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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It will be a while until we know if this is a boy, but even though we are leaning toward's not circing if it is a boy, we are wondering how to handle it when questions come up.

At some point, probably pretty quickly, our older ds will be asking why the baby is different (ds will have just turned 4 when this babe will be born). How do I handle this question without making 1st ds feel like something is wrong with him.

Then, later, 2nd ds is going to notice he is different than older brother and dad...how do I handle that. Keep in mind, the answers I give will probably be thrown back and forth between them when they pick on one another (which is bound to happen at some point).

I know that people here think the arguement of 'we are circing the 2nd because we did the first" is not a good enough reason to circ, but how do you handle the very real issues that will come up if you have them different without making either child feel like something is wrong with them?
 

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My dad is circed and my little brother isn't, and I don't think it was ever even NOTICED by bro until he went to school and saw other kids his own age naked. Cut or uncut seems like a huge difference to us, but little kids don't have that preconception. My brother says he was never teased about it, and we come from a conservative rural area where most kids are circed.

Your 4 y.o. ds may or may not notice that the baby's penis looks different than his (after all, it will be tiny, and *everything* about an infant's body seems very different than a toddler's body), but if he does notice, I think that pointing out that his penis is like Daddy's will avert any potential discomfort. As for ds2, I'd just tell him, when he asks, which may not be for years, that they "changed the rules" or "started doing it a new way" between ds1 and his birth.

This is a big deal to adults, but IME, not to kids. If they aren't taught to think it's important then they just don't think so.
 

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Well, honestly, everything about the new baby'll be different somehow; he could have different hair, or an unusual nose, or crooked toes... penises can just be different, too!

My friend has fraternal twins, and reconciles their differences with a verrry casual, "Everybody is unique, and it's OK." I think kids attach the level of emotional anxiety to bodily differences that they perceive in the adults around them. Penis, toes... it's all the same to them.
 

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Jennifer,
My 4 1/2 yo circed ds has never asked about 2 yo intact ds, even though they take baths together every day and the 2 yo runs around naked all the time. I think honesty is the best policy when they do finally ask, being careful not to scare a young child with the gory details. I would say something like, "When you were born, the doctors told us it was healthier to circumcise, but then we found out it wasn't so we didn't do it with your little brother."
 

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Just so you know, my TEN yr old (who was 8.5yrs when his baby brother was born) didn't notice the difference until I pointed it out to him. And then it was in the context of me telling him that circ was wrong, that I was sorry for not protecting him, and that I wanted him to be sure to never circ his own boys.

So, your 4yr old may just not notice at all - and if not, you can put off the discussion until a later date.
 

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I don't think they will really notice, honestly. As they grow older and notice specific things they won't really see each other naked all that much.

Even still, I think it will be harder to explain to your ds1 why he is different. Because really the baby is the normal one.

If you don't want to discuss it now and ds1 says something about his penis you can point to other body parts and show how they are different too, like saying, "Look his ears are more round than yours. His belly button is shaped differently. Etc"
 

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I agree with everyone above. Circumcising to look like Dad is far, far more about the insecurities and comfort of the Dad than for the son. You would be amazed how many men don't have any idea if their Dads are circumcised or not. If it were such a major issue, every man would know his Dad's circumcision status.

As far as his brother goes, that may be a little more different but many years from now. That is because this issue is becoming more and more public. It is doing so at breakneck speed and sometime down the road, you may have to explain to him. You just tell him that you did what you were told to do and what was normal for his time. That's the truth. All he will have to do is look around to confirm it. While he may have regrets, it is highly doubtful that he will feel ill towards you.

Frank
 

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I am so glad that I found this thread!!!! My Dh and 2 ds are circed and I have been fighting with myself whether to circ next baby (if boy...no, I'm not prego yet!) in my heart I don't want to but these questions are coming up and I feel more at ease deciding against it now!! Oh thank you mamas
 

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I agree with the pps! It should be a non-issue as long as you stress the fact that you did what you were told with ds1 and that since then you've learned more. Just make sure that all your sons know not to do it to their boys (though I'm sure you would do that anyways!)


love and peace.
 

