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Kimberly Konfessions: Body Part Breakdown

(from Sept. 30, 2007)

I consider myself a very enlightened parent. We, at The Mocha Manual Co., take mommyhood very seriously. I’m very conscious of my childrens’ psychological and emotional development, I try to stay abreast of the latest ideas on how children think and learn, and I try to be fun and approachable.

However, recently I was confronted with a rather awkward challenge to my self-perceptions. This particular challenge involves my three year old’s knowledge and use of proper names for certain body parts. I’m just going to put it out there. Up until about three months ago, Michael had a name for his private part and it was Lala. We have no idea where Lala came from, when Lala was created, but I knew what he was talking about, the nanny knew what he was talking about and Michael knew what he was talking about.

All was good in Lala Land, until one day a well-meaning male friend, also a father whose parenting skills I admire, said I had no business allowing my son to walk around calling his penis a Lala. Well, at first I told him to mind his own business and go back to his own house.

But then I felt bad. Was I wrong for not teaching the proper name for that particular body part and letting him continue with his baby talk? Did this mean I had issues with talking to my children about the human body—undisputably God’s most amazing creation? Was I not as progressive as I thought myself to be?

I should also mention that Michael referred to my breasts as Lulus, but that’s another blog.

So, I gave in. The next time Michael referred to his Lala, I corrected him and told him it had a different name. Then I went one step further and told him that the things next to his Lala are not balloons, as he calls them.

Ladies, let me tell you, this is my biggest parenting regret to date. Children armed with knowledge are dangerous little creatures. Episode one began at Target. I went in to pick up a few school supplies however Michael went inside to share his new knowledge.

“Do you have tes-ti-tles?”

“Would you like to see my penis?” he asked every shopper in ear shot.

Now if he would’ve said Lala, this would’ve been a completely different scene. But imagine the patrons of my Long Island white suburban Target and their response to my curly head brown boy asking if they would like to see his tes-ti-tles. Did I mention that he grabbed the respective area for visual effect? I couldn’t help thinking how I wouldn’t be in this situation if we would’ve stuck with Lala.

Episodes two, three and beyond occur every morning when he wakes up and shouts, “Look mommy, my penis can go up. Come look Mommy,” and then he invites Kayla to come check out his newfound trick.

So I’m starting to wonder if this whole enlightened parent thing should have boundaries like, um, really good for music, art, or the sciences. But maybe it shouldn’t creep that low into such areas as private parts. There’s a good reason why the infamous “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” song skips right over that area!

(Truth be told, its still a troubling area for adults. When was the last time you referred to your man’s body part by its proper clinical name—not the one you or he made up ???)

So if adults don’t use the proper names and all of our children are going to end up using pet names in adulthood anyway, I say we cut out the middle man and just stick with pet names from the git-go! As long as we get across the message that it’s a private area and no one is to touch it, then what’s wrong with doodles, wee wees, va-jayjays and lalas, anyway. Who’s with me?

If you’ve had an experience where you realized that you weren’t as enlightened as a mother as you thought you were? Do you have a great body part name substitute or you just a mad funny story about body parts and little ones, then tell us all about it here.

To get some real advice from real experts on the importance of teaching your child the proper body part names and why, try these links: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/319855/when_should_you_teach_children_the.html
http://www.scripps.org/News.asp?ID=447

Comments
2 Responses to “Kimberly Konfessions: Body Part Breakdown”
  1. Demetria Phelps says:

    Hello – testing

  2. Demetria Phelps says:

    Teaching little girls how, where and when to use the word “vagina”.

    One night my two little nieces spent the night with me and my 8 year old daughter like they had done many times before.
    I knew that their mother had been talking to them about their bodies. Their mother was on a mission to make sure that her two girls knew the word vagina and knew it well.
    I have a rule at my house that all little kids must take a bath before they go to bed. The two sisters ages 5 and 6 were accustomed to bathing together so I put them in a bubbled bath together like I had done so many times before. I told them that I would come back in a few minutes to help them. When I returned, I did what I had always done, I took the towel and soap so that I could finish washing them, making sure that they were nice and clean. I started with the 5 year old. I washed her back, her neck, chest, protuding belly, etc. When I told her to spread her legs a little so that I could wash between her legs, both girls gave me this wide-eyed looked and began telling me that their mommy said that nobody was allowed to touch their vaginas. I responded by saying, “WHAT, EXCUSE ME” they both repeated almost in unison, “MY MOMMY SAID NOBODY CAN TOUCH OUR VAGINAS”.

    Another occasion, the same little girls, my nieces and my daugher were on our way to McDonalds. As I was driving, the 5 year old sitting in the back seat told me she needed to pee and that she could not hold it any longer. So I got to McDonalds as fast as I could and pulled up close to the door. I told my daughter to hurry and take her cousin to the bath room while I parked the car. Well, after I parked the car I got out and noticed the two girls just standing around looking at the other kids. I yelled and told them to hurry and get inside. Well, my niece shouted back very loudly, “I don’t have to go anymore, my pee pee went back inside my vagina”.

    Well, the girls are young adults now. Funny, I haven’t heard them say the word vagina anymore. When there is a need to speak about that particular part of the body, we tend to refer to it as “it” “thing” “private part” or “down there” and that’s perfectly OK with me.

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