“Wouldn’t it be like so funny if my penis could talk?” Henri says.
He is three years old, I am twenty years older than that and I am babysitting him. We are cousins. I am secretly pretending he is my little brother. He is openly pretending I am Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Except he pronounces it “Hariel.” When I don’t use my “Hariel” voice, (high-pitched and sing-song sweet) he gets a bit huffy and says, “But remember? You’re being Hariel.”
In the span of two hours, Henri has changed his outfit from Batman to Spiderman to his “basketball clothes” to a motor cross suit.
All of these outfits all include masks.
Now he wears nothing but the neon green motor cross mask, declares himself, “Naked Butt,” and flicks his penis.
“Yeah. It would be really funny if your penis could talk,” I answer truthfully.
“And wouldn’t it be, like, sooo funny, if your penis could talk tooooo?” he says. He’s drooling a little.
“I don’t have a penis. I told you that.”
He stares at Diego and Dora on the TV.
“I’m Spiderman DUH.”
WELL HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE SPIDERMAN WHEN YOU ARE NAKED WITH A MOTOR CROSS MASK ON, I think in my head.
Out loud, I say: “Spiderman, look at me.”
“You know I don’t have a penis right?”
“But I am pretending you do!” he says. He is frustrated with me.
“I can pretend that if I want to.” He sounds snotty.
“Of course you can.” I sound condescending.
“Because I like to, so if I like to, I can.”
So now I am a mermaid with a cock. Okay.
A few minutes later:
“Um, I have to go poop,” he says and runs to the bathroom.
“Come ere’! QUICK! QUICK!”
I walk to the bathroom.
He is standing naked in the bathroom, motor cross mask on top of his head, surrounded by the Frida Kahlo paintings and deep blue tiles, looking proudly into the toilet.
“Look at my poop! Doesn’t my poop look like a penis!?”
“Yes it does.”
“Okay. Fine. Relax. Wash your hands and wipe yourself.”
“I won’t relax ever.”
I leave the bathroom. Take a breath.
Hen likes to wipe in the hallway. It’s like he can’t stand to be in the bathroom doing it alone. While he is wiping in the hallway, the toilet paper is still attached to the holder and is dragged all down the hall. He stares at me with his mouth open while he wipes.
It’s weird because I do the same thing when I brush my teeth. I immediately leave the bathroom.
Later we watch Frosty the Snowman.
“Look at him, look at him,” Henri nudges me. “Look at his penis.”
“He doesn’t have a penis. He’s made of snow.”
“Yeah he does. Look at that stick.”
“That’s his arm.”
“It’s his penis.”
“No it’s not. I’m going to the bathroom.”
He follows me. Stands outside the door. There is no lock on the door. He opens it as I am pulling my jeans up and flushing the toilet.
“Hariel, did you know that you don’t have to wipe when you pee?”
I get bored of being Hariel and start pretending I am Eric, her boyfriend, the prince with the dark almost black hair. I do a deep voice and pretend I am looking for my girlfriend, Hariel. Hen loves this.
“Eric, look how tall I am—I grew in my sleep last night—Eric—look at my penis—it wiggles when I dance—Eric—I know how to play hockey!”
In the afternoon we go to the gym at the Community Center down the street. I shoot basketballs and Henri rides around on his scooter bike and the toy cars. He’s yelling to me from across the gym, “Hey Eric! Watch this! ERIC!”
I don’t know if I am paranoid or what but I notice a few of the moms and dads’ heads turn to check out the five foot three blond girl named Eric, dressed in boots and tights and a skirt shooting hoops.
These games are always a good idea at home.
A baby of about a year is there, staring at Henri, following him around.
When we leave and are walking up the hill home in the evening, I say, “Hen, did you see that little boy watching you? He wants to be a big kid like you.”
“Yeah, he wants to have a big penis like me!”
We go back to the house and make a train track on the rug and play with Thomas the train engine. Henri’s penis is so small that it can almost fit into the cut out of the train tracks that you use to connect them. He walks around (naked again) holding the train track in front of his penis, the track sticking out about seven or eight inches.
“That’s a big woody,” I say.
We decide to make blueberry muffins from Betty Crocker mix. He sits on the counter and stirs. I crack the eggs and add the oil and milk. I walk to the computer room to check my email.
“Eric, come ere’. Quick!”
I walk back to him. He holds up the beater with blue mix dripping off of it. Yep, you guessed it—it’s the beaters penis.
At 5pm I go home. I was supposed to have a date and I’d been pretty excited about it until he texted me:
“I want you to worship my cock all night.”
“And I want you to worship mine,” I say.
“But I just want you to want my cock.”
“Well, I want you to want mine,” I say.
“I do,” he says.
He is a twenty-nine year old three year old.
That night I sleep with one of those Guatemalan worry dolls under my pillow. My worry of the night, among others, is that I will never meet a man who is not preoccupied with his cock. I inspect all of the worry dolls before I choose one with blue pants and a bright orange shirt. As far as I can tell, the worry doll does not have a penis.
Some would beg to differ.