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nak

J search this forum for the words brother and brothers and you can see what others have done.

it will be fine!

say something like "when you and daddy were babies, you had a foreskin just like x, but the doctors told the mommies and daddies that it was a good idea to cut it off, so that's what they did. now we don't do that anymore." then segue into the other ways they are the same and different, maybe also saying that baby x's penis looks a lot like daddy and ds1 under his foreskin. i know one mama's experience was the older boy saying 'I have a mushroom peenie and baby has a carrot peenie!' which seemed to satisfy them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you for the responses folks! I knew that you would have good advice. I will do some searches too and see what else I can find also.
 

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I wish you all could have seen the look on my dh's face when he insisted our son would have to be circumcised to match him -- and I said, "Is your dad circumcised?" And he had no idea. :LOL He doesn't know if his brother or male cousins are circumcised either, and they grew up close, taking baths together, etc. He just doesn't remember. It must not have been an issue!
(Come to find out, one of those cousins is intact, and it was never noticed among any of the boys.)
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Frankly Speaking
I agree with everyone above. Circumcising to look like Dad is far, far more about the insecurities and comfort of the Dad than for the son. You would be amazed how many men don't have any idea if their Dads are circumcised or not. If it were such a major issue, every man would know his Dad's circumcision status.

As far as his brother goes, that may be a little more different but many years from now. That is because this issue is becoming more and more public. It is doing so at breakneck speed and sometime down the road, you may have to explain to him. You just tell him that you did what you were told to do and what was normal for his time. That's the truth. All he will have to do is look around to confirm it. While he may have regrets, it is highly doubtful that he will feel ill towards you.

Frank
Thank you for this Frank. I struggle with the fact that my two older boys are circ'd, while my youngest is not. This was a case of doing what I thought was best, but learning later that it was not
.

It is nice to hear a man's perspective on this, as I worry every day that my precious boys will be upset with me.
 

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I'm sure you've come across the saying, "When you know better, you do better," many times here on MDC. IMO, it's much easier to tell DS#1 that you made a mistake and didn't find out until later rather than having to explain it to both of them and that on top of that, in the case of DS#2, you already knew but still went ahead with it anyway.

Just FYI, my brother is circumcised while I'm not. It didn't become an issue until he had a son, and I tried to convince him not to circumcise.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mindycat72
Thank you for this Frank. I struggle with the fact that my two older boys are circ'd, while my youngest is not. This was a case of doing what I thought was best, but learning later that it was not
.

It is nice to hear a man's perspective on this, as I worry every day that my precious boys will be upset with me.

OK, here's a true confession. From the time I learned what happened to me in my early teens that made me different from some of my friends, I carried great resentment of my parents for doing it to me. I knew there was something irrational about that resentment and I kept it deeply buried in my subconscious most of the time. My parents never knew about it because you just didn't talk about those things back then. Fast forward to the near present. My Dad died in 1998 and carried his part of the story to the grave. I didn't like my Dad very much and he was not a nice man. I have no idea how much this issue affected me and our relationship but it had at least some effect. My Mom died two years later, about the time I first discovered this issue on the internet. She took her part of it to the grave too because There was only a few days from my discovery to her death. My Mom was not one of those warm loving Moms like June Cleaver and my mind made a connection between my circumcision and my dislike of her at times. She really was a good mother but a bit remote and a lot controlling. Somehow, there was a connection in all of this and my circumcision.

After I started learning about all of this, I learned that my Dad was the only one of 7 brothers who was circumcised. Clearly, he was familiar with the intact penis. I also learned that both of my Grandfathers were intact. My mind was racing wondering why my Dad was the first in our family to be circumcised and why I was the second. None of it made sense to me until I found some information on my paternal grandmother. Then it all made sense! But that still left the question of why I was done when there had only been a single other man in our family that had been done. Couldn't my father see that all 6 of his brothers were just fine? Was it some arrogance on his part? He was a very arrogant and vain man.

