(disclaimer: Thankfully this has never happened in my household)
We've been getting a lot of packages, recently. Friends have been sending cookies, cards, groceries, shoes, books, and (of course!) toys for the kids. Their favorite package so far contained these stretchy, blinking, yoyo animal things.
There was one for each of the girls. I distributed a bunny to RH, a purple deer to SI, and an orange deer to DD. All the kids were ecstatic with their new toys, and ran off to play.
It was a matter of hours before disaster struck, in the form of one of SI's deer's antlers being torn off. She was devastated. She came up to me, her lip quivering, begging me to glue the antler back on.
I looked at the bit of silicone in her hand, and I doubted it was possible. Silicone has a tendency to dissolve unless you've got the right glue, and I sure didn't have the right glue. I kindly told her I was afraid that I couldn't glue it on, and that it was okay- the deer still blinked and all that, but she was not pleased. And then, inspiration struck.
"You know SI, only boy deer have antlers. Maybe yours is a girl deer. I could cut off the OTHER antler, and then she'd be a girl!"
SI was thrilled. I cut off the other antler, and set both amputated parts on my desk. DD came running.
"I want mine to be a girl too!"
"Are you sure?" I asked. "I mean, your boy deer might like to get married to SI's girl deer..." What I didn't say was, "Without the antlers, this looks like a lobotomized labradoodle."
"I want her to be a girl!!!" DD demanded, and after a moment's paralysis (I mean, who just up and RUINS a brand new toy???????) I chopped off a second pair of antlers. I set them on my desk with the first.
Now RH came running.
"I want mine to be a girl too!!!!"
At just-barely-not-three-yet, she's not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer. After all, her toy was a RABBIT. Not a jackalope. There were no antlers to remove.
"It can be a girl or a boy, sweetie. Bunnies all kind of look the same."
She glowered at me with the sort of indignation only a toddler can muster. "I WANT IT TO BE A GIRL!"
"Fine! It's already a girl! See? No antlers!"
"I mean, I want it to be a boy!"
Shit. I picked up the toy, and rolled it around in my hands. I had noticed the little nub of silicone on the bottom, from when it had been sealed around the blinking LED light inside. I opened my mouth without really thinking.
"It is a boy! See this right there? Boy!" I put it in her hands, and walked away, my mother snickering behind me. RH lost it.
"BUT I WANT IT TO BE A GIRL!!!!"
There are some moments in life when you find yourself saying things with a straight face that your middle school self would die laughing over.
"Fine then, bring it to my desk and I'll cut off its penis."
She was delighted. The little nub- maybe three millimeters long snipped off easily with a pair of scissors, and I placed it on my desk with the antlers. By this time, DD and SI had noticed they too had little nubs on the bottoms of their toys. At five and a half, they noticed the warning signs that their mother's patience was wearing thin, and DD took the lead in approaching me cautiously.
"Mommy?" she said sweetly, "Will you please cut off all our penises?"
I blinked at her grinning face. She was even batting her eyelashes, the manipulative little monster.
And then I said what is to date the strangest thing I have ever said to my daughters.
"Yes, sweetheart, I'd be happy to cut off ALL your penises."
I sat at my desk and carefully added two tiny phalluses to the heap of dismembered toy parts on my desk. And the children were THRILLED.
"Thank you so much, mommy! Thank you for cutting off my penis!"
"Me too! Thank you for cutting off MY penis!"
"FANK YOU MOMMY!"
I was a hero.
I made to move the heap of discarded organs to the trash, but the children stopped me. "Can I see my penis?"
I gave up. "Okay, great, just crowd around mommy's desk and play with your penises all you want."
No, maybe that was the strangest thing I'd ever said to my daughters.
Oh, they loved their penises. My daughters discovered in less than ten seconds what all their male friends had learned from birth- your penis is more fun to play with than your toys.
So I left the little pile of penises on my desk for days. Every few hours, RH would wander up to me where I sat, on the phone with doctors office, most of the time, and ask loudly, "Can I play with my sister's penis?"
"Yeah, go ahead," I'd mumble, and she'd pick up the orange, purple, or yellow nub in turn.
"Mommy! My sister's penis is so SQUISHY!"
At least once, the nurse on the other end of the phone had an inexplicable coughing fit.
It only took a few days to happen, but RH started referring to all the parts in the pile as 'penises,' and only another day or two to start taking the penises for walks. "Can I take my penis for a walk?" "Yes, sure," I'd answer, while the pharmacist on the phone stopped short mid sentence.
Penises started turning up in odd locations.
"Mommy, my penis fell under the table."
"Mommy? Can I take my penis to the playground?"
"Mommy, I got my penis stuck under the DVD player!"
These are problems I never anticipated with three girls.
And then yesterday, I walked into the foyer and saw a strange sight."Sweetie?" I asked my youngest daughter, "What's that?"
"IT'S MY PENIS!" she squealed. "IT'S MY PENIS ON THE CEILING!"
Now we're having regular conversations about appropriate places to put your penis, what it's safe or acceptable to do with your penis, and generally how to take care of your penis and keep it safe.
I never expected that part of motherhood was going to be keeping a heap of filthy, torn, miniature dongs on my desk. But I look on the bright side. At least they're not in the DVD player.