My day as a man…

I don’t have penis envy. I am extremely happy with my vagina. It’s served me well over the years and considering I gave natural birth to two of my four sons, it’s still in pretty good condition. Just not as pretty as it used to be, so my husband tells me. But I would like to know what it’s like to live with a penis for a day. One that is attached to me that is, not spend the day with my husband.

After giving it great thought over the last few years, ( I clearly have too much time on my hands), it’s come down to three items on my ‘gender kicker bucket list’. Yes, three. Of all the things I could do as a man for a day, only three of them really interest me.
I’m not interested in lifting heavy things because I can do that already – I have a husband to do it for me. If he’s not around then someone else would probably lend a hand. I have big boobs so getting a man to help wouldn’t be too difficult.

I don’t want to pee standing up, because I can do that too, if I really feel the need. I tried once as a child, much to the disgust of my mother, and it wasn’t that hard. My aim certainly wasn’t any worse than that of my three brothers, if anything I was more particular about the mess I left behind. Although, if you are a man the world is your toilet. There’s no waiting for the next roadside cafe that has clean loos, no lining up at music festivals until your bladder breaks and you’re afraid to laugh, or cough, or breathe.

And I don’t really want to have sex because a man does all that work and ends up huffing and puffing and lathered in sweat for a three second orgasm. Count it, one cat and dog, two cat and dog, three cat and dog . That’s it? Jesus, I’ve had sneezes that have lasted longer. Admittedly he is biologically guaranteed of having an orgasm, unlike women. If it’s up and it’s working then it’s going to come, eventually. No thanks. I like a woman’s orgasm much better – our equipment doesn’t flail and sag after an orgasm either, so the sky’s the limit.

But before we discuss my three activities, let’s set the scene first. My gender change is a complete and utter mind and body swap. I am not a woman in a man’s body because then I would still think like a woman and would still, essentially, be a woman. No, I am a man, through and through.
The first thing I would do as a man is to get a blow job. No doubt about it. I want to know what all the fuss is about, because let’s face it, men do carry on a bit when it comes to oral sex. And if I’m only going to experience a three second journey to bliss and back then someone else is going to do all the work to get me there.

Secondly, I’d like to understand the power of boobs, exposed thigh, and bum cheek. What is it about these three body parts that will reduce a man to a blathering, stammering, dribbling deer in the headlights? My hubby’s an intelligent, driven guy, but when I flash him, he turns into a village idiot. An award winning night of television for him is getting to see boobs in more than two shows. No wonder he loves each season of Underbelly.

Lastly, I would like to be able to belch, fart and adjust / scratch my nuts in public. It’s perfectly acceptable for a man to do all of these while he’s having a conversation, drinking beer, watching sports or attending to a barbeque. Compare that with a woman who does the same and suddenly she’s a feral. (We’ll compromise and let the woman scratch her hoo-ha in the absence of nuts, seeing as our nuts are actually our ovaries and scratching them in public would attract more than just a disapproving glance.)

And a man? What would he do if he could be a woman for a day? I asked my husband, who pondered this question for all of five seconds, which is about three days quicker than when he chooses a paint colour. His answer, “I’d stay at home and play with my boobs all day.” Bless his simple soul.
Would being a man for a day interest you?

The toddler strategy…

Toddlers are nature’s birth control. There’s no doubt about it. The terrible twos is nothing compared to the “oh my god, is that wine bottle empty already” threes. It’s a testament to parental love that most of us made it to the age of four without our parents selling us, trading us or locking us in a cupboard for eighteen months.

So, here’s an idea: instead of lecturing teenagers on the perils of unprotected sex, let’s just lob them with a toddler for a weekend. Let them experience the ultimate consequence of unprotected sex; it’s not just a myriad of sexually transmitted diseases and a wet patch they have to deal with. Try living with a bellowing, tantruming, three year old whose vocabulary consists of three words: no, mine and AAAARRRRGGGGGHHHH! After that, a lifetime of herpes won’t seem so bad. (We just won’t tell them that the great parts of parenting far outweigh the bad days!)

