Of Cups and Jockstraps (or the Strangest Conversation I've Had With My Son)
Our Saturday morning started out like this.
"Get it off, Mom, get it off now!"
"Are you sure everything's in there OK?"
"I think so. I don't know. Can you check?"
"Um, I don't know what I'm checking for. If everything's in there, it should be OK."
"But mom, it huuuurrrrrttttsss!!"
No, we weren't talking about a backpack, or a shoe, or anything else that's top of mind when you think about what you cram yourself into. We're talking about my son's first jockstrap — or, more accurately, his third one, because the whining and screaming here pales in comparison to what we heard the first two times we tried this.
I knew this day would come. I just didn't think it would come in third grade. But when the little league commissioner blasted parents with an email about protection — chest and groin — I immediately sent my husband and son to the local sports store to purchase a cup and chest protector. Sure there was some grumbling (on both parts), but they came home with a boxer brief with a slot for a cup (and a size-large cup), and I thought we were on the way to little league success. The cup became a joke around the house until the first game of the season, when he went to put it on and all I heard was screaming coming out of his bedroom.
"It pinches! It hurts! It's kiiiilllliiinnnnggg me!"
"You can't walk onto the field without it. I'm sure all of the boys are going through this."
"Why are you torturing me?"
"Didn't you and Daddy try this on at the store?"
"Yeah. Kind of. But Mom, it hurts!"
This went on for about an hour with tears and a few thrown baseball gloves before we got him on the ball field. Every boy in the outfield looked a bit more "manly" than they had at batting practice earlier that week, and they spent the entire game "adjusting themselves" and walking, well, a little zombie-like. My son wobbled off the field with a pained look on his face that didn't leave until he was in the car and the cup came out.
This time I went to the store myself. If you thought bra shopping was confusing, you haven't walked up to a wall of family-jewels protectors. I pulled down every cup, jockstrap, and boxer brief I could find only to be met with strange numbers — 29-33-34. Did they really want me to measure my son's penis? Who are these people?! After a short — and mortifying — conversation with the teenage boy charged with running the department (I made it short; I couldn't stand there any longer), I discovered the numbers referred to my son's waist size, and the cups came in small, medium, and large. I went home with an array of products ready to tackle this beast the best way I knew how. It was then that I had the strangest (and funniest) conversation I've had with my son in my nine years of parenting.
"Let's try the jockstrap since the brief isn't working."
"You want me to put that thing on my privates? How?"
"I don't know, but I think we can figure this out."
"Mom, I don't think this is right."
"Does everything fit in there? Is it covering everything?"
"Mom, my junk doesn't fit."
"OK, maybe you need a bigger cup?" At this point, Dad is beaming with pride. "Oh wait, I think the cup is upside down. The skinny part goes on the bottom."
"This is just weird. No way I am wearing this thing."
"OK, let's go back to the brief, with the smaller cup, maybe there was too much movement in there." Dad's not too happy about the size reduction.
"This may work. I don't know. I'm done. I don't care anymore. Whatever."
Fast-forward to game number two, and we went through the outburst above before he walked onto the field. It was better this time — at least the pained look was gone from his face. But it wasn't perfect. I don't think it will ever be. He just needs to get used to it.
Now, instead of whining and complaining about "the device," I'm finding myself uttering words and phrases I never thought I'd find coming out of my mouth.
"Hey, don't fling that jockstrap at me."
"Your cup doesn't belong on the dining room table!"
"Don't you dare chase after your brother with that cup!"
"Stop comparing your cup to your teammates' cups!"
"Don't forget to move the cup when you go to pee!"
That last one is because the team likes to go pee in the river between innings, and I don't think my son has any clue how to do it without getting his cup sopping wet. I call this #momsofsonsproblems.