Tag Archives: Trouble at school

The Penis Talk: A Conversation With My Five-Year-Old Son

simba and mufasa

Earlier this week, my son, who is in his third week of kindergarten, exposed his penis to other boys in the bathroom during school.

Everybody lost their collective shit. And by everybody, I mean his teacher, principal, day care lady, and mother. In that order.

There was a special parent-teacher conference this morning between my son’s teacher and mother to talk about behavioral expectations.

I take it seriously only insofar as I want my son to follow directions in school. To listen to his teacher. To be respectful and well mannered. To be well behaved and learn everything he can.

But he’s his father’s son. So goofing off in the bathroom with his friends makes total sense. I tend not to involve penises, but who knows what I was doing when I was five. Could have been super-penisy. Don’t remember.

I have had a couple talks with my son during bath time about what is and is not acceptable regarding his privates. Those talks had apparently fallen on deaf ears.

Because of the incident at school this week, I was forced to try again.

This is what that looked like.

The Penis Talk

Me: “Do you know what a penis is?”

Five-year-old: “No.”

Me: “What do you call your privates?”

Five-year-old: “Privates.”

Me: “What else do you call it?”

Five-year-old: “My peep.”

Me: “Yeah. Mommy always called it that. You know how we ask you to call farts ‘toots?’”

Five-year-old: “Yes.”

Me: “That’s because ‘toot’ is a nicer word. It’s the same thing with ‘penis.’ The real word for peep is penis. Adults just ask you to call it other names because the word ‘penis’ makes us uncomfortable. Can you say ‘penis?’”

Five-year-old: “Pee-nis.”

Me: “Good job. Do you remember getting in trouble at school this week?”

Five-year-old: “Yes.”

Me: “What happened?”

Five-year-old: “I didn’t follow directions.”

Me: “Right. What did you do to get in trouble?”

Five-year-old: “I don’t know.”

Me: “Yes you do. Mommy was really upset. Listen, you’re not in trouble. But when bad things happen you have to talk to mom and dad about it. Now tell me why you got in trouble, please.”

Five-year-old: “I did unpublic things. In public.”

Me: “Did you just say ‘unpublic?’”

Five-year-old: “Yeah.”

Me: “I guess that makes sense. What ‘unpublic’ thing did you do?”

Five-year-old: “I showed my privates.”

Me: “Why?”

Five-year-old: “Because everybody was goofing around.”

Me: “Were other kids showing their privates?”

Five-year-old: “No.”

Me: “Just you, then. Great. When you showed other kids your penis, did you dance and sing?”

Five-year-old: “No.”

Me: “Good. Buddy, I need you to tell me when it’s okay to take your penis out of your pants.”

Five-year-old: “I don’t know.”

Me: “You can figure it out. You’re smart. When is it okay to be naked? You do it every day.”

Five-year-old: “When I go potty.”

Me: “Yes! When you go potty. Very good. When else is it okay to take your penis out of your pants?”

Five-year-old: “When I’m taking a bath.”

Me: “Yes! Excellent. When you’re taking a bath. There is one other time when it’s okay to be naked. Do you know when that is?”

Five-year-old: “No.”

Me: “This one is tricky.”

Five-year-old: “You say it, dad.”

Me: “When you’re changing your clothes.”

Five-year-old: “Okay.”

Me: “What’s the big boy name for your peep?”

Five-year-old: “Penis.”

Me: “When is it okay to take your penis out?”

Five-year-old: “Going potty, taking a bath and getting dressed.”

Me: “Good job, dude. That’s exactly right. Do you know why it’s not okay to show your penis to people?”

Five-year-old: “No.”

Me: “I guess that’s good. It’s because it’s really private. Our penises are just for us. They’re not for other people. (I wasn’t ready to have THAT talk.) Do you know what would happen to daddy if he went outside right now and showed his penis to a bunch of people?”

Five-year-old: “No.”

Me: “I’d go to jail. It’s really, really bad, man. Do you want to go to jail?”

Five-year-old: “No.”

Me: “What kind of people go to jail?”

Five-year-old: “Policemen.”

Me: “Sometimes. They work there. But I mean the bad guys. What kind of people have to go live in jail?”

Five-year-old: “Robbers.”

Me: “Yes. Sometimes robbers. Do you know any other ways to go to jail?”

Five-year-old: “No.”

Me: “Good. Who is it okay to show your penis to?”

Five-year-old: “Just me. Do you know why ears are special?”

Me: “Why?”

Five-year-old: “So you can listen to stuff. That’s why they’re attached. You have ears too, daddy.”

Me: “Yes. Yes, I do. What if a kid at school asks you to show them your penis?”

Five-year-old: “Don’t do it.”

Me: “What if an adult asks you? A stranger?”

Five-year-old: “Don’t do it.”

Me: “Very good. What if your teacher asks you?”

Five-year-old: “Don’t do it.”

Me: “Exactly. What if someone tries to show you their penis?”

Five-year-old: “I’ll tell them to hide it. I’ll say no, no, no, no! Or maybe I’ll growl.”

Me: “You’ll growl? What will that sound like?”

Five-year-old: *growls*

Me: “Whoa. Scary.”

Five-year-old: “That’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex. That’s what I will do.”

Me: “Cool. When is it okay to take out your penis?”

Five-year-old: “Going potty. Taking a bath. Getting dressed.”