So far this year, my three year old has accidentally head butted me and chipped three teeth, refused to comply with the ‘sitting on our bottoms on the couch’ policy as he bounces along like Captain Kangaroo, and takes an open buffet style approach to the locked pantry and fridge and then isn’t hungry for dinner. In fact, he picks his nose and eat his own boogies more frequently than he eats my cooking.

For a good six months he made his presence felt with a series of ‘surprise poohs’ left in various parts of the house and garden. There’s really nothing more confronting than finding half a turd and not having a clue where the other half is lurking. There have been surprise poohs left on the outdoor dining setting, on top of both the dog kennels, mushed into the carpet with my favourite baking spatula (RIP baking spatula, I miss you), and smeared across mirrors and walls like a mural with various household items stuck to it for texture. He’s even shat in an upturned bessa brick in the backyard.

He has increased his fine motor skills by tracing the grout between our tiles with various coloured textas, drawn on his brother’s homework and spilt so much food and drink on the couch that it resembles a ten seater petrie dish. In public as he licks shop windows and menu boards and leaves great cascades of saliva in his wake, (not often, but how many times does it have to happen to be embarassing?)

Yet despite all this we still love him. Why? Because he’s intolerably cute, that’s why. He has cheeks that flop and bounce with each step he takes, eyes like endless wells of dark chocolate, chunky thighs that would make a good meal, flat feet that splat on the ground when he walks and the most gorgeous little bum with the perfect amount of wobble. His smile is a mile wide and his eyes close so hard when he grins that it looks as though his eyeballs are being forced backwards into the cavity of his head. He laughs like a squeaky toy and still has that little child voice: soft, sweet and chirpy. He smells better than any home baking and my favourite part of the day is snuggling up with him at bed time and inhaling his delicious scent. But most of all, he’s cuddly, snugly, smiley and manages to erase my memory of all the toddler-esque things he does with four little words, ‘I wub you mum.’

A letter to my body…

Dear Body,

Today I have decided to tell you that I love you. It’s taken me a great many years to figure this out and express it. Sorry. Better late than never, I guess? It’s not about what size jeans I fit in to, or what I look like in a mini dress. It’s about loving you for everything you have done for me, and most of all, it’s about respecting you and your needs.

Thank you for carrying me from adventure to adventure when I was a little girl. So many falls, scrapes, knocks and trips, but you stayed strong. You allowed me to crawl, walk and run. To climb trees, to skip, to play chasey with my friends, to dance and squeal with delight at being able to stay up past dark and play spotlight in the trees. Because of you, I got to play and play until I was breathless and exhausted every day, then crawl into bed and recharge to do it all again the next day.

The teen years – urgh! Horrid puberty, the onset of periods, growing of breasts, explosion of pimples and regular broken hearts. But you stayed strong, despite my stupid idea to take up smoking because it would help me to control my weight and make me look cool – it didn’t of course, but I was too ignorant to understand the damage I was doing to my Bronchitis-plagued and Asthmatic lungs. Consumption of too much diet cola drinks instead of water – my poor, poor kidneys.

My twenties – God bless my kidneys and liver because lord knows they did more than their fair share of work during my twenties. Too much partying, not enough sleep, working too hard and not eating the right foods, drinking enough water or thinking long term about my health, because I was invincible. Although I did give up cigarettes when I was twenty-two ; one of the best things I have ever done. Suddenly, at the age of twenty nine, I realised my body had to last me a life time. A LIFE TIME. Time to wise up. Time to change.

My thirties – despite years of abuse and neglect, and only a few of kindness, you managed to create, grow, deliver and nurture four big, healthy babies in seven years. Four fat little bubbas, each with a huge head (Karma?) and a strong appetite. During this time I was pregnant for a total of three years, I breast fed for a total of four years and lost approximately two years of sleep with their around the clock feeding. But still, not only was my body strong enough to survive extreme sleep deprivation, exhaustion, pregnancy and births, it was strong enough for me to continue all of my other activities, like working, relaxing, being a wife, friend and co-worker as well as a strong return to fitness.

