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Frank Talks: The Cupcake Penis, Santa Claus, and the Uterus Garden

by Lisa Gerard Braun 27 days ago in children

Paying attention because children deserve individualized care

Pixabay License Free for commercial use No attribution required

Look at my cupcake, Yaya!

My confusion is instantaneous. We are not in the kitchen, and we don’t have any cupcakes in the house, regardless. We also aren’t Greek, but he started calling me Yaya during his very young and extremely wise first year of life. Confusion and I are not strangers.

But, I digress.

My four-year-old grandson is fresh out of the bathtub.

He is looking at me for some confirmation and is quite pleased with himself.

He is holding his penis.

The Penis Cupcake

I looked from his viewpoint, tried to see through his eyes, and quickly rewarded him with a smile.

Oh, your penis! It does look like a cupcake, doesn’t it?

I followed up with a short and sweet reinforcement of its proper name. I strike while the iron is hot and add the 4-year-old version that boys have penises and girls don’t. He doesn’t need the whole vagina lesson and wouldn’t care. Little ones tend to have the attention span of a circus flea, so condensed versions of information work well.

I added one last piece of information before he would move on to other excitements, like Elmo.

That penis is yours. Only you, Yaya, and your doctor should touch it, okay? It is yours. You tell Yaya if anyone else says they can. His wide eyes indicated that he was processing this, unsure why I was telling him this, but tucking it away as important. I kid you not the kid studies and absorbs pertinent information.

I have planted an important seed.

He has moved on, now in jammies, and has Elmo and Cookie Monster do a dance on his bed.

Was I being ridiculous in my mini-presentation to him? I think not.

I chose to converse with him, on his level, with facts. Identifying the child and the degree of absorption they operate on is much more important than following some pre-determined schedule by anyone other than the direct caregiver.

Books, guides, doctors, educators, and even other family members do not have a one-on-one understanding of the child in play. Trust them for giving valuable tools that you massage to work for you and your child.

Rework guidance accordingly. You’re allowed.

I gave him the information he could handle.

As caregivers, parents, and grandparents, we are continually subjected to opinions based on ‘industry standards.’

I already lived on the parental guilt train of questioning myself, worrying that I wasn’t following the strict advice of outsiders. You know, the feelings we end up churning, filling ourselves with anxiety and self-doubt.

No more.

While he played and I straightened up in the kitchen, the flashbacks floated in and out of my brain. I realized that I was continuing a pattern of disseminating information based on the child.

Years ago, eyebrows would raise, and judgments were made when my kids recited a tidbit that startled adults.

At the end of the day, the child is the most important person to consider, not the clamoring critics on the sidelines. Their awareness, environment, and comprehension level are much more pertinent in your decision-making than their chronological age.

My decision made my way, on my terms, and in my words that MY grandchild could handle.

Santa Claus

My oldest daughter was very similar in her expectations of being spoken to as an equal. Her satisfaction was quick if she sensed she was being delivered truth, even if the words were presented more child-like. She was hungry for accuracy and understanding.

My daughter came to me one day with a serious, and contemplative look.

Mommy, I want to ask you something, and please tell me the truth.

She was nearing 6-years-old and could have captivated a courtroom with her laser focus and convincing intelligence.

Is Taylor Jewish?

Well, this was unexpected. I have no idea where this question is going to lead. I know my daughter’s classmates and their families. Answering is not an issue.

I slowly shook my head and said, No, they’re not. Why?

Because Mommy, Taylor doesn’t believe in Santa Claus. Jewish people don’t celebrate Christmas, so she has to be Jewish.

Taylor is significantly younger than her siblings, and we all know how that works. A teenager resides, too soon, in a young child’s brain. I wasn’t prepared for a kindergartner to reveal this information to my firstborn.

From somewhere, and somehow, I heard myself telling her a story. I weaved some truth with what we know as magic.

Those that celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th, live all around the world. Long ago, some wealthy families had big parties with decorated trees. They gave each other presents just like we do on birthdays.

A man named Kris Kringle saw how sad the children of poor families were who wouldn’t get or give presents. He started secretly making sure as many kids as he could find would also be surprised with a gift when they woke up on the big day. He was old, so he had to keep a list of names to remember them all.

There was no question as to the color of those beautiful crystal blue eyes of hers; they were wide open in rapt attention.

Everyone was talking about it. It was such a great idea, and people loved the magical feeling. They decided to combine the two names, Jesus Christ and Kris Kringle, and they started calling Jesus’s birthday, Christmas. Kris Kringle was Father Christmas, also known as Santa Claus.

Now, you already know people cannot live forever. So, when the word spread, the job became too big for one old man who wouldn’t live forever. Each family decided that they would be their own Santa Claus.

And that’s what we do.

Mommy and Daddy wrap gifts and put them under the tree. I purposely forget what they are because I believe in Santa and his magic. I just do the prep work, like an elf, and we all celebrate the birth of Jesus together. I like to be just as surprised as you do, and my heart swells watching your happiness. That’s magical.

I further elaborated that she was now in on the secret behind the magic, but maybe her brother, sister, and other friends shouldn’t be told yet. She nodded in solemn agreement and walked away, proud to be trusted.

And she deserved, had earned, and kept that trust without a peep to her siblings.

Did I feel guilty? Yes. Was I aiding and abetting her loss of childhood? Should I have just agreed that Taylor must be Jewish?

I wish I didn’t waste the heartache and stress. It took getting older for me to shed the superficial peanut gallery. They were so loud when I was a young mom.

My daughter handled it and handled it well.

My oldest had been ready. I sensed that and acted on it. I needed to trust my instincts and feel secure that I responded in her best interest.

My decision made my way, on my terms, and in my words that MY child could handle.

The Uterus Garden

It was time to explain to that same daughter, a year later when she was just 7, that I was going to the hospital for surgery. I had been tortured by fibroid tumors long enough and was done having children. Let’s remove the poisonous collection of tiny foreign entities that seemed to plague me and cut out their warm nest.

She needed to know that I would not be at school at the end of the day.

My version to her, as she poured out a million questions, was simplistic.

Women have a uterus, and it is an organ to grow babies. Sometimes, other things want to grow there, too and, can make me feel sick. I don’t want to be sick anymore. Think of a uterus as a garden. I need to remove the garden so I don’t grow weeds. They are nasty and ruin everything, especially how I feel.

A few days later at after-school pick-up, a woman hurried over to me.

In a hushed whisper, she asked how I was feeling. Eyes cast down, she apologetically told me she knew about my surgery. She felt bad, and didn’t want to embarrass me, but said I needed to know what happened.

She continued to whisper.

I asked your daughter where you were the other day. She loudly proclaimed, “She’s at the hospital having her uterus removed.”

Lisa, your daughter said it in front of everybody. The woman looked up at me to see my reaction.

I smiled.


No. Quite the opposite.

I am proud that she understood, just like I explained to her.

My decision made my way, on my terms, and in my words that MY child could handle.

Trust yourself.

You are not alone.


Lisa Gerard Braun

I am a freelance writer, blogger, and most importantly a grandmother raising my 3 year old grandson. Visit my site of inspirational stories, personal growth, and real-life views of my journey ~ you are not alone.

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