I love being a father. There are so many life-changing things that go along with fatherhood – and so many incredible comforts that come from having that little beast in my life. But you also know that being a father means life changes and discomforts too – fatherhood would be too perfect if it were all about being proud and comfortable all the time.
There are a lot of awkward uncertainties I face in fatherhood: How do I provide for my family? How do I teach my son all of the right lessons in life? How do I protect my son from danger?
And how, I’ve got to ask, am I supposed to snuggle with my kid when I wake up with morning wood?
This is a serious question. It’s the least popular and most awkward topic of fatherhood, and one that every single father in the world thinks about.
Morning Wood has a real name – nocturnal penile tumescence – and unless you’ve got erectile dysfunction, it actually happens multiple times during the night and early morning. Scientists aren’t really sure why it happens, but it does, and these non-sexual boners happen daily if you’re a normal, healthy dude.
I am, by most measures, a normal, healthy dude. And I don’t think it’s TMI for me to say that I wake up every day absolutely stacked. Like, I mean, there’s no hiding it.
So, when my son wakes up in the morning and runs into our room to snuggle with us, I just don’t know what to do. I love snuggling with my wife and son, and nothing starts a Saturday off better than putting your kid between you and your wife (or hey, whatever partner you fancy) and hugging it out.
But again, I don’t know how I’m supposed to do this comfortably when I’ve got a raging erection.
On one hand, my son is a boy, and has his own pickle. He gets erections, and acknowledges them. In one of the more hilarious moments of fatherhood, my son, still two years old, announced to a room full of people on our family camping trip that his “weenie is up.” And because of the laughter that erupted from it, he then moved person to person and reminded them.
So, it’s possible that I can just snuggle with him as I please and assume that if I don’t make a point to mention it, he won’t either. On one occasion, he did actually grab for it, but I think only because he wasn’t sure what was under the sheet and thought I was hiding one of his toys in our bed. Sorry kid, that’s actually – ahem – momma’s toy.
On the other hand, I can try to talk to him. But, he’s three. Inevitably, anything I say will be too complicated. He doesn’t know biology, and isn’t particularly ashamed of his parts yet. And though we’ve had the “those are privates” conversation, it doesn’t go much further than that.
What I do – I either put a pillow over my junk, or I roll onto my stomach and position my hips so my leg is in the way of my unit. This also helps with getting kicked in the onions, which any father can tell you, is not the way you want to start a day.
So tomorrow morning, when my son runs in the room and snuggles up to me, I’ve got to find it in myself to not focus on the terrible madness in my pants. Besides, it might actually help make the monster erection go away to just think of something else: my family, all the love we have, and how my family accepts me no matter how I present myself.
Here’s to nocturnal penile tumescence for reminding me that in all the amazing comforts of fatherhood, your kids can illustrate just how embarrassed you can get about your own biology.