My forties – they’ve only just begun. But it’s now that I realise what an incredible gift I have in my beautiful healthy body. It has stretchmarks from pregnancy, but I like to think of those as tiger stripes. It has separated abdominal muscles from four large bubbas, meaning that tight tops or bikinis are out, but I prefer to think of it as a ‘renovation’ to the home my babies grew in. My thighs have cellulite, but I prefer to think of it as hail damage from weathering all the storms of my past. My hair is greying (prematurely) and my skin is developing lines, but that’s ok because a lot of worry and hard times have gone into those greys, and millions of smiles and laughs have creased my once smooth skin. I don’t look like a supermodel, but then again, I never did, so why beat myself up about it now?

I do Yoga to heal my body from my teens and twenties, from my breeding thirties and to calm the constant chatter in my mind from being a super busy mum, wife, friend and employee. My body needs to last me for, maybe, another forty years, so if it’s falling apart now, what hope does that give me for the state it will be in when I’m fifty, sixty or seventy? No, I love my body. I listen to my body. I am going to do everything in order to ensure my body is in the best possible health for the rest of my life, because, hopefully, that’s going to be a long time. It’s the least I can do for it – considering how much it’s done for me.
Lots of love and gratitude,
Sarah xxx

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, LOVE YOUR BODY.

A beginner’s guide to labour and birth…

My first experience at giving birth was filled with self induced terror. I was petrified of the unknown. Would I be able to bear the pain? How much would it hurt? Would Jason think less of me if I opted for pain relief? If I allowed him to see the birth – like a front row seat at the ‘action’ end of the bed – would he ever lose the image of a human being emerging from my girly bits? Or in ten years time would he still see a smashed up vagina in place of my face? So many questions, no answers. So here’s what I ‘ve learnt during two natural births and two caesareans…

Firstly, let’s get the elephant out of the room – giving birth is a beautiful experience. Ignore other’s horror stories. Your vagina will not:

• Explode,
• Be ripped in two,
• Require a reconstruction or transplant, or
• Remain so stretched that your uterus will fall out as you walk down the street.

Everything will go back to how it was prior to giving birth. Your vagina is like a concertina – an organ that old Italian men play with a monkey sitting on top. Not that your vagina will have a monkey sitting on top, or an old Italian man playing with it, (but hey, whatever floats your boat is cool with me) – but it will s-t-r-e-t-c-h. That is what it’s designed to do, so like a piece of elastic, it will contract again afterwards.

You may have some scars if you require stitching, but unlike bullet wounds, stabbings or spectacular falls as a child, it is best not to display them to onlookers at backyard BBQ’s or enter into ‘my scar is bigger and better than yours’ competitions at local bars. That would be icky.

Be prepared that, at the birth, your partner may be confused, dazed, totally useless and possibly unconscious on the floor if he ventures down the other end of the birthing bed in order to see his baby crowning. Parking the car is likely to be his finest moment of the evening. But don’t worry, there’s a perfectly normal explanation for this:

He’s a man.

We all know that men are repulsed by the word ‘period’ and all the relevant associations. My husband refers to it as being ‘broken’ or ‘unserviceable’ . This is due to his former occupation as a military pilot. If a helicopter was not able to be used it was ‘unserviceable’ and the saying has now transferred to me. Charming, I know.

Men seem to require sedation and lose all mental agility around:

• the word ‘period’,
• when women discuss periods, or,
• when a feminine hygiene product advertisement comes on television, particularly that one that starts off with, “We all know that vaginas leak at times…”

So expecting him to cope in a constructive manner with the birth of his baby is perhaps overly optimistic. Put him in front of a Rambo, Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Expendables movie and the blood fest is welcome. Have that same blood fall out of a woman’s vagina and he falls to pieces.

In all honesty, most men don’t know what to do with themselves during labour and birth. This is because they are ‘fixers’ and ‘problem solvers’ but in this situation, they are powerless to do anything other than offer emotional support , which is ironic because it’s usually not their forte.
So, what do you do? Make friends with your midwife – she’ll look after you. Trust in your own body that it knows what to do and don’t over think it. You haven’t had to consciously build a baby in the preceding nine months, your body has just done it on auto pilot. So let it happen again during the birth – this is what your body is designed to do.

