Freudian

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Boone’s very concerned about my lack of penis these days. Every day he asks, “Mama, do you have a penis?” and every day, I have to answer in my most measured feminist-who-does-not-have-penis-envy voice that no, I do not have a penis, I have a vagina. Still, the questions keep coming, followed closely by Boone’s pity. “Maybe it’ll grow,” he says, or “maybe it’ll grow back to normal?,” he suggests—hopefully. Today, convinced that I must be hiding it somewhere, he asked if my penis was in my belly. Naturally, I had to explain that my reproductive organs are, in fact, inside my body and I can grow babies in there. So there, take that male privilege!

Poor Boone, he’s been trying to figure out the difference between the sexes for nearly a year now. Last year when he first came across the concept of “woman,” he kept pointing to pictures in his story books, asking “maaaa?” (man?) and “wo wo?” (woman?). He just couldn’t figure out the difference. In the end, he decided it must be something to do with having long hair and/or carrying a bag. But then one day, as I was putting him in his car seat, he pointed to me and asked if I were a man. I told him that I was a woman. (I have long-ish hair and I usually carry a bag, after all.) He pointed at himself, saying “wo wo” to which I had to respond “No, you’re a man.” The whole interchange was beginning to sound a lot like South Park’s “you’re a towel” sequence. So, I added, “Actually, you’re a boy.” He then put his hand on his crotch and said “boy, weeeee!”

Foolishly, I thought that was the end of the conversation. Little did I know that a year later, I would be subject to daily Freudian analysis regarding my “lack.” I think I might have to intersperse his bedtime stories of diggers and aliens in underpants with a few light readings of Simone de Beauvoir…

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