Dot writes: by the end of yesterday I had chomped through the other book Sarah lent me, plus one she gave me. If only I read academic books this voraciously. Maybe I would if they had more relevance to my baby (The Battle of Hastings and Nappy Rash, Learning to Roll Over with Twelfth-Century Anglo-Norman Marginal Glosses – must propose them to Routledge…) The two books were, respectively, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year, by Anne Lamott (1989), and It’ a Boy: Women Writers on Raising Sons, ed. by Andrea Buchanan (2005).
These are both American books, and they both make a big deal out of the decision whether or not to have a boy circumcised. I must say it hadn’t occurred to me to get Prawn snipped. Unless you’re Jewish or Muslim or there is a medical reason, an infection or whatnot, I can’t see the point. It’s one of those little cultural markers that tell you which side of the Atlantic you’re on. (I think the Irish and the Brits are at one on this issue, but I must check with the yoga mums.) Anne Lamott is very funny on the topic but to my mind bizarrely misled:
To begin with, I had read that penile cancer occurs almost exclusively in uncircumcised males, that uncircumcised men have much more frequent urinary tract infections, and that their female lovers have a much higher rate of cervical cancer. So there were those medical reasons, but there was also the matter of keeping the damn thing clean – you would have to cleanse the foreskin daily with, one supposes, Q-tips and 409. Who’s got the time? … I’ve got to say that I prefer the look of the circumcised unit. The uncircumcised ones look sort of marsupial, or like little rodents stuck in garden hoses. And the feel of the uncut ones is a little disconcerting, with all that skin to peel back and then the worry that it won’t stay, that it will swallow the missile head right back up. (pp. 24-5)
I’m pretty sure she’s wrong about the cancer, and she’s definitely wrong about the q-tips (= cotton buds). Poor Prawn, it wouldn’t be at all good for him for me to be trying to stretch and poke his tiny tiddler like that. And it would depend on individual taste, but my sense is that the missile head can take care of itself as well (this is a nice blog so I’d better stop there). No comment on the rodents. Men are vulnerable.