by Jeana Lee Tahnk
Lately, my boobs have been the center of some targeted male attention. No, not from my husband, but my son. I don’t know what it is that makes my four year-old want to stick his hands down (not up for some reason) my shirt and cop a feel. He is also equally into running his hands over my chest area as if they are cars driving over hills. And believe me, there’s not much there, but whatever he thinks is, is very interesting to him. Luckily, whenever Mr. Feely makes his attempts, it is done in the privacy of our own home. Not sure how well received that would be by the little old ladies in the produce section of my local Market Basket. I’m used to it at this point, and am even more used to my body being used as a playground, so it doesn’t faze me in the slightest, but I do wonder where the boob fascination comes from.
If I were to recall my studies as a psychology major, I would know that my son’s age would place him smack dab in the middle of theories of the Oedipus complex and the Phallic Stage. These are Freud’s hypotheses on psychosexual development in which boys between the ages of 3 and 6 become interested in their penises (check) and also form an unconscious sexual attraction to their mother (awkward silence).
Rather than delving too deeply into the psyche of a preschooler, I thought I would get a more direct answer by just asking him why he likes my boobs. His response: “Because they’re warm and big.” Big? Really? Wow, this padded bra is doing its job. And he added, “They remind of when I was a baby.” Ah yes, the marathon nursing sessions I had with him. There were times he would stay latched on for 45 minutes and I remember falling asleep from the sheer fatigue of serving as a constant food source to his ringworm-like appetite. Now, I know there is no way he remembers that time in his life, but just by being around friends of mine who are currently nursing their babies, he knows what an intimate and exclusive time that is between baby and mom.
My son definitely has phases of regression where he sees his younger sister being held all the time and wants the same kind of treatment. And knowing that he is only a year away from kindergarten and already starting to feel anxious about that shift, I am more willing to oblige these requests as well. Not to get too entrenched into psychology here, but maybe there is a subconscious part of him as well that feels the shift coming and is using my chest as a metaphorical security blanket. Wow, deep. Or maybe, it’s just simply because he’s a little kid who is figuring out the ways of the world and realizing that I have something on my body that he doesn’t.
Are you battling the Oedipus complex with your little one? If so, never fear. Those little wandering hands are allowing him to feel (excuse the pun) his way through anatomy lessons, attachment lessons and who knows what else. Regardless of what the reasons are, this is a phase that, like many other behaviors of early childhood, is short-lived. And before you know it, you’ll be looking back with nostalgia and longing for the times when your son was so attached, wanted to sit in your lap all the time and be perfectly content in your arms. As the cliché says, time does go by in a flash, so for the time being, I’m going to treasure the fact that my son is a boob (little) man. Just don’t ask me how I’ll feel about that statement in 10 years.