Childrens Health

My Two-Year-old Might Have to Get Circumcised and I Feel Weird About It

I have three beautiful boys and none of them are circumcised, but that COULD be about to change.

When my eldest was born I said to my husband, “Well, you’re the one with a penis. You decide what to do in that department.”

And not being religious or having had it done himself, he decided to leave it as nature intended (which I was totally fine with). And the others followed suit.

Penis problems

To be honest I don’t think about penises much. Let’s face it, what mums do? My house is chock-full of them (even the cat is a boy), but unless someone isn’t aiming properly in the toilet, has their hands on it too much in public, or more importantly has an issue down there, then I don’t want to know about it. Unfortunately though, that’s exactly what happened.

“Sore sore”

A few weeks ago my two-year-old started pointing to his privates and saying “sore” so I gave them a quick check and popped on some nappy cream. Things escalated though and soon his penis was looking really red. The poor little thing was crying quite frequently about it, so off to the doctor we went. The diagnosis? Issues with phimosis – when the foreskin is too tight. And if you’re not sure what that means then don’t worry because neither did I.

teach boys to pee standing up


Foreskin facts

Okay, so apparently all male babies are born with their foreskin attached to the glans (head of their penis) which you’re not yet able to retract (pull down and back up). It doesn’t start to separate until the age of two (unless of course they get circumcised). But for some boys it happens a lot later than this. All of this is totally normal in younger, prepubescent boys though and should resolve naturally (don’t EVER pull the foreskin back forcibly for them or this can be very damaging). However, if the phimosis is causing balanitis (inflammation of the head of  the penis), soreness, difficulty urinating, or other issues then it’s a bit of a problem. Great.

Circumcision decision

We were given a steroid cream for my toddler (and told to keep his penis clean and avoid irritants like soaps), which so far seems to be helping. However, it’s too early to tell if the problem will completely resolve. If it doesn’t, then he’ll need a circumcision and THAT is kind of freaking me out.

Of course, we’ll do whatever is necessary to ensure the health and safety of our son. But I’m really hoping he won’t have to have the snip. For starters, he’s really little and I hate the idea of him having any form of operation that requires anaesthetic. Plus it’s a known fact that there are risks involved with circumcision. These can include excessive bleeding, pain, infection and too much skin being cut off – YIKES.

innocent little american boy in red collared shirt

Odd one out

On top of this I’m worried that he’ll be upset that he’s different from not just his brothers and dad, but also his friends. Once a popular trend, now less than 20 percent of males get circumcised in Australia so he would definitely be a minority in the boy’s locker room later on. And as you know kids can be cruel sometimes.

I’m probably overthinking it, but it’s just something I never thought I’d have to worry about with my children (I certainly didn’t with the other two!). Hopefully the problem will sort itself soon, but if not then I guess there’s not a lot of choice in the matter. Plus many men do get circumcised later in life for medical reasons. So if it has to be done, then sooner is probably better than later.

Want to know what other penis issues kids can have? Read our article about a six year-old who got part of a pen stuck up there – ouch!

Avatar of Susan Taylor

Susan is a Sydney based writer and mum of three highly energetic boys who keep her firmly on her toes (and slightly bonkers). When she’s not writing or trying to keep it all together she’s probably reading, watching Netflix or having a sneaky massage.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar of Wendy

    After reading this story I think you might be worrying unnecessarily, I know from having two sons and several nephews that circumcision may not be your only option. Has your doctor mentioned stretching the foreskin to you? I realise it sounds like an odd thing to do, and may possibly make your husband cringe at the thought, but several years ago one of my nephews had the same problem and when my sister in law took him to the doctors it was decided that stretching the foreskin was the best option for him. The doctor performed the the procedure (which only took a few minutes) under local anaesthetic, for him it was basically an instant cure, his mother just had to make sure the foreskin was gently pulled back every bath time to keep it loose. He never had a problem after that. Maybe a chat to your doctor would benefit you?

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