Dress Up

By Peter Witte

September 14, 2015

Dress Up

We were having drinks at a friend's house when my two-year-old entered the room, pantless, sans diaper. Whenever his older sister and her friends played dress up, he'd get silly and play dress down. But this time he was red-faced and crying. I excused myself, brought him to the other room.

"They said, 'Go away,'" he said, and he whimpered.

"Ahhh," I said, and patted his back. "I'm sorry. Tell you what, let's go upstairs, get dressed, and talk." 

We found the diaper and pants on the stairs, then went to the guest bedroom to re-diaper, re-pants.

"Elsa said my penis is ugly," he said, referring to his sister's friend by her princess name.

I snapped, "Don't listen to her." I turned and searched the wall for something comforting to say. Over our silence, I heard princess voices in the next room.

My parental mouth has said many predictable things: truisms, clichés, things said to me decades ago. But occasionally, I surprise myself.

I looked at my son, said, "Your penis is beautiful. Okay?"

He smiled, nodded.

"Alright," I said, as I fastened the diaper, stood him up, pulled up his pants. "And remember what I said before: you can be a prince with clothes on."

Again, he nodded.

"Hey look," I said. I grabbed a pillow, stripped off the pillowcase, tucked it in the back of his shirt. "A prince cape! Now you're ready!"

"Thanks, daddy," he said, before hurrying off, bravely, back to the room where princesses ruled.

 

Photo "Take Off!" provided by Ben Morlok, via Flickr.com creative commons license.

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