Enjoy the most incredible experience of your life and watch in awe as your big, strong man turns into a teary, emotional mess as he holds his child in his arms for the first time, because that’s the moment you get to watch him fall in love with the precious gift you’ve given him. After that, settle back and bask in all the worship he has to give you, particularly those that come in the form of a diamond big enough to build a three storey house on.

A mother’s training ground…

 

It’s amazing the amount of sympathy I get when I tell people that I am the mother of four boys.

“Oh really? You poor thing…” they say, clutching their chest as though they are about to have a coronary.

But being in the minority isn’t new to me.  I grew up with three big brothers.  No sisters.  I was an ‘after thought’ and my introduction to the family coincided with my mother using me as a live mannequin to educate my eight and ten year old brothers about the differences between boys and girls.  Sex Ed 101.  It still sends shivers down my spine to this day.

You can imagine, with three brothers, my life was pretty rough and tumble.  I could kick a footy and throw over arm before I could write my own name, lived in jeans and shorts and was eleven before I noticed my eyes were green.  The scars on my body resemble a road map to a childhood not spent in front of a television.

I learnt to ‘suck it up’ and ‘not be a princess’ early,  as my brothers farted on my head, tickled me until I wet my pants and forced me to hit myself in the face with my own hand.  I was paid twenty cents to walk two kilometres on dirt roads to get their goodies at the shop.  I was even paid the whopping sum of one  dollar to clean week old vomit off my brother’s shoes after his 21st birthday party.

In my first year at school I came home with a black eye, the result of some little horror’s temper. Thinking it was dirt my mother scrubbed and scrubbed with a flannel until it dawned on her that the dirt was swelling.

Incensed, my oldest brother, a tall fifteen year old, taught me to fight like a boy.  By the end of our lessons I had mastered being able to wind someone, so when he told  me to hit him, I did.  He fell forward like a broken sapling, gasping for the air that had been forced out of his lungs by my tiny, but well trained, fist.  He returned the favour as soon as he was able to stand upright and then it was my turn to gasp for air.  I was five.  Suck it up princess.

So as you can see, my childhood was the perfect training ground for life as a mother of four boys.  In fact, it’s been invaluable. Nothing gets my eldest boy out of bed in the morning like a threat to fart on his head.  It beats water sprays, promises of an early night or taking him to school in his pyjamas.

I can even share my pearls of wisdom with them, such as: don’t be the last brother to use the toilet at night.  Either hold on to it until morning or go first, because the stench will probably kill you.  At the dinner table it’s eat or be eaten – lick all your food in full sight of others so that wandering hands won’t be tempted to remove it from your plate.  And my favourite, take any opportunity you get to take the piss out of your brothers. When they do the same to you, cop it sweet.  This is the part in your life where you learn not to take yourself so seriously, because I promise you, your brothers will fight each other to be the one to prick your balloon should your feet ever leave the ground. God bless family.

The only Vulva in the house…

“Mum, we’re learning sexuality education at school,” says Ethan, my seven year old son.
“Already? But you’re only in grade two.”

“What do you mean, mate?” asks my husband, Jason.

“I can name all of our toilet parts,” he says confidently, ” penis, scrot-chum, vagina…”
“Great, well done,” I say. Not exactly dinner conversation, is it? “So, what else happened today?”
“Well,  I know that you have a viola, mum.”

I choke on my own saliva, “whaaaat did you say?”

Jason is sniggering in the background while my jaw bounces off the table.

“I said, I know that you have a viola, you know, down there.” Ethan points to his crotch, a gentle shade of pink creeping across his face. At least he has the good grace to blush.
“No Eth, I don’t have a viola, down there,” I reply. “Good lord Jason, what the hell are they teaching these kids?”

“Yes, you do.” His little chin sticks out with great indignance.
“Ethan, if there was a large violin in my girlie bits, don’t you think I’d know about it?”

“Oh, wait. No! It’s a Volvo. That’s it, you have a Volvo.”

Jason is now openly laughing.

“No, it’s not called a Volvo either,”  I say.
“A vulture?” Now he’s just guessing.
Jason has graduated to hysterics, tears running down his cheeks as his face paralysed.

