My sister, Kelly, just gave birth to a gorgeous baby boy named Gavin. Along with most newborn boys in the United States, sweet innocent Gavin underwent the ritual of circumcision. Like his father, uncles, cousins, and grandfathers, he is now foreskin-free.
As my family discussed how Gavin was doing, if he was in any pain, how Kelly should care for the wound, my curious six year old's little ears perked right up.
"Mama, what happened to Baby Gavin? What's wrong with his wiener?"
I sat down with him to explain circumcision, that most newborn boys in the United States have a piece of skin on their privates removed by a doctor. He sat wide-eyed and fascinated, hanging on every word. I thought about discussing how God required all Israelites in the Old Testament to be circumcised but, thought I'd better leave that discussion for another day.
Caleb began firing off questions, "Did that happen to me? Why? Can I have the piece back?"
I was at a loss to explain the why behind circumcision. Everything I've read about it pretty much debunks the myth that it's medically necessary. My best answer was,
"Well, buddy, so you could look like daddy."
I thought the discussion would end there, that Caleb would simply file away the information in the part of his brain that stored trivia. He is now telling every boy he knows about circumcision, that they all have a "missing piece." After playdates, mothers are informing me of long discussions where Caleb has educated their sons on the ins and outs of circumcision and car rides where he announces that parts of their privates are irretrievable.
I guess the bright side is that he's listening to me, getting his information from a reliable source. The down side is that he's taken to educating the entire community.....