Friday, November 16, 2007

Just another reason not to give unsolicited advice.

A few days ago, I attended a baby shower. Along with the baby food guessing games, diapering races and other shenanigans, all of the attendees were asked to write a piece of advice on a notecard that she could put in her baby book.

The mother-to-be has told me numerous times about how nervous she is about having a boy -- she comes from a family of 5 girls and has no experience with infant boys. So coming into my own Mommyhood ignorant of the workings of baby boys, I thought long and hard about what I should write. I knew it should be boy specific. But what piece of advice, that perhaps I'd received late, was the most helpful? It only took a moment to realize what it should be. The single most important piece of advice that I knew of for newborn boys.

Always make sure that the penis is pointing down.

Because, you know, this is something that isn't often written in the books or mentioned right away by others. I think for those experienced with baby boys, this just seems like a total "duh," but it took me weeks to figure out why my son's diapers kept leaking the way that they did. I was just too sleep deprived to consider the physics of the matter. And when you factor in erections -- as much as you may not even want to even fathom those occurrences, they happen all too often -- it becomes even more important to make sure that the penis is pointed into the most absorbent part of the diaper.

So that's what I wrote. "When changing diapers, always make sure the penis is pointing down."

Once everyone had written their advice, the hostess collected them and handed them to the mother-to-be to read aloud. She read all of them aloud except mine. I'll be honest that I was so knee-deep in chocolate-y cake and laughing at other advice at that point that I don't think I noticed.

But as I got up to leave later, the hostess pulled me aside to tell me that she removed my advice card from the pile. This was a baby shower and she didn't understand why I would write such a thing. After all, there was really no need to be vulgar. I was taken aback. I mean, when did the word penis become a dirty word? I was offered what I thought was an important, non-sarcastic piece of advice about being a first time Mom to a boy. Advice that would help a Mom avoid being sprayed and even more laundry. But somehow I was being inappropriate. I started to try to defend myself, to explain why I wrote that particular item but somehow I figured it would do more harm than good at that point.

It's days like those that I really, really wonder if I'll ever find a place in this weird world.


liberal army wife said...

Oh good GRIEF!! I wish I had been given that piece of advice, would have saved me a lot of laundry, the wall behind the changing table...

some people probably don't want to admit babies pee!


Kimba said...

Wow. The use of the word "penis" is vulgar? Should you have said "pee-pee" instead? Or was making reference to it (gasp) bad enough??

Does this woman know any boys or men?

Does she have a fainting couch handy?

I'm...*sputter*, erm, uh - speechless.


prophet said...


No, my dear. That wasn't vulgar.

Who is this person with her perverted sensibilities?! This is a classic case of the 'to the pure at heart, everything is pure; to the corrupted, nothing is pure.'

But you? You stay pure. [and I hope you never do find a place in a world that is perverted.]

dutchgirl said...

You're not that strange, I promise. I don't have a boy, but as a nurse I worked in newborn nurseries and NICUs... that piece of advice is one that I *always* gave to the new parents of baby boys. That hostess was totally rude, and how freaking 1950's, grown women can't say the word "penis"? Please.

Bette said...

Vulgar? Seriously?

Do you really *want* to find a place in that kind of world?

TripleE said...

After having 2 girls, and then giving birth to a boy, a good friend gave me that bit of advice...and it was the best advice yet :)

Lee Anne said...

If she thinks that's vulgar, she'll be in for a rude awakening when her son gets older.

And, I appreciate that advice. Not that I'm pregnant, but I have five nephews on my husband's side. We'll probably have all boys, and I had NO idea about pointing the penis down! Filing it away for later...

Non-Essential Equipment said...

I mean, I guess I could see someone thinking I was weird if I mentioned the baby boy erections in that advice (which, although distasteful, are also something to be warned about -- I knew a woman who took her firstborn son to the pediatrician thinking there was something wrong with his penis because it was always at attention), but I would think that penis would be okay.

Oh well. What do I know? I'll call the mother-to-be and let her know one-on-one, uptight hostess be damned.

A Soldier's Wife..... said...

Geesh, I would have written "make sure to have a spare towel to cover the penis up when you go to change him, because the first shot of cold air and he will pee all over you...."

....and to the hostess, I think I would have laughed at her and walked away....regardless of who she was, simply because she had the audacity to assume that you were being vulgar in the first place.

No one warned me when I had my son after having two little girls and not only was I peed on, I also did not know the advise you gave her, wish I had.....maybe next time you should point out that there is no excuse for unkind and rude behavior to your guests!