Eden M. Kennedy

you've come to the right place

Eden M. Kennedy is the co-author (with Alice Bradley) of the book Let's Panic About Babies! (St. Martin's Press, 2011).

A former college-radio DJ, Mrs. Kennedy has driven cross-country six times in a Volkswagen Bug and enjoys standing on her head.

Currently she works at a public library and is finishing writing her first novel.

Jackson takes after Jack in so many ways. He has the same hands, the same feet, the same chin, the same eyes, the same way of lifting his gun, pointing it straight between my eyes, and saying, "I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots, or only five? In all the confusion, I kind of lost track myself."

But there's one way he doesn't take after Jack. Jackson isn't circumscribed. Circumcised, excuse me. His foreskin (indeed, his whole penis) is still intact. This was the subject of some brief but emotional debates before the baby was born. Should the child be a boy, Jack wanted to have him cut, for a lot of reasons: most boys are, wanted his son's pecker to look like his, etc.

I, on the other hand, could not imagine someone taking a scalpel to his tiny sensitive weiner and making him scream in the most searing pain he had, or probably ever would, experience in his entire life. Even though I was later told that they do now, in fact, use a local anaesthetic before circomplexion, it still seemed beyond unnecessary: it seemed barbaric.

And yes, of the vast amount of penises I've been lucky enough to shake hands with, all but one has been circumultiplexed. And it was fine. I mean, it was unusual, and interesting, but it seemed to do the wearer no harm and we had quite a lot of fun in other non-foreskin ways, but this is a family blog since, um, about a minute ago, so if you want to hear more about my personal foreskin hoedown you'll want to buy me something with tequila in it and we'll have a nice long chat.

(I'd like to take a moment to point out an excellent site that I stumbled upon while taking a break to look for pictures of foreskin on Google and getting not nearly as much porn as I expected: circumstitions.com. The link goes to a page highlighting the treatment of circumliposuction on TV sitcoms, and there's a big chunk of Seinfeld dialogue that I thought was very funny.)

Anyway, when you have your baby at home with midwives, as I did, you're already traveling down the Nontraditional Highway, and you are calmly and nonjudgmentally handed lots of articles photocopied from scientific journals that describe how the pressure of squirming down the birth canal may be necessary for infants' brain development (i.e., C-sction kids miss out on their first big adrenalin kick), and other studies show that circumlocution can hardwire a boy's brain for pain and violence. (That link has another interesting quote from a medieval Jewish philosopher who stated unequivocally that "the real purpose of circumcision was to reduce sexual gratification." Do I now go looking for links about having sex through a hole in a sheet? Aren't you glad you came here today?)

When you have your baby at home, you learn a lot about your family. Most of them will be terrified that you or the baby will die without a large beeping defibrillator at your side throughout labor. But cooler heads will admit that they, too, were born at home, way back in 1928 (thanks, dad!). Others will discover that their father, who was born in 1925 on a farm in Indiana three months prematurely and put into a chicken incubator to either make it or not, was never circumpopulated, and managed to have a full healthy life that included, among other creative endeavors, the eruption of two manly sons. Learning this about his father helped Jack give in on the circumstinction issue. (He drew the line at cloth diapers, however, so I let him have the Huggies. Compromise is the essence of marriage.)

Once I learned that the whole "men with intact foreskin give their partners uterine cancer" thing had been overturned (take that, Anne Lamott!), I couldn't really see any health advantages to circumpimption. And since recent statistics showed that 40% (that's FORTY PER CENT) of newborn boys aren't (are NOT) being circumspliced, I knew that Jackson probably wouldn't be the only one in the locker room.

But one thing still gets under my, um, skin: most of the boys that I've seen on the changing table at Jackson's preschool are circumcircused, and they have, like, these fat little Vienna sausages bobbing around in their shorts. And Jackson has this rather aesthetic Michelangelo's David of a wang. And I'm like, does cutting off that bit on the end somehow allow the penis to splurt out and be free? Is the foreskin like some little penis corset, like penis footbinding? I know moms of children this age can be competetive about I.Q.s and speech and who knows their ABCs and who doesn't, but I'm kind of worried that my son's love tool isn't going to be monstrous enough.