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The boy leaned forward. “Mom, we still have two more items to discuss and both involve embarrassing things that happened to my penis.”
I put my hands on the boys shoulder. “Sam, you don’t have to be embarrassed about anything when you’re talking to me. So let’s hear it.”
“Well I was up really early and I checked my laptop, and I was kind of surprised to see that Boystuff Magazine had already answered my letter.”
“Wow, especially on a weekend, Sam. Are you going to share it?”
The boy’s pajama tops had a pocket and he quickly produced the printout.”
I asked, “May I read it out loud?”
He nodded. “Sure, Mom.”
“Okay, here goes … Dear Hateful Sam”
“The powerful emotions you expressed in your letter had a profound effect on the editors at Boystuff Magazine and we decided to bump up your message and make it our top priority. Hate is a very strong emotion and left unchecked, it can be very harmful to your health … causing headaches, stomachaches, and much more … both for yourself and your step mom. We’re going to examine each of your complaints individually and see if we can help bring the two of you into a more peaceful relationship.”
“First of all, understand that you’re not alone. Millions of ‘blended’ families struggle with similar issues. Parents get divorced and Dad marries another woman. Please don’t ever say ‘I don’t have to listen to you because you’re not my real mother’. The law says otherwise until you turn 18.”
And here are our answers:
1 … I hate the way she bosses me around.) Get used to it, Sam. It’s a parent’s job. Try doing a chore without being asked. She’ll be amazed and might start liking you.
2 … I hate her for making me go to bed at 8:30 pm. ) Don’t wait for a battle. We advise boys to take the initiative. At 8:15, get into your night clothes, if you wear them. At 8:25, tell Mom, “I’m going to bed now, but I’m not tired yet. Is it okay if I stay in bed and read a book or work on a crossword puzzle for a little bit?” She’ll probably say yes and be very impressed at how mature you are. And you’ve just extended your bedtime.
3 … I hate that she insists on giving me a bath.) Same as above, Sam. Take the initiative. Tell Mom, “I’m taking a bath now. Can you please supervise me, so I know I’m doing it right?” After she recovers from shock, go to the tub and scrub the hell out of all your body parts with soap and water. After awhile, she will probably get bored and leave you alone. Don’t worry about your penis. She’s seen plenty of them. And bring a boat. There’s no age limit on having fun in the tub.
4 ,,, I hate that she makes me drink only milk.) You have no case, Sam. Milk is healthy for growing bodies, and sugared-up soda is worthless.
5 … I hate that she changed my laptop.) So? If you say you don’t look at porn, then what’s the problem?
6 … I hate her for wanting to take away my ear stud.) Follow the law, Sam. Children need permission from parents for body piercing. Tell Mom you’ll remove it after eight weeks. If you’re nice to her, maybe she’ll let you keep it.
7 … I hate her for spanking me really, really hard.) Sam, both parties need to replace violence with respect. Hitting Mom in the face with a shoe provoked a violent response in turn. Remember that for the future.
8 … I hate her for kicking me in my balls.) Trauma to the genitals is the worst thing that can be done to a boy. The intense pain reverberates throughout the body. But you must keep in mind that if you really want to have children sometime in the future, then you must eliminate calling any woman the ‘C’ word and never say it again.
Sam, if you follow our advice, then we think it’s a good bet that you and your step mom will eventually get to like each other. After all, you’re on the same team. And here’s one more suggestion … Surprise her with breakfast in bed. It will probably melt her heart.
Sincerely, the staff at ‘It’s Not Fair’, Boystuff Magazine
“Are you okay, Mom?” the boy asked.
“I was trying to wipe my eyes on my night shirt. I’m afraid the last line was correct, sweety. It did melt my heart … And I was expecting that a magazine titled ‘Boystuff’ would for sure cast me as the wicked stepmother, but they didn’t … You mentioned there was one more thing you needed to tell me.”
“Well, I don’t really want to spoil the mood. Could we talk about that later?”
I wouldn’t let it pass. “Spill the beans now, kid … We’re on a roll.”
The boy didn’t want to face me when he responded. “Well, I was happy to wake up with a penis again, but this time there was a problem. My penis wet the bed.”
I scoffed, “So that’s why you have different PJ’s on now. Always blaming your penis, huh?”
“Well, no, Mom … I was just upset. I tossed the sheet in the washer and tried to clean up the mattress with ginger ale. I guess I should put a pad on the bed.”
“Your body is just getting used to a new urinary tract. Not to worry, sweety. Little Derrek, me, did that a few times too.”
“Okay … Hey when did my dad want us to come over today?”
“Paul suggested late afternoon, maybe four or five pm.”
