The almost seven year-old boy and I have an ongoing ritual of talking about life and the things that happen. Many of the best conversations come just before his bedtime. In part that is because he is trying to stall and in part because he is already lying quietly in bed and in a thoughtful mood.
Here is a transcript from a recent conversation.
Son: I heard something at school.
Dad: What did you hear?
Son: Justin said that some parts of our bodies never stop growing.
Dad: What did Justin say?
Son: He said that our hair, our nails and our skin never stop growing.
Son: Is that true?
Dad: You and I should spend a little time researching this. Do you know what that means?
Son: Yes. We’ll go to the ‘puter and look at the encyclopedia.
Dad: We don’t have to use the computer. We can always go to the library and use the research books to find this information. (Have to make sure that he knows how to do things the old fashioned way.)
Son: Dad. Why don’t our hands grow forever?
Dad: Good question. It might be hard to find a new baseball glove if they grew forever. Let’s look that up.
Son: Ok. What about our feet? Why don’t they grow forever?
Dad: I bet that it is tied into the same reason our hands don’t. Let’s take a look tomorrow.
Son: I am confused about something.
Son: Justin told me that his brother said your penis can grow forever.
Dad: (Inside my head I hear Robbie The Robot saying “Danger Will Robinson) I don’t think that it works like that.
Son: But dad, sometimes my penis grows and sometimes it does not.
Dad: I know. We talked about this and why it happens. Do you remember?
Son: I do. But what would happen if your penis never stopped growing?
Dad: Do you mean what would happen if you never lost your erection?
Son: Yes and what would happen if it keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
Dad: Your erection doesn’t last forever. Remember I told you about how it helps make babies.
Son: Yes, but what if it did. What if it kept growing for the rest of your life. What would you do?
Dad: ( I wanted to say join the circus or start a harem, but I just couldn’t do it.) I am not sure. what do you think would happen?
Son: I think that it might be hard to find pants to wear. But it could be really good.
Dad: Oh. What would be really good?
Son: If you had to pee really badly you wouldn’t have to get so close to the toilet. You could stand really far away and just aim.
Dad: That might be nice.
Son: Tomorrow I am going to tell everyone that you and I want our penises to grow really, really big.
Dad: I don’t think that this is the kind of thing we should share. Remember there are private parts of our body that we don’t share.
Son: Oh yea. I’ll just tell mom. She’ll make sure that you drink a lot of milk so that your penis will keep growing.
Dad: Uh, ok. I think that it is time for bed. Get some sleep and I’ll see you in the morning.
Son: Ok. I love you dad.
Dad: I love you too.
And now you see why sometimes these conversations can be a little tricky.