Ethan  catches on that he has an audience and follows his father’s lead, even though he has no idea what he’s laughing at.

“No! It is certainly not called a vulture. A vulture is a bird that eats dead meat. Only an idiot would put his penis near that.”
“Stop, stop! …can’t breathe,” Jason gasps. What’s the next step from hysterics? Heart attack?

“Why would any man want to put his penis near a vulture?” Ethan asks innocently. The expression on his face tells me that the sexuality education hasn’t gone into details yet – thank god.

“He wouldn’t. It’s not called a vulture Ethan. It’s called a…”
“A Vulva! That’s it mum! You’ve got a Vulva.”

Great. My seven year old son knows the name and location of my Vulva. Excellent.

Jason has no hope of composing himself any time soon. Every time he looks at me he’s off again, thumbing the tears away from his eyes, his face the colour of a vine ripened tomato.

So there you go. Life as the only female in a house of five males can be tough. Sure, I am the Queen and Princess rolled into one, but I am also the odd one out. The minority. The lonely girl.  The only one with a Vulva.

The unflushable beast…

Our son did enormous poohs. Not lots of pooh, just one long turd the size of my forearm. The police could have used it as a trudgeon. The main problem was that each turd was so huge it was impossible to flush. I flushed one six times and it still didn’t go away. It was like a submerged crocodile, lodged in the bowl glaring at me. In fact, I’m positive that it had eyes that followed me around the bathroom as I pondered my next move.

Beating it to death with the toilet brush yielded no results either. God knows what these turds were made of; because it wasn’t regular human waste we were dealing with. These turds had the molecular structure of diamond encrusted titanium and the density of a black hole.  They were impervious to the mere flushing of water.

Leaving one to ‘disintegrate’ over night was a tough choice to make.  Luckily we have two toilets in the house because the ‘let the sleeping log lie’ plan rendered one toilet uninhabitable. No one wanted to be in the same room as the dormant turd because it was just plain scary. Its presence resulted in the accumulation of a dark energy that freaked all of us out. I even made my husband get out of bed to close the lid of the toilet in case it slithered out and tried to kill us in our sleep.

The next morning I entered the bathroom confident that our plan had worked.  All that was needed now was a quick flush and the turd would be gone. Nothing of organic material could survive being immersed in water over night. It would have absorbed so much water that it had collapsed in on itself.  One flush should all that was needed, maybe two.  And so it was done – the flush and then another for luck.

Lifting the lid my heart went from a rumba to completely still.  No! It’s not possible! Nothing can survive six flushes, a toilet brush clubbing, an overnight immersion, and another two flushes. What in God’s name is this thing made of?

“Jason?” I called out to my husband. “It’s still here. It just won’t go away.”
My husband, ever the problem solver with a crafty lateral mind, thought about it for a moment and then looked at me, shaking his head.

“I can’t believe I’m going to do this, but…” as he disappeared into the garage.

My mind was racing, as it usually does when he’s on the case.  What brilliant plan had he come up with?

The hinges on my jaw broke when he reappeared with a three foot long hand saw in his grasp.

“Step aside. This may not be pretty,” he said, passing me and confronting the turd.

I watched mouth agape, eyes the size of hubcaps as my husband dipped the hand saw into the bowl and began to saw the turd into three pieces. Jason’s a big, strong man, and although he didn’t raise a sweat, he certainly put some elbow into it.

He flushed, once, twice, three times and then finally raised his hands in victory.

“It’s gone. Thank god, it’s gone,” he said.

Other than a few skiddies, there was nothing to suggest that it had even been there in the first place and peace was restored again.

Until the next night, when our son laid another monster turd. But this time, we were prepared. We knew how to defeat the beast.  And so it continued, the laying and the slaying every second night until our son would just yell, “Dad! I’ve done a pooh. You’re gonna need the saw again.”

We were glad when his pooh returned to normal, human sized portions because we had visions of him living in his own house when he is older, having a nice girl over who uses his bathroom and emerges asking,

“Luke, I understand the toilet brush in the loo, but what’s with the saw?”