The boy put on a serious face while still sitting in my lap. “Then is time to talk ‘turkey’, Mom. I have a remote session scheduled for 11am today with a 15 year old boy. It’s his first one.”
“On a Sunday?”
“That’s what makes remote sessions so convenient for some patients. So if you’re willing, we can both participate. You start off the session as Sammantha, and after a few minutes you can ask if he’s seen the Avatar films. The rest is up to you. If you don’t want me talking to the boy, I can maybe scratch some helper notes at your side. Either way, I’ll respect your decision.”
“I see … So we would black out the camera for a few seconds while we switch places. Is that the idea?”
“Yes, and I wouldn’t advise doing it with an older adult, but a teen might get into it.”
“Sam, do you know the boy’s name and his topic?”
“His name is Peter Shinee, and I have no other information. That’s why you can’t show any emotion when he tells you his problems. If it’s something illegal, then we have to consider the immediate danger before going to the police … Just act like nothing startles you. Avoid saying ‘don’t do that’. Try to promote gradual changes that will produce positive outcomes.”
I pulled up a folding chair for Sam to sit near me as we set up the laptop and desk in the master bedroom. I was hoping that the 15 year old patient would not be as nervous as I was as the digital clock signaled 11:00am.
The teen was thankfully, punctual, showing up in the opposite square of my screen … he none-the-less startled me with his appearance. ‘Nerdy’ would be a good description as he sported a long sleeve white shirt, suspenders, and a bow tie. He wiggled his fingers at the camera, so I decided to speak first.
“Good Morning, Peter. It’s good to see you. I’m Doctor Sammantha Adams, clinical psychologist, and I work with people of all ages, but especially with teens, so don’t be afraid to tell me anything as it will all be kept strictly confidential between you and me. So tell me … What brings you in this morning?”
“I’m in love with my penis, Doctor Adams.”
I just rolled with it. “Okay, Peter, and when did you first realize that you had this relationship?”
“Oh, probably when I was four or five. It started with a lot of touching and my parents were upset that I was touching my crotch in public.”
“Peter, tell me, have you seen the Avatar movies with the tall blue people?”
“Oh yes … They were both great movies.”
‘Yes, they were, and that’s why I wanted to create my own avatar to speak with some of my patients. My avatar is a young boy like yourself, and you might find it more relaxing to discuss your situation with a boy rather than with an adult woman. Would you like to give it a try, Peter?”
“Oh, sure, doctor. That sounds like fun.”
“Okay, give me a few seconds, and keep in mind that the young boy is still me, Doctor Sammantha Adams.”
A moment later, Sam took my place in front of the camera and we turned it back on.
Sam waved at his patient. “Hi, Peter. This is really still me, and you can just call me Doctor Sam. How’s that?”
“Wow, hi Doctor Sam. This is so cool … But you’re not blue.”
“If I chose a Smurf as my avatar, then I’d be blue, but let’s get back to your topic, Peter. You say that you’re in love with your penis. Now tell me, what is the name you’ve given to your penis?”
The boy looked shocked. “Wait, how did you know that my penis had a name?”
Sam handled it like a pro. “Peter, most people who love something will give it a name … like a boat, a pet, a car … It’s just human nature.”
“I see … Well, the name of my penis is ‘Lucky’.”
“Okay, and is Lucky a boy or a girl?”
“Ha ha! Doctor Sam, are you joking?”
“No, Peter. Most boats are given feminine names, but they don’t look like girls.”
“Okay, well I’m pretty sure that since Lucky is a penis, he’s probably a boy.”
“And what type of help are you seeking in today’s consultation, Pete?”
“It’s not for me, Doctor Sam. I’m just placating my parents. They say I’m a freak.”
“So am I, Pete. I’m a boy trapped in a girl’s body, role playing right now as a boy. Can’t get much freakier than that …
“They also say I’m ostrobogulous. Do you know that word?”
(Sam didn’t flinch) “Yes … weird, risqué, bizarre … Let’s push beyond the name-calling and cut to the chase. Why are your parents upset with your relationship with Lucky?”
“They say it takes time away from social activities and schoolwork.”
“And does it?”
“Well, yeah, but I like being with Lucky.”
“We already got that. Pete, how many ejaculations does Lucky have each day.”
“Um, usually two … one during noon recreation at school, and one at home after school.”
“Where in the school?”
“Lovely … and is it straight sex in the stall?”
“A hand job, Pete.”
“And describe your relationship at home. Do you use a marker to draw on Lucky?”
“How did you know that? Yeah, I use a washable marker because on the days I have gym, I can’t go into the locker room like that or I’ll get teased or beaten up. Right now, Lucky’s a pirate with an eye patch. Would you like me to show you?”