Then, I spoke with my uncle about circumcision and he became very, very angry. It turns out that my cousin who was birthed in the same hospital and by the same doctor was circumcised against his instructions. Not only did the doctor not ask, he went against my Aunt and Uncle's specific instructions that my cousin not be circumcised. Suddenly, it became much clearer. Not only that, but, another cousin born about 11 years after me was also circumcisied against my Aunt and Uncle's specific instructions. I can only conclude that that was the case with me as well. Now, I no longer blame it on my parents, but on the doctor who did it to me. Unfortunately, that doctor is long dead or there would have been a very angry confrontation between the two of us. His son still lives in my hometown but instead of being a doctor, he is a teacher. I saw him a couple of years ago and there was a hatred that was rekindled. I remember having this same hatred many years ago when I was in high school. It is totally illogical and unreasonable as I suspect he is a victim as well but I just can't help it.

Don't let your circumcised sons go through this. When they are age appropriate, offer to discuss the issue with them and make sure they don't pass along a tradition of genital mutilation to your grandsons. With an appropriate explanation, they will understand and they will not hold it against you. Letting their minds wander around trying to find an explanation on their own can bring them to some very wrong conclusions.

Frank
 

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I hope it's okay if I jump in on this one.

I have an 11 y/o son that is cut and my 3 y/o and 2 month old DS's are intact. When DS2 was born DS1 was 8 and we had decided years earlier that we would never circ again if we ever had another boy (we had two DD's between DS1 and DS2). When we found out that #4 was going to be a boy we sat down and had a very honest talk with DS1 about circ and what it is, why some people do it, why we chose to have him circ'd (misinformation and lack of knowledge being the biggest reasons), and why exactly we were chosing NOT to circ his new brother. DS1 is a very smart boy and very scientific about everything so he was easily able to understand and accept our explanation about it all. After our conversation was over he said to us "I'm glad you decided not to circumcise my new brother." I'm so proud of that kid
At this point DS1 has seen the difference but never really cared as far as I can tell. I've talked to him about his body image and he's happy with his body and says he's fine with how he is (even if I sometimes feel guilt about it!). We have worked very hard to foster high self esteem and positive body image in all of our kids so I'm glad that DS1 is happy with how he is while still being able to appreciate that circ is unnecessary. I think at this point his attitude is "it works and that's fine with me." As we always tell our kids what's important is the kind of person you are, not the state of your penis, what you do with it, or anything else that's superficial... what matters is your heart.

Now I understand that your son is a lot younger than my son was but I think that with a child his age you really don't have to get into it just yet. He's little and he's going to be more accepting of differences at his age most likely. To little kids everyone seems so different in so many different ways that a penis is just one more thing... some people have blue eyes, some brown, some people have blond hair and some black, some people have light skin some people dark, some people wear glasses and others don't, some people have big ears and some small... it's just another one to add to the list for them I think. When he's older I would just tell him the facts, that you did what you THOUGHT at the time was the best thing and that you love him and only wanted the best BUT that over time you learned that maybe that wasn't the best thing so you changed. Back in the "old days" they didn't use carseats or seatbelts and now we do because we know it's safer. So we used to think that circ was best but now we have learned more and found out that it's not so we changed what we do. You don't have to say that one is better than the other but just "this is how you are and this is how he is" just like you might say "well you have beautiful brown eyes and your brother has beautiful blue eyes" without any inference that one is somehow "better" but still communicating that intact *is* more natural and how they were made.

So now in our family we have two cut (DH & DS1) and two intact (DS's 2 & 3) and it's just totally not an issue. I have a DS with hazel eyes, one with brown eyes, a DD with blue eyes and one with brown (who knows about the new baby yet!). One DD is very tall and lanky the other one is very petitte. One DS is on the smaller side for his age and the other is square in the average category. They're all different and we LOVE the differences in our kids. Yeah, I have wished we never circ'd our first DS but I remind myself that he's a smart, happy, loving, wonderful kid and the state of his penis has nothing to do with that


Sorry this got so long. I have never understood the people that say "we did the first one so we're doing this one too." That's like saying "Well, I drank during my first pregnancy and my child was born with FAS so I'm going to do it again this time so s/he won't be different." It just makes no sense.

~ Patti
mom of 5
 
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