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.]
As I mentioned last month, I started writing a fun, new series on xoJane. It’s a list of things — from giving a great toast to fixing a flat tire — that I feel an adult woman should pretty much know how to handle. I’ve dubbed it my “I Got This” list.
So far I’ve discovered that when it comes to flat tires, although I now know how to fix one, please don’t make me! Another thing I learned? I’m a quick study. Shout-out to the Old Dogs Club!
Here’s the latest “new” trick I picked up:
How To Tie Men’s Neckties
It may not be the oldest trick in the book, but it’s in there, and pretty effective too — at least in Hollywood:
Girl steps in close to Boy. Real close. “Oh, come here. Let me.”
She’s going to help out this silly, undercover dreamboat by tying his necktie for him, because clearly he doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s nervous and all thumbs or maybe he’s never really worn one of these goofy things before. Doesn’t matter. Girl takes command of the silky sash and artfully loops here, gently pulls there, all while glancing up into his eyes.
Maybe she’s saying something coquettish — put your lips together and blow, Lauren Bacall-style — or she’s quiet and letting her spider-lash eyes do the talking; either way this is more than a moment in haberdashery, it’s connection, seduction, it’s movie magic.
Of course, the real life version of this is wildly different, right?
For starters, quite a few of us — especially men! — have no clue how to properly tie a necktie. And let’s not even get into its fussy, old-timey cousin: the bow tie. Save that thing for Charles Osgood (who is excellent) and the barbershop quartet singing at your hipster brunch spot, amirite?
In fact, just last month at the Oscars, indie-darling-gone-big-time actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt copped to not knowing how to tie his own bow tie for his dapper tux. Sally Field had to do it for him in the limo.
Then there was that sweet scene between Jennifer Lawrence (also excellent) and The Coop in Silver Linings Playbook, where their characters were hurrying to get ready for a dance competition and neither of them could quite get the tie thing worked out. They skipped it, but not before having the required eye-to-eye melting moment.
Oh! And remember that season one flashback scene between Olivia Pope and Candidate Fitz on Scandal? She rips the tie from some other fool’s neck to replace Fitz’s “too busy for morning TV” original choice, and they talk all hushed and cute (fast-fwd to 0:22!).
I’m telling you, as far as rom-com tropes go, the necktie-tying thing is up there along with Meet-Cutes and full-heart confessions in the driving rain. And being a classic rom-com kind of gal, I figured that was proof enough that learning how to tie both a straight and bow tie should have a place on my I Got This List.
My husband is pretty darn natty on any given day, but as a magazine editor he doesn’t typically wear neckties. Plus, he already learned his way around a straight tie from his mother. So I set off to gather intel elsewhere, this time from a true pro: Jim Acker, a personal stylist at Nordstrom’s men’s department.
When I rolled up, completely unannounced, Jim was just punching in for the day and — of course — had an untied bow tie draped over his fly brown and orange windowpane suit. He was eager to help, highly knowledgeable and, more important, patient.
We started with the straight tie. Here’s what I learned:
There are at least five different types of knots from which to choose, but the Half Windsor is the most common one. However, Jim says, the Full Windsor –- with its wide, symmetrical triangular knot — is a more distinguished, professional choice, so we did that (see xoJane version of this story for illos from Nordstrom pamphlet).
1. Flip the shirt collars up and drape the tie around the neck so the wide end hangs longer on your (the woman doing the tying) right. Jim says aim for the end to hit the top of the belt buckle (about 12 inches). A tie hanging too short looks ridiculous.
2. Take the wide end (W) and cross it over the narrow end (N) and pull it to your right.
3. Make a basic knot (pulled tight) by swooping W up through the loop between the collar and the tie and down again. W should be underneath/behind N, pulled to your left. You’ll see the back of W.
4. Time to make the “face” of the tie, as Jim calls it, or the main triangular knot. Swing W across the front from left to right so that the inside of tie faces away from you, towards the shirt.
5. Bring W up through the loop so that it’s pointing straight up. The inside of the tie should be facing you now.
6. Now bring W down and slide it through the front of the knot (behind the “face”). Tighten the knot to finish now by firmly pulling down on W and drawing it up snug against the collar.
7. Kiss that man or at least get yourself a glass of bubbly from the champagne tower, because you did it!
As for the bow tie, Jim says it’s just like tying your shoes. “It’s almost the same knot just in a different location,” he says.
But after watching him demonstrate this finger dance art a good three times, I say leave that mess to Sally Field! I’ll be over here batting lashes and oozing sexy while tying my husband’s Full Windsor. (Not a euphemism. Maybe.)
No … hear me, though … IT’S MARCHHH! WHAT THE HELL?!
Also, who let this happen? I was just getting my mind around the 2013 part of things, and now we’re flipping the calendar again? What kind of sleight of hand trickery…?
I figured it’s best to ease into all of this with a little laughter. So there’s this helpful list from comedian Jason Good. It’s about a month old, but the yucks are fresh:
46 Reasons My Three-Year-Old Might Be Freaking Out. The few that made me chuckle?
His shirt has a tag on it.
His sock is on wrong.
A balloon he got six months ago is missing.
Ah, them babies. Even when they are not trying they’ll crack you up. But now that I have an official Little Kid, I can totally chill. (Wait, 4 years old is the beginning of the Little Kid/Non Toddler portion of the program, right? We’ve cleared the Toddler hurdle, yes? YES??)
But seriously, folks, if you need some insight into the Toddler Brain, and more specifically, why she just threw all the crayons at the dog after she professed love to her fluffy buddy seconds earlier, Slate’s Melinda Wenner Moyer has some legitimate answers.
Aaaand back to the laughs. If you want to be cackling on the regular, might I direct you to The Honest Toddler blog. I usually get bite-sized giggles from HT’s Twitter page, but now news comes that a full book is on the way, May 7. I’m already laughing.
That should keep you smiling for a bit.
Oh, but if you’re more up for a tear-in-the-eye, heart-warmed kind of smile, then definitely read this: We Found Our Son on the Subway. It’s pretty golden.
Have a good one, friends.
Earlier in February I started writing a fun, new series on xoJane. It’s a list of things — from giving a great toast to fixing a flat tire — that I feel an adult woman should pretty much know how to handle. No skydiving, no swimming with manatees or even learning how to speak Mandarin. These aren’t dares. Not a bucket list, more an I Got This list.
It’s about being more self-reliant, feeling empowered, and maybe learning a few new tricks along the way.
Speaking of tricks and power, have you seen this video making the rounds about the importance of learning how to code? Man, listen. Take the 5:45 to watch this vid and learn a little some thing about the “new superpower” that isn’t being taught in 90 percent of schools in America.
I’m thankful for the basic HTML that I learned back when I was an editor at ESPN.com four score years ago. It especially comes in handy writing this blog. But imagine if I knew a little more? Imagine if I knew a lot more?
Yeah, think I see one more thing to add to my I Got This list.