Recently we taught our daughter the proper terminology for her femininity.
With the #MeToo movement – properly, and many years too late – in full swing, it seemed right to let our four-year-old know that her private area is called a vagina; and nobody should touch it except for her.
So, we stopped referring to it as “your area” or even “front tushy” which, to me, was always super funny – and yet, super descriptive when bathing, or going to the bathroom.
Make sure to wipe your front tushy! I’d instruct during potty-training. It prevented us from having “that” conversation too early. And, yet, here we were illustrating which ends of our body produce pee and poo – and having our kid liberally use it.
Tangent: it was always fun going to the bathroom with her, because once she was done, she’d stand up and pantomime peeing, informing me that This is how boys go pee-pee, before she would squat and say And this is how girls go pee-pee. She’d remain squatting and say This is how boys go poo-poo, stand up, squat again and inform that And this is how girls go poo-poo. #EndTangent
So one day during bath time, I told her that girls have a vagina, and that’s how we should talk about it. Little did I know – stupidly – is that opened a box (no pun intended) of possibilities.
It shouldn’t surprise me that a child would want to celebrate a new name for a body part. Hell, adults do it. Ever stop to think how many different nicknames we have for vaginas and penises?
Hold on … give me 20 seconds …
In those 20 seconds, I went through 21 different monikers we use for those parts. Over 1 per second! Wow – my vocab is very juvenile (surprising nobody).
A day or two after that bath time lesson, we were at the park. My kiddo is having fun, running around and making new friends – as kids are wont to do at a park. Then, all of a sudden …
Daddy! she screams. Like, screams. I’m going to go down the slide on my VAGINA!
And there she went, on her knees, down the slide.
I tried to cover my face to prevent her to see me laughing. And the other parents who no doubt were judging me.
Tangent 2: parents are the judgiest people I’ve ever met. Don’t get me wrong, I am super judgy now too. It’s like this switch flips when you pop out a kid and you just judge the crap out of other parents, like each and every one of us is winning the Best Parent Ever award, which doesn’t even exist (unlike the new Fake News Awards). It’s stupid, and yet it’s totally real and a dumbass contest nobody wins. Here’s another thing – the other day Bruce Willis was named “Best Dad Of The Year” because a picture of him letting his daughter paint his nails was online. Bitch, please. I do this with my daughter all the time and I don’t win anything because a) I’m not Bruce Willis and famous, and b) I don’t go around bragging about it like an a-hole. It’s like Chris Rock’s stand-up when he quotes someone bragging, “I take care of my kids.” Then he says “You’re SUPPOSED to take care of your kids!”
I had to explain to her that vagina is a word we don’t always use outside of the house. It’s OK to tell mom and dad about it, but we don’t need to scream it – especially in front of others.
Some lessons stick. Some, well, they don’t stick.
During our ferry commute not long after, she was playing with a couple of other kids her age. The parents and I were making idle chit-chat (while probably judging each other) when my daughter stops and grabs her crotch.
What’s wrong? Do you have to go potty? (admittedly another word we dance around when saying “go to the bathroom” yet, my kid knows all about vagina.)
No. My pants are just stuck in my VAGINA.
It’s like that word brings out the yell nerve in her. It must be spoken at a Level 9 rather than just in a regular tone.
Good Lord. Thank you, mothers of the other kids, for being cool about it as I wanted to crawl into my jacket. Guess who got super judged on the way off the boat? Yep – this guy.
It would be one thing if we could just use this new favorite word of my child’s the way Mike Myers did in Austin Powers where it was a play on words and it was funny …
… but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
My kiddo still likes to enunciate (read it slowly like e-nun-see-ate) the word vagina. I guess it’s not all bad, because it’s better than walking around and saying My pants are stuck in my front tushy! which would certainly bring about more judging from people that probably shouldn’t be doing that – so, whatever.
I guess the next step is to teach her that boys have penises and not “tails.” Because she likes to tell people (not many, but some) that boys have tails.
At least when she tells them she says My Daddy has a big tail.
Take that, judgers!