But Can I See Yours, Mommy? (or Talking Biology With Your 4-Year-Old)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Nooksie. Pampalam. Toak-Toaks. Fanny. Bajingo.

Those are just a few of the names that, as a child, I heard grown-ups use to refer to the vagina. I get it. Bajingo sounds cuter than the real deal. But when we became parents, my husband and I decided pretty early on that we’d forgo the pet names and just call body parts by their real and true names. Penis. Vagina. Mind you, we haven’t really dabbled in breasts too much beyond “breast milk” or “breastfeeding,” and we still call it a bum. Look, anus just isn’t pleasant-sounding. (Hey, that’s our line in the sand, man, leave it be.)

Anyway, something interesting happened a few days ago that left me saying, “Oh, boy, here we go!”


It was bath time and my son was getting his splash on. I needed to use the loo and didn’t want to leave him alone in the tub to go to my bathroom. That’s another thing: I don’t undress in front of The Youngster anymore. It’s been well over a year now — basically ever since he showed signs of being an astute and observant kid, I don’t offer more information than he needs to handle. Seeing your mama’s Pampalam seems like a lot of information, yes?

So I decided to take my potty break right there in the main bathroom while he was in the tub. He was talking to me about other things and, I thought, distracted, but then came this:

“Mom, do girls have baginas in the same place as their bums?” (OK, baginas, though! Awww. The V-sound can be a challenge, y’all.)

Then there was this:

“Do girls poop out of their baginas?”

And then quickly after  that, this:

“Can I see your bagina?”

Ummm... <—That’s all my brain had to offer at first. But I tried to pull it together quickly and, with a neutral face, said something like:

“No, honey, that’s not our thing right now. Another day we’ll talk about this and figure it out.”

Listen, it worked. The kid moved on to sailboats and fishing. Of course, it sent me straight to the internet, searching for picture books and a better script for tackling the “Sex —  but sex-sex — and the Human Body”* talk with your 4-year-old.

I found this post on Scholastic’s Parent & Child that was pretty helpful. Wondering what you’ve found, friends? Have you even had this convo with your kiddos yet? Definitely want to hear how you handled it. Please share any intel you have below in the comments. It takes a village, right?

[*I can already see the level of spam coming my way with the trigger words in this post. Ugh.]

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