When I got pregnant with my first child, I hoped I'd have a boy. I'd grown up with three sisters and wanted a son so badly. After about a year into my son's life, I realized I knew next to nothing about penises. No one told me my son would get an erection at 2 weeks old and that he would be capable of peeing in his own eye while I was changing his diaper.
I've had to learn the rules that come with raising a son. I know fellow moms of boys know what I am talking about. We've learned that, for them, there is never a bad time to play with their penis, show it to people and talk about how it is "pricked up and won't go back down."
So, when I got pregnant with my third child and I learned I would have another son, I thought I would be an expert in the penis department. I was wrong.
After bathing my chubby 3-month-old one Monday afternoon, I wrapped him in a towel and carried him to his bedroom. As I got out the pink baby lotion and started applying it on his skin, I noticed something: his penis was gone, and in its place was what looked like a belly button.
I froze for a second, thinking I'd lost my mind, that the lack of sleep was doing crazy things to my eyeballs. My 3-year-old and 2-year-old were downstairs and had decided to explore in the spice drawer. I could hear the spice jars rolling around and knew it was only a matter of time before I had cinnamon and garlic dust on every surface of my home. I didn't know which hurdle to tackle first: Did I face the fact that my son's penis went MIA or should I stop my kids from hosting a cooking show downstairs?
After bathing my chubby 3-month-old, I noticed something: his penis was gone, and in its place was what looked like a belly button.
I strapped a diaper on my son and flew down the stairs. Maybe he was just cold and the warmth of the diaper around his twig and berries would make it reappear?
Once Situation Spice Explosion was averted, I opened the diaper to see if maybe I had just been seeing things. But alas, my son's penis was still nowhere in sight.
In hindsight, I should have called my pediatrician, but I decided to call my husband, thinking maybe he'd know what to do. After all, he had one for over 30 years of his life. Surely, this had happened to him. I could feel myself bubbling over with anger because he hadn't warned me about this.
But all that phone call did was put him in panic mode. "What?! That can't happen!" he said, when I told him our son's penis was gone. "I don't know what you mean. Did it just shrink?" When I asked him if that hat ever happened to him, he answered definitively, "No, that has never happened to me! I don't think that has happened to anyone, ever."
Feeling more panicked than ever, I called the doctor's office and while I was on hold I checked inside my son's diaper about 20 times.
When I told my son's doctor his penis was gone and it looked like a tiny concave circle, she didn't laugh at me. She did, however, tell me what to do. "Jack has a little fat pad around his penis," she said. "Sometimes when babies have that, their penis can nestle inside and it really does completely go away. It's like a turtle's head. Just put your fingers on either side of the fat pad, and gently press down."
I did as I was told and was so happy with the result, I yelled, "Yes, we have a penis!" It literally popped back out, kind of like a jack-in-the-box.
My son's penis continued to play a disappearing act for years. To this day, every time I find out a friend, family member or random stranger on the street is going to have a boy, I always tell them their child' penis might disappear and I let them know what to do if it does.
I mean, this should be something everyone is aware of.