I was told before I had my own children, that you should use the correct terminology when educating your offspring about their body parts. This knowledge was shared with me from both my pediatrician and a child psychologist.
Well, after you read this article, you might hesitate to call a spade a spade so to speak. It could put you in some, let’s just say, interesting situations.
Pan to Emily, around twenty-months–of-age in the bath tub…
Em was obsessed with babies and had just really started to get interested in potty training. She had accidentally witnessed my husband getting out of the shower one day. This observation was made in Em’s mind… Daddy has a one-eyed snake. She did not.
Em asked me where on her body was the baby-hole? I did a general sweeping motion of my hand toward her private area, keeping it light. Anyway, that was the end of our dialogue. I did not think much about the conversation until we were making Gingerbread people at Christmastime. That was when the first series of Vagina Dialogues played out…or as I like to refer to as V-Day.
Dialogue# 1: While spreading on the final icing of our politically correct “gingerbread person,” Em looked at me and asked what we were going to do with the extra icing? I said we would probably just pitch it. She shook her head at the idea and suggested, “Let’s use the extra icing to make this a girl. We will give her a vagina.” I choked down the water I was drinking and tried not to make a big deal about it. I knew if I did, then Em would of course repeat “vagina” everywhere we went, probably in the middle of church.
Dialogue #2: The next time the V-word flared her ugly head was when we were on vacation with my in-laws. Em was 2 ½ and in full-blown potty mode now. She loved being a big girl so much, she even liked to accompany all female family members to the potty when allowed. One night, while eating seafood (foreshadowing for future dialogues), Nana had to go to the bathroom and Em went with her.
When they returned to the table Nana could barely control her composure. Em announced to the entire table, “Hey everyone, Nana has an old vagina.” Apparently, Em asked if she could see my mil’s va-jay-jay and she replied, “No, because it’s old.”
Dialogue #3: Upon the return of our vacation, we decided to take a field trip to Target. (Yes, field trip. That’s what I do when I run out of ideas to do with the kids and spend money on unnecessary items.) Of course, even though we all went before we left, Em said she had to go to the bathroom mid field trip. I help her get onto the toilet. She then states very loudly, “Mom, somebody’s vagina smells like shrimp.” I freeze and ignore the comment, hoping it will just go away if I don’t address it…only to have her repeat it louder. I whisper into her ear to quiet down and we don’t talk like that about other people’s vaginas, even if it is true.
Dialogue #4: About a month later, I am giving the girls a bath and I have the windows open on the side of our house adjacent to our extremely nice, very Christian neighbors. They are enjoying a family night roasting marshmallows, when Em interrupts what I assume is them signing Kumbaya, with..”Mommy, stop it. STOP IT. YOU. ARE. BURNING. MY. VAGINA.”
Em had a little soap in her lady parts and it was irritating her. I of course, helped her wash it out and told her to pipe down. I explained people might think mommy was a weirdo and could end up in the slammer if Em liberally continued to drop the V-Bomb like she had been.
Dialogue #5: When Tess was born we decided to forgo telling her the v-word (for obvious reasons) and opted for “private area”. Somehow Tess learned alternative terminology (probably from Em) and decided to announce to the large crowd around us at the Columbus Zoo, that the Callery Pear trees blooming there smelled like “Hooch Cooch.” If you haven’t smelled Callery Pear trees in full-bloom, they DO smell like hooch cooch -trust Tess.
Dialogue #6: Our new neighbors and their younger girls were in attendance for the next dialogue. Trying to be a nice neighbor, I invited the new family over to swim in our backyard. Well, some neighbor boys came over and didn’t have swim trunks. Their mom decided to have them swim in just their shorts, minus the undies.
Poor Tess didn’t realize that the one boy was simply showing her that he didn’t have underwear on, not that he wanted to play “pool doctor”. Tess, obviously confused, pulls her bikini bottoms down to show the boys and girls her “bagina.”
The neighbor’s daughter then on cue asks her mom what a “bagina” is…I told our neighbor, “Once again welcome to the neighborhood and no need to thank me for the free sex education lesson.”
Dialogue #7: So far, the only other major V-jay dialogue I have had thus far, was with Tess today. I’m presuming because we did not specifically call her private area her vagina from the beginning, she became confused about what it was called. She thought bottom, vagina, and uretha were all interchangeable vocabulary. But, apparently, she thought her female area was also referred to as nipples.
Today, when we entered a restroom after someone else, who smelled like a Red Lobster Admiral’s Seafood Platter, she told me that it smelled like “nipples in here.” I asked her what “nipples” smelled like and she confidentially replied, “dinosaurs.” To which, I decided to just leave it. Either way, no matter the terminology, vagina dialogue is always embarrassing when in public.