A Lesson in Country Circumcision

SAMSUNGI am thrilled to have Jenny Fiore guest posting today.

Jenny is a freelance writer in Wisconsin and narrowly survived two colicky babies. She loves choreographed Kung Fu sequences, Oliver Sacks, primitive camping, and wine. She currently blogs at TheMomplex.net. Her first book, After Birth: Unconventional Writings from the Mommylands (Possibilities Publishing)will be released in March 2013.

A Lesson in Country Circumcision

Our home is basically a mullet: business in the front, party in the back. The front faces a manicured suburban avenue of empty-nesters endlessly mowing and hedge-trimming. Our backyard spills into a vast expanse of corn and soy crops belonging to old farmers, so our kids are forever shedding their clothes to play naked and wild back there.

As honorary country folk, we’re the proud owners of five hens. We bought them as day-old chicks, and the kids used to hold them in their cupped hands for hours, giggling at the ticklish pecks from barely-there beaks. While the birds lost their fuzz and grew pin feathers in a brooder, my husband toiled away building a coop:

Country Circumcision

When the hens moved outside, the kids really missed having them in the house. They’d visit the girls often, marveling at what I’d promised they’d see: Grown hens eat ANYTHING, including cooked chicken and their own cracked-open eggs. The kids often smashed grass against the wiry hardware cloth, and the hens would rush over like famished POWs, violently plucking with their sharp beaks. Gradually we started bringing them people food. They loved spaghetti and scrambled eggs. Bread crumbs? Check. Mango?  Yup. Ravioli? For sure. Anything pressed against the coop was gobbled with reckless abandon.

One day I decided to show my 3-year-old how to dig worms up from our garden. Worms are like living spaghetti to chickens, and while I love all creatures great and small, I knew my son would marvel at seeing the food-chain in action. His little elbows looked so darn cute digging away. His plump buns made me laugh as he raced over to dangle worms through the hardware cloth. He was reticent about getting his fingers pecked, so I reassured him not to worry, that it wouldn’t hurt the rough pads of his fingertips.

Resuming my digging, I looked back just as my son was—what the illogical HELL!?—preparing to push his penis against the coop! Kids do the darndest things, you say? No, they do the dumbest things. I could see the wheels turning in his head. You know what I mean: What happens if I push this button on this toy? What happens if I keep dropping my fork? What happens if I put this bead in my nosehole?

“NoooooOOOOoOoo!” I screamed.

I continued, yelling:

WW Don't Feed Penis to Chickens Jenny Fiore

He jumped back as if woken from a trance. I could read on his face that lingering expression of what would have happened? So, I spelled it all out for him, how the chickens would have violently poked and torn at his penis.

“Like a worm?” he said, the whites now showing all around the irises of his eyes.

“Like a worm,” I answered, my heart still pounding. He never, ever attempted the feat again, and the party out back is still going strong. The upshot? My son wasn’t circumcised at birth—and thanks to me, he still isn’t.

Your turn:
Have you (or someone you know) ever been maimed by an animal?
What was your most awkward encounter?


  1. says

    LMAO!!! And hens are ravenous when they’re in their broody stage! We had a flock of like 20 once, we’re down to two, a rooster and a hen (they’re in their geriatric years). Your husband and mine could commiserate over building coops. But I can happily say no one here has ever been maimed by an animal unless you count the cat….but we’ve become so accustomed to her sudden outbursts of torment. We have lots of band aids.

    • says

      It’s so true! Even I get a little freaked out when we let them free range sometimes in our yard, because when I first let them out of the coop, they follow me in a ravenous little frenzy. If I run, they run, pecking at my shoes and pant legs until they eventually realize I don’t have any treats. Of course, I always give them that little tap on the tops of their heads to remind them where I am in the pecking order. I’ve since taught my kids to do the same. :)

  2. says

    Maimed by an animal? Does this count? Outside on a warm spring day in a new swirly dress my then four-year-old daughter screamed out in alarm. I rushed over and held her tight trying to calm her – she cried and yelped – of course mommy-to-the-rescue was holding the two wasps that had flown up her dress inside it – so that they could both sting her.

    • says

      “Thank God you saw him in time” is the story of our lives with this little guy. I still can’t believe he’s been to the ER only once, because he is constantly finding danger. My dad used to call me “an accident looking for a place to happen,” and I think my son got that gene.

  3. says

    Oh, this is rich! And you have given me an idea for my own crazy son moment story! Thanks so much for sharing – and for saving your son from a would-be circumcision!

  4. myteacherwritestoo says

    Reblogged this on Pennyformythoughts and commented:
    Laughed out loud at this! For all you young moms out there: write things down as they happen, cause you will forget them if you wait til “someday”.

    • says

      Hey, thanks for reblogging. So true that you have to write them. I’ve found blogging very useful on that front. It also kind of makes you pay closer attention to all the fun/sweet/weird/awful little things that make each kid so special.

  5. Ellie says

    Policeman, standing on front porch with son…….
    ‘We saw him throwing bricks off the roof of the middle school.’ (Which is of course, right next to the police statio.)
    Son to mom. We were just doing a science experiment. SMH
    Fairly sure he was careful with his private parts though.

  6. says

    My dog once grabbed my cat by the tail . . . and would not let go. I rescued the ungrateful cat, who bit me 25 times in the process. All 25 bites became infected and I spent the entire weekend in urgent care getting three rounds of IV antibiotics. I still use that urgent care on occasion, and they still call me the “cat bite lady.” Better than just “the cat lady,” I suppose.

  7. says

    That’s the funniest thing ever!

    When I was a tween, a horse bit me in the back of my shoulder. I was wearing one of those Back To The Future puffy vest things (remember those puffy coats that you could unzip and remove the sleeves to make it a vest?), so it didn’t break the skin, but it hurt like hell. When I came in the house crying, my grandmother said, “Why didn’t you bite him back?!” She thought it was funny. If I could have punched her in the face, I would have.

  8. says

    For three years I researched a book to help parents make a decision about circumcision (http://thecircumcisiondecision.com) and heard every single (repeat: every single) joke there is about circumcision. Only one was worth repeating. This post is without a doubt the most humorous and best told story — and it’s by a female; not a male! Well done is all I can say! Well done! And glad, too, that it has a “happy ending,” as the saying goes. Can’t wait to read Ms. Fiore’s book — and watch her career as a writer continue to grow.

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