This week I was minