I was helping Ro-Ro put on his pajamas last night when he suddenly held up his arms and yelled, “Mommy! Stop!!”
I jumped back in shock. What just happened? Did I scrape him with my fingernail? Accidentally pull his hair when I was putting on his shirt? Somehow hurt his leg when he was taking off his shorts?
“What’s the matter, Ro?” I asked him.
He stared straight into my eyes and said “I have a question.”
Honestly, this kid is so dramatic. He could have just asked me whatever it was while I was helping him step into his pajama shorts, but no. Every single question needs a stage and a spotlight around here.
“Ok, ask away.” I sat back on my heels and looked at him as I waited for the big question.
“Where’s my brain?” He tipped his head to the side as he waited for my answer.
“It’s in your head, Honey,” I told him.
“Oh.” A confused look spread across his face. “So…..it’s not in my nuts?”
His question caught me so off-guard that I actually choked on a drop of saliva in the back of my throat and broke out into one of those oh-my-God-this-is-never-going-to-stop coughing fits. I’ve never heard him call his testicles his ‘nuts’ before. Ever. I don’t even know where he picked it up from. Probably one of his older brothers. I made a mental note to discuss this with them later, even though I knew that they would probably just laugh out loud and purposely say ‘nuts’ all the time. Maybe it was best to just let it be. There are far worse terms that they could be using for their genitals other than ‘nuts’ (and with three boys playing sports and going to school, I’ll probably hear all of them eventually anyway). You really have to pick your battles around here.
“Sorry, Ro. What was that?”
He repeated in a louder voice, “Is my brain in my nuts?” He pointed to his underwear as he asked me this, just to make sure that I understood what he was talking about. I almost broke out into laughter, but I caught myself just in time.
“Nope, your brain is definitely not in your nuts.” I had to stop myself from saying that some boy’s brains are definitely in their nuts, especially once they hit the teenage years. Don’t shake your head at me….you know it’s true. I have two brothers and I remember what they were like.
“Are you sure?” he asked me, as he stepped a bit closer and looked right into my eyes.
“Yes, Ro, I’m sure. Your big, beautiful brain is definitely in your head,” I assured him.
“Oh….” He looked down at the floor and stuck out his bottom lip into the signature Ro-Ro pout. He was clearly disappointed to hear this.
“Why did you think that your brain was in your nuts?” I asked him.
“Because my brain is really important and my nuts are really important,” he explained in a matter-of-fact way. It sounded very logical for a four-year old.
“Oh, so since they’re both really important, you thought that they were both living together in your knickers?”
“Yup,” he replied, nodding his head and looking very sure of himself.
Somehow, after a long day of playing outside in the sunshine and listening to the animated conversations of three little boys for twelve straight hours, it all made perfect sense to me.
We cuddled up on his bed and read one of our favorite Dr. Seuss books, which seemed to make him forget all about his brain and his nuts. For the moment, anyway.