, not to mention unsanitary.
"Maybe I'm too laissez faire," I think, stuck in traffic driving home a few minutes later that afternoon. I don't want parents whispering to each other, "Don't have Gabriel over, he'll masturbate all over your house," that kind of thing. I mean, isn't that part of my job as a parent, to help my son get along in the world and minimize the whispering about him behind his back, at least until he's 18? But isn't it also my job to help him feel comfortable with his body and enjoy himself? And pleasuring oneself is one of life's more reliable pleasures.
|Dani Klein Modisett is the mother of 1-year-old Gideon (pictured) and 5-year-old Gabriel. She is comedy writer/creator/producer of the show "Afterbirth...stories you won't read in Parents magazine." An anthology of stories from this show will be published by St. Martin's Press, in stores in May 2009.|