Monday, February 9, 2009

You say va-jay-jay, I say...???

So while we're on the subject of children's genitalia (this sentence is guaranteed to get me on a federal surveillance list somewhere), let's talk about the girl parts; specifically, what to call the girl parts. I will admit that this issue of what to call the 'lady bits' has thus far been one of the greatest philosophical parenting conundrums I have encountered. I know many of you are probably wondering if I am, in fact, competent enough to actually raise children after reading this declaration, but it's true. Stitches, splinters, explosive diarrhea... no problem. Gynecology/urology for preschoolers... not so much.

Things were so much easier just two short years ago when E was potty training. He has boy parts and boy parts are so much more straightforward. Mommy, I have a weenie. Yes honey, you do. Look Mommy- the pee pee is coming out of my weenie. Well golly gee son, it sure is! Isn't that special. See? Simple and straightforward.

Now fast-forward to the present and it's M's turn to get potty trained. What's her first question? Mommy, where's my weenie?

Oh fuck.

Clearly this is a question that needs an answer. And adding a sense of urgency to the matter is Professor E, master of all things potty, standing in the bathroom asking “where does M's pee pee come out of” because she doesn't have a weenie. So the record must be set straight.

Now in general, my parenting philosophy when dealing with issues of a sensitive matter is two fold: first, to provide information that is anatomically and biologically correct; and second, to do so in a manner that is open, non-threatening, and comforting. And in this particular situation, if I could manage to provide that information using terminology that won't embarrass the crap out of me when the kids repeat it for the entire daycare (because you know they will) that would just be a bonus.

So M is a girl and she doesn't have a weenie... where does her pee pee come from?
Answer- from her urethra. Yep, that's exactly what I said.

I admit it... I pussied out. Pun intended.

I know, I know, I KNOW... you think I'm a total crackhead. You'll get no argument from me on that one. Any normal person would have just said 'E has a penis and M has a vagina' and moved on. I'm not a prude. I can say vagina. I have a vagina. I can say vagina in public and with a straight face. My mom was a hippie. She can say vagina. I am totally okay with using the word vagina. So why didn't I?

Because pee pee doesn't come from a vagina. So maybe I am hiding behind a technicality, but as pertaining to the discussion of pee pee and weenies and the matter of eliminating said pee pee when one is lacking a weenie, the correct vehicle for elimination of said pee pee is the urethra. So there! I am like totally right and you know it and you can just suck it you big poo-poo heads because I am like so mature.

Yet like the proverbial bad penny, the va-jay-jay issue kept returning to me. My daughter was beginning to identify herself as a separate entity, independent from her mother, father and brother. She had recognized the obvious physical differences between herself and her brother (during communal bath time which has abruptly ENDED) and she needed the vocabulary to express those differences. As her mother it is my responsibility to give her those words and begin teaching her to have a sense of pride and respect in her body. So I told her she had a vagina. Not a va-jay-jay, not a tushie, but a vagina. And I tell her that it is hers alone and no one should touch it and if they do she should tell mommy and daddy. It's been very liberating. I am pro-vagina and I want my daughter to be that way as well. And I mean pro-vagina in a 'Vagina Monologues/Women's Lib/Gloria Steinem Would be So Proud' kind of way and not in a 'Wear Ugly Shoes and Coach Softball' kind of way. Not that there's anything wrong with that- whatever works for you.

Vagina- say it loud and say it proud!

No comments: