Penis Germs.


I had thought that my penis problem was over, but, like a bad sequel to an average movie, it’s baaaack. For a while, my son’s penis obsession had been replaced with a nipple fixation. At any given time of the day, he could be seen with his hand stuck up his shirt, rubbing his nipples in order to make them “pokey.” A few times, I even caught him standing, bare-chested, in front of the open freezer, because he had cleverly figured out that the cold air lends itself to increased pokiness. We talked about the pokiness a lot. What do you like about it? I asked him. But he’d just shrug and say that he didn’t know, he just liked it. I explained that it wasn’t really appropriate to rub one’s nipples in the presence of others. I explained that nipples were private parts, and that it’s fine to rub your nipples in private, but not so fine to do it, say, during soccer practice, or in the refrigerated aisle of the market. Which prompted my know-it-all six-year-old to declare that boy’s nipples are NOT really private parts, mommy, because boys don’t wear shirts when they go swimming, and if it’s not really a private part then why can’t he rub it in public? Because I don’t like it, I told her, and I make the rules. Which then had the effect of causing my son to rub his nipples in public even more, just to spite me.


Anyway, the nipple thing eventually passed, and for a while, I thought I was home free in the public touching of private parts department. But then a couple of weeks ago, I noticed that my son’s right hand was missing. Or, to put it more succinctly, I noticed that my son’s right hand was permanently planted down the front of his pants. Now, let me say two things about my son here, in order to give you a more full appreciation of the extent of my penis problem.


1. My son is one of those “highly sensitive” children who only likes to wear things that are soft against his skin. So, no tags, no scratchy fabrics, no seams in his socks, and, above all else, no buttons. Which means that he pretty much wears sweatpants every single day.


2. My son is also one of those rebellious types of children who, if he even catches a whiff of my disapproval with regard to a particular behavior, will not only continue with that behavior, but will continue that behavior with a vengeance. See above for an example.


Okay. So, to be clear, I have a four year-old boy who is stubborn as a mule, and who has taken to touching his penis pretty much round-the-clock. In sweatpants. I’m just sayin’.


Anyway, after a few days of this, I decided that it was probably time to have a talk with him about it, and so, with the six year-old out of earshot, I waited for him to stick his hand down his pants (not a long wait, mind you), and then I pounced.


Hey, buddy, I said, all nonchalant-like and without a hint of disapproval. What’s goin’ on with your hand, there, huh?


He looked surprised, as if he hadn’t expected me to notice that he and Mr. Happy had become so well acquainted, and then he grinned a grin the likes of which you might see when a poor, homeless child receives a giant bag of presents on Christmas morning.



Ok fellow moms, I read all about this problem. Now what about MY problem: my little raggamuffin decides to entertain everyone in line for custard with spouting off the f-word. Then these morons laugh, and he is doing it all the more. Where could he have heard such a word, at age 2-1/2?


That is truly funny! My six year old is also fascinated with Mr. Happy. He likes to ask me why his penie is so 'strong and straight' when he's getting in the bath, ha. I just tell him not to worry about it, they just do that sometimes.


I have two boys and they get the biggest kick out of their penises during bathtime. I guess this fascination is just part of the package. :)


My 17 month old has discovered his "pee-pee" and tugs on it so hard I'm scared he's going to break it. Ahhh, boys. Great post!


ITA that peer pressure or finding out the hard way what is socially acceptable will not help the situation.
I think framing the conversation about hygiene can be done without the germ/scare approach tho, don't you? Maybe that it's an area we want to keep clean? If I really was freaked out about germs i'd worry more about what their hands were touching BEFORE the hands went down the pants. LOL


Problem I see with this "Scare" approach to behavior modification is the negative impact it's gonna have on the little boy long term. None of us need more negative information about our bodies. Instead, why not try sitting down and telling the little boy that 1) it's OK to do that 2) suggest a more appropriate place, say like in the bedroom or bathroom?
And I'm sure the intention is not to set this little boy up with a Howard-Hughes-style germophobia.
Of course it makes total sense to have a good hygiene talk at this point as well.
I totally agree with hmbowler...well said. :)


hahahahaha. i would just like to say that after reading this...i called my husband into the living room and read this along with a few other of your post. be both were craaaacking up! this reminds me SO much of my son who will be three at the end of april. 99% of i could have written myself. thanks for the great laugh i just got to have with my husband before we go crash for the night!


How does this way of modifying his behavior have a negative impact on the little boy? Honestly, telling a child that he will spread penis germs is not lying! I don't want my 2 little boys, ages 5 and 6 - who like to also hang on to their penises and "make them big" - to touch me after playing with themselves. I can *guarantee* you that there really are penis germs that are getting spread after they touch their privates! I agree with positive body images - but I also think they need to learn self constraint. If I had a girl and she had her hand down her pants all the time, I would approach it the same way - explain that what she's doing is ok in private and also that she can spread germs that way. So why would it be different for boys? I also don't buy the argument that they'll learn soon enough what's socially acceptable. One of my sons picks his nose and no peer pressure is making him stop! I doubt peer pressure will get his hand out of his pants either....


brilliant solution, I'd say, to a very funny problem!


LOL---Well, I don't have a little one...mine is 15, and I inherited him full time when he was 7 (which means that I missed most of the cute stuff!). I hate to break it to you, girls, but they never grow out of the fascination! I can't tell you how many times I say "Get your hand out of your pants!" Tonight, after reading this article, I tried the whole germs excuse. Unfortunately, it didn't work!! It gets better...his first reply was..."Dad does it, too!" *Sigh* is being a wicked step-mother!