Penis Envy

So I made it up to the country before my obligatory weekend double at the Hell’s Pass Hospital.

It was, as it always is, utterly lovely.

I love the drive. I love the visiting and the giggling. But I really, really love those boys.

There are two of them, now ages 6 and 8. They are far and beyond spectacular company.

It’s because of the boys that I experienced my first ever Xbox 360 adventure. For the record, if New York City were dependent on my web-slinging and crime-fighting skills, it probably would have been beaten and killed off the planet a long, long time ago.

“Wow. You fell off the building so much that you killed Spiderman,” the 6 year old told me. “I didn’t even know you could do that!”

Yes, I know I rock. Thanks.

The 8 year old, too smart for his own good and bored in school, received this for Christmas:


It looks really awesome, actually. You mold the bones and put it together and learn about how archaeologists discover artifacts and protect them and all that sort of educational goodness.

I didn’t realize I was going to be playing teacher, though, while I was up there.

“What’s that thing?” the 8 year old asked me. “What thing?”

“That thing.” He pointed to the big hanging bone between the T-Rex’s legs.

“Oh. Well, see, the thigh bones are femurs, so I’m guessing that it’s a sort of drop down pelvic bone to support his weight and his posture. See how he doesn’t really stand up straight? And I think they weighed several tons, so he’d need all the help he could get when he was running after brachiosaurus.” I stopped a second. “Wait a sec. What did you think it was?”

He didn’t say anything, but he grabbed his crotch.

Giggling over cock and ball references in an English paper is one thing; trying to explain to a child the difference between a bone and an um, non-bone, despite the misnomer, is a totally different thing. Especially when you’re trying to do it in a way to not scar the child for life.

Especially when the boy’s father is standing behind you, arms crossed and struggling not to laugh.

I felt frighteningly like an adult.

Because he’s a little science nerd in training (I’m still hoping that he swings in a literary direction), I figured, I’d do detail. Described the difference between flesh and bone, blood vessels, and all that good stuff.

I struggled through it and felt rather pleased with myself. I’m not a parent; I don’t know how to handle this sort of thing, especially boy things, so I felt especially proud.

I made it through, and he understood me. “That’s good. I wondered because it was so big.”

“Mine’s that big,” the dad said. “I’m not sure what’s wrong with yours.”

Dirty-look-over-the-glasses at Dad from me. “Gee thanks,” I said. “All we need is another male in the world with an inferiority complex. At least he’ll be able to blame you.”

So I led the boy to the Xbox room so he could show me how Spidey can slingshot across the city, and while his little red-suited guy was gliding across the city, I made sure to let him know that his dad was kidding.

“Oh, I know. Dad’s head isn’t that big, either.”

I just wish he had asked about the thing coming out of the dinosaur’s butt. That would have been far easier to explain.


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