“STOP right there! Don’t you ever put your penis in front of a camera. You’re a minor and you’ll get yourself in serious legal trouble.”
The patient lowered his head. “Sorry, Doc.”
“And do you shave off all your pubic hair?”
“OMG! Yeah, Lucky looks better without a beard. Doctor Sam, it’s like you know everything about me.”
“Well, Pete, if so many other boys are doing the same thing you’re doing, then maybe you’re not such a freak after all.”
“Wow, that makes me feel better, Doc.”
“Pete, I have to ask, do you ever harm yourself or harm Lucky?”
“Oh no, Doc … I would never want to hurt anyone, certainly not me or Lucky. But do you want to hear about the other things that Lucky and I do together?”
(I was marveling at the way Sammantha, in my boy’s body and high voice, could totally command a therapy session and make the patient feel comfortable enough to open up without embarrassment.)
“Nope, not important … We can say that your problem is not your relationship with Lucky. The problem you need to work on is budgeting your time between Lucky, social life, and schoolwork. What do your grades look like, Pete?”
“Umm … C plusses and B’s.”
“Peeeeeeeeeeet … You and I both know that you’re an intelligent young man and well capable of A and B work, right?”
“Well, yeah, but how did you know that?”
“I just want to know if you’re willing to work with me, Pete. In just three years you’ll turn 18 and your parents can kick you out the door if you don’t shape up. I need a firm commitment from you to follow my recommendations and then report back to me on how things are working out. Are you willing to make the effort to do that?”
The boy vigorously nodded. “Yes, Doctor … I am … What should I do?”
“Get out a pen and paper and write down what I’m about to tell you.”
“Okay, got it.”
“First, you’re going to quit jacking off during noon rec. Those public toilets can give you some exotic diseases. Instead, you’re going to go to the library and read my book online. It’s called Freak: A Journey of Self Evolution. Aside from learning some good stuff, if you reduce your ejaculations from two to one each day, the one you have at home will be twice as intense and twice as pleasurable, as long as you don’t bother Lucky during the school day. Right now, Lucky is not happy that you’re overworking him.”
“Second, you’re going to calculate all the time you spend with Lucky at home and divide it in half. Use the other half on your studies. Think of your future. You need to get your grades up, Pete. We’ve established that you’re intelligent, so there’s no excuses for scoring a full letter grade below your abilities. Take pride in yourself.”
“And third … Tomorrow morning when you go to school. I want you to check the list of every extra curricular activity they offer … and pick one. And not a virtual one like we’re doing now. You need to work with live human beings … to learn to work well with others. Just be nice to people and you’ll make friends. Do you think you can do that, Pete.”
He nodded. Yes, I can, Doctor Sam … but I have another problem.”
“My older sister, Bernice, took a video of me playing with Lucky with her cell phone and I’m worried that she might show it to her friends.”
“Is she home now?”
“Go get her. I want to talk to her as an adult woman.”
(Sam blacked out the screen and asked me, “Do you think you can handle this, Mom?” I replied, “We’re a team, aren’t we?”)
I took a seat and waited till the high school girl came into the camera. “Hi Bernice, I’m Doctor Sammantha Adams and I’ve been working with Peter this morning. He tells me that you took a video of him that might prove very embarrassing. Is this true?”
The girl made a pouting face. “Well yeah, but I was just teasing. We tease each other all the time.”
I took a deep breath. “Bernice, years from now when your parents are old and gray or possibly not around anymore, there will come a time when you need a true friend. Maybe you’ll be married with kids and someone needs to go to the hospital and you desperately need someone you can trust to stay with your kids. Bernice, your best friend in the world will always be your brother, Pete. Family helps family. And when that day comes, you will very much regret this horrible thing you did to your brother.”
The girl looked down. “So what do you want me to do?”
“You know what you need to do, Bernice. Hold your phone up to Pete’s laptop camera so I can see it and delete the video. This is the right decision for you to choose.”
I held my breath and waited to see what the girl would do. It took her about a full minute to respond.
“Fine,” she replied, and held up her phone displaying her brother’s picture … and then pressed the delete button.
“Thank you, Bernice.”
The girl just walked away and Pete took her place. “Oh wow, Doctor Sam, you’re the best!”
“Now it’s your turn, Peter. I’ll be looking forward to hearing good results from you when we meet again in two weeks.”
“Yes, Ma’am … and thanks. Bye.”
I signed off the laptop and turned to look at Sammantha occupying Derrek’s eleven-year-old body … and I said to the boy, “I think I need you.”