“Tuli” Trials and More

I have a godson that I spoil to death.

He’s lived with us from birth and he’s the little man of the house. And if we’re honest, everyone one of us would say that he has us wrapped around his little finger.

But he learned early on that I’m the biggest pushover. When I still lived in Davao, we would go on regular "dates" consisting of me first choosing a book to read, then finding a restaurant and feeding him to his heart’s content, with a little more room in his cute toddler tummy for takeout. (It’s amazing how early men develop their appetites.)

"Ate Pipi, kelan tayo mag-date?" He’d ask me with his biggest smile, showing the adorably low count of his not-so-pearly-kiddie-whites. And my heart would just melt. I’d then dress him up, take him on a grand outing where I would officially not refuse him anything.

Once, while I was waiting for my ride outside, he sat by me, refusing to heed the calls of his mother to go inside. He then explained seriously to her, "Bantayan nako si Ate Pipi Ma, kay basig kawatun." (Translation: I’m watching over Ate Pipi because someone might steal her away.)

Can I hear a resounding "aaaaaawwww"? How’s that for pogi points?

He cons me into playing Snakes-and-Ladders with him and after the one time I forgot to buy him pasalubong after a harried sem in law school, guilt-tripped me into NEVER forgetting his present after I found out that he had quietly asked his mother, "Di na ako love ni Ate Pipi, di man niya ako bilhan regalo?"

Part of the delights of going home to Davao is having a kid follow me around everywhere and basically, just get under my feet. Annoying to some extent, but while I often affectionately call him "samukan", I secretly can’t get enough of him. I love it when he sits beside me while I read and he opens up an Archie digest (from the collection that I have since passed on to him) and pretends to read. He has since graduated to reading random words over my shoulder while I work on my laptop. Legalese, apparently, doesn’t deter him.

I love sharing his life and am just as proud as his Mom is of his excellent Report Card. But one morning, my Mom brought up something that had me, and everyone else in the house at a loss.

"Nerc, kelan mo ipapatuli yan?"

Everyone immediately burst into laughter and confused he started to cry.

We quieted down and since then have talked about it behind his back, calling it the "Big T" and generally just floundered around with no idea what to do.

I mean, hello? Everyone, and I mean, EVERYONE in the house, with the exception of our little devil, is female. This is something we never had to go through. Is younger better or should we wait until he’s a bit older and can understand that we’re not subjecting him to physical mutilation for the heck of it? (But why ARE we subjecting him to it?) Should we wait until his classmates start taunting him with "Pisot" (as one friend’s story goes), so he can’t wait to get it done? Will he hate us for life? Just how much pain is involved? How long does the healing period last? How do you talk to him about it? How do you talk to him about it without laughing? Especially when after it’s mentioned to him he then says, "Magpatuli rin si Ate Tiffy."

And how do I find the answers to these questions?

Imaginary Conversation with Male Friend #1:
Me: There’s something I want to ask you
MF: Sure, what’s up?
Me: Ehm…are you circumcised?

No good right? But I mean, come on, do I immediately assume that he’s circumcised just because most everyone is and come right out and ask for gory details? What if he’s not?!?

Imaginary Conversation with Male Friend #2:
After I ask about the "Big T"…
MF: Tiffy, I’m not circumcised.
Me: Oh. Ehm. Good for you.

And I could probably deal with the embarrassment. I’ll get over having to ask certain questions, but how, oh how, will I do it without getting extremely unwanted mental images into my head????


All I know is, they wear skirts after.

Right. Skirts I can deal with. I may not know much about the Big T but if my favorite kid has to go through it, then he’ll be at his fashionable best, damn it!