Me: “I’m proud of you, kid. Are you going to show anyone your penis anymore?”

Five-year-old: “I’m never going to take it out again. I’m never going to do it again, daddy. I promise.”

And there you have it. My son will never take his penis out in front of anyone again.

Just like his old man.

…..

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Grade School Shenanigans, Vol. 2: He Did What!?!?

It's important to me that my son not behave like this man. Nor like me.

It’s important to me that my son not behave like this man. Nor like me.

The two most-commonly told jokes in men’s restrooms among both acquaintances and strangers, go like this:

“Oh, so this is where all the dicks hang out.”

And, the one that always makes me laugh…

“Whew! That water is cold!”

The implication being, ladies, that the penises in question are so long that they dangle into the urinals or toilets below.

Penis jokes are at the very heart of who we are as men. They must be told. They must.

But appropriateness matters.

There is a time for decorum. And there is a time for air humping random objects.

The key is knowing the difference.

Everything He Needs to Know, He’ll Learn This Year

Dear Son,

Kindergarten Lesson #1: Do not expose your penis to other children. Because when you do, the teacher freaks out, the principal freaks out, the day care lady freaks out, and your mother freaks out.

And then I have to hear about it. And I have to punish you. And I have to talk about penises with you.

While I totally want to talk about penises with random people on the Internet and joke about them with friends, I do not really want to talk about them with you. It’s awkward. For both of us. But it looks like that’s going to have to happen, young man.

Which sucks balls.

Love,

Dad

So, yeah. That happened.

Yesterday at school, while some of the boys were in the bathroom, my son called attention to his penis, made a joke about it, and showed it to some kids, probably while dancing around and singing a little made-up song about it.

Unfortunately, I know exactly what that song and dance looks like because I’ve seen it at bath time.

I try to have mature conversations with him about appropriate behavior. Apparently, they didn’t take.

While I’m a huge proponent of adults making immature penis jokes, I do not want to sound like I’m not taking this seriously at school. I really, truly am.

1. He MUST follow rules. All of them. Even the stupid ones. Not playing with his penis in front of other children is NOT a stupid one.

2. While I’m not concerned about my beautiful, sweet, innocent son growing up to be a pervert or sexual deviant or some other horrible thing based on this incident, it’s not lost on me that Charles Manson, and Ted Bundy, and Jeffrey Dahmer all had moms and dads that probably didn’t want them growing up to be plagues on humanity also. So, I must be vigilant. I must be careful. I must use discernment. I must be wise. Some things are awesome. Some things are okay. Some things are horrible. Being a person who—uninvited—exposes their privates to others, is something I frown upon. (Understatement.)

One of my dearest friends assures me this won’t happen again. That this will be a good lesson for him. That it will sink in and correct the behavior.

I hope she’s right.

The Naked Trail Runner

When I was still a newspaper reporter, I became friends with another newspaper reporter.

She invited me out with one of her friends one night for drinks and hot wings.

We ate. We drank beer. We swapped stories.

This guy was great. Very nice. Very funny. Appreciated my brand of humor.

I liked him and was looking forward to being friends with him.

But then I heard a story.

There are many hiking and biking trails peppered throughout the area in which I live. A vast network of interconnected metro park and national park trails. I really like them.

One time, a young woman was running on one of the trails—maybe 10 minutes from my house.

And allegedly, the following happened:

She was running. Like a normal person. On a public trail. When all of the sudden, a tall redheaded guy came out from the woods totally naked and ran after her.

No attempted assault or anything. Just a random naked guy doing his best to expose his naked body to a random runner for as long as possible.

A police report was filed. One thing led to another, and the police ended up at my co-worker’s friend’s house. The guy I just met and totally liked.

He claims to have a good alibi. Computer login records and whatnot, proving it couldn’t have been him.

But a judge nonetheless found him guilty of this very crime. So, there was evidence.

Evidence that he took all of his clothes off and ran after a strange woman in a public place.

Dear God.

I try very hard to be understanding, forgiving, to give people the benefit of the doubt and not be judgy.

But in the end, I wasn’t going to pursue a friendship with a man found guilty of this behavior—even though I didn’t know for sure whether it really happened. I just couldn’t.

Exposing yourself to strangers is a very bad idea.

I don’t do it.

I don’t want my friends doing it.

And I’m going to require that my son not do it.

Just Keep It Put Away, Young Man. Honestly.

I’ll pick him up after work tomorrow.

That’s when we’ll have to have The Penis Talk.

Here are things you may do with your penis, son: Blah, blah, blah, blah.

And here are things you may NOT do with your penis: Blah, blah, showing it to people, blah.

Inevitably, the question will arise: Where, pray tell, did that little boy learn how to expose his penis to other people? Do you think his father taught him that?

Remember that old marijuana-smoking commercial? I learned it from watching you, dad!

Sweet Jesus.

My ex-wife. His school teacher. The day care lady.

They’re probably all sitting around thinking: Do you think he thinks it’s okay to play with his penis and make jokes about it because of his father?

Then, they will all sit there nodding. Nodding and judging.

And I’ll just shake my head.

Because I’ve been known to make a dick joke a time or two. But my son has never heard one. (This is true.)

Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure no evidence exists linking me to childish penis jokes at all. (This is not true.)

Yes. I'd been drinking.

Yes. I’d been drinking.

Lord, please make me a better father. Amen.

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