For a lot of moms — those who have daughters, or haven’t experienced the nuances of baby boys — caring for a newborn and toddler boy’s “private area” can be a bewildering experience.
What should everything look like? Why is my son’s privates swollen? How do I clean the area?
These are commonly asked questions but topics that are not commonly discussed outside the pediatricians office.
“I remember when my son was born and worrying if everything looked normal,” recalls Elizabeth, mom of an 18-month-old toddler boy. “That area was totally foreign to me and I’m someone who is not entirely comfortable about talking about it.”
Four-year-old Bently Barnes needed to get ready. He opened the closet door, reached for his camouflage backpack, then scanned his bedroom for the essentials.
He grabbed his favorite stuffed animal named, “Marshall,” a truck, tractor and his most prized possession – his blanket. He placed them in his backpack with care, zipped the travel bag and placed it next to his bed.
Bently told his mom he was packed and ready to travel from their home in North Carolina to Boston Children’s Hospital. And he was “ready for a new belly,” he said.
Mark Donohue craves outdoor activity. While most were braving Old Man Winter’s 2015 wrath, this 19-year-old Ticonderoga, New York native embraced Mother Nature and hiked to the summit of his home state’s Black Mountain, tackled the slopes in Colorado and pond-skated locally with friends.
Mark says his love of the great outdoors and his quest to climb new personal heights has never been overshadowed by ulcerative colitis.
“I won’t let the disease define me,” says Donohue, a college freshman at Binghamton University in New York. “I take it in stride, stay positive and don’t let ulcerative colitis dictate the kind of person I want to be.”
Payton Grassia is all things preschooler. She loves finger painting and outdoor play, has a “big personality,” her mom says, and recently added big sister to her list of credentials.
But beyond her sweet smile and playful charm, this spunky three-and-a-half-year-old is also a fighter.
And her fight began before she was even born.