Monday, October 8, 2012

A boy's first protective cup

Every boy has that moment. It’s a rite of passage. It’s that moment when they discover that their nether-regions are tender. Monkey recently had his moment.

First, a little back story. Over the summer Monkey began participating in karate. He cried at the idea of karate and we were truly doing it as an activity for Prince Charming, who had become obsessed with martial arts after watching the Avatar cartoon. Every day you could find him practicing his “bending” of the elements. It was fun to see him create awesome moves on the fly.

On the first day of karate class Prince Charming was excited and Monkey was practically kicking and screaming between the tears. My how things changed in one day. Monkey loved seeing Sensei do the moves and the kids follow along. He was motivated by what the other boys were doing.
Prince Charming quickly realized that he had trouble getting his body to copy the moves and positions. He has always struggled with motor planning and has difficulty of moving one hemisphere of his body at the same time as the other hemisphere. For him, he could focus only on manipulating his arms or his legs, but not both at the same time. It was extremely frustrating for him, and he ended up angrily shutting down and leaving the class in tears. 

Monkey enjoyed every class and has happily continued on without his little brother. One of the weekly activities is sparring. Sensei requires protective gear for the boys, including a mouth guard and a protective cup. Monkey didn’t like wearing the mouth guard, and would take it out of his mouth and lay it down on the sweaty mat. Ewww.
I didn’t even attempt getting him to wear the cup after I saw that his idea of sparring was running away from his opponent madly in circles until they captured his flags or scored points on him. He didn’t understand the concept of offensive maneuvering at all and there was really no need for us to try to cover him from head to toe in protective equipment.

Until last week. He learned the benefits of a cup from his brother.
He was harassing Prince Charming at home until the moment when the switch flipped and he became Grumpy Badger. Their interaction ended with Grumpy Badger yelling and punching Monkey…in the groin. Monkey was doubled-over, crying.
Holding himself gingerly, he hobbled and limped over to me and my husband. Screaming more than crying, he says, “He punched me in the penis! And it hurts!”

I had to bite my lip and then leave the room for a moment. I admit it. I silently chuckled behind the kitchen wall while I heard him cry to Titan about his injury. I did. I only came back into the room when I had composed myself and wiped the grin off my face.
It’s sad to say, but Monkey had it coming. He really did. He likes to push Prince Charming’s buttons and he knows exactly what to do to get a colossal reaction. We never want either of them to hit, but I think a point was made in that moment. Don’t mess with Grumpy Badger when you have pissed him off.

After that incident, I reintroduced the protective cup to Monkey. I figured it was the perfect moment, especially because his next karate class was the following afternoon. He seemed excited to try it out!
He got home from school the next day and I had him change into his karate gi. I took back out the cup and explained to him how to wear it. It looked humongous and I had no idea how he was even going to sit while wearing it. It struck me as comical.

It’s almost as if I somehow turned into a silly, giggling teenage boy in that moment. Everything just became funny. I know, I know. I may have potentially given him emotional scarring...but thankfully, I don’t think I did. He ended up catching my case of the giggles and he laughed right along with me.

He’s so skinny that the straps that go along the back of the cup just hung from his backside. He had saggy straps. Again with the laughter. Bad mommy!
Once it was on, he resembled Zohan. You remember that character that Adam Sandler played? Oh boy. Biting my lip didn’t help. More laughter. I am so bad.

Adam Sandler in You Don't Mess With the Zohan

Then, as we tried to get his pants on, the waistband wouldn’t budge over the mound of the cup. I was almost in tears with my laughter as I tried to untie his drawstring and loosen the pants up enough to get them on. Thankfully, Monkey was still laughing with me.

We got the pants on and started to tie up the gi and the belt when he decided he had to go to the bathroom. Of course. Of all the luck! I’m dying now at the absurdity of the whole thing. I helped him get out of his outfit and he waddled in to the bathroom. I gave him a moment of privacy to get back into his cup and his pants.

After a minute or so, I walked by his room to check on his progress. He was standing there naked except for his cup, actively punching himself in the groin. I mean, he’s wailing on himself. I opened the door, surprised at what I saw.
With a beaming smile he said, “I can’t feel the punches! It doesn’t hurt one bit!”

And, I lost it again. Between my peals of laughter, I redirected him to put his clothes on and stop punching himself.
He was so happy, he was literally bouncing around the house. He enjoyed wearing his cup to karate and the boys all had their moments of pretending to be hurt and rolling around the floor in fake groin pain. I was the only mom there that day, and the dads and I all had a good chuckle over our boys' antics. We even talked about that banner moment when a boy discovers the benefits of a protective cup.

Later that night as the boys got ready for bed, Titan saw Monkey running down the hall toward the bathroom, naked and in his protective gear. Thank God I didn’t see it, or I probably would have launched into another silly laughing fit. I know. Pathetic. But hilarious.
Titan told him he couldn’t wear his cup to bed, as he had hoped to do. Apparently the cup became his new favorite thing and he wanted to wear it all the time.

Monkey gave me a lot of laughter that day. It still makes me smile to think about it. I wonder when the novelty will wear off. In the meantime, I’ve learned that protective cups are fun for boys. And, funny for moms. Don’t judge me too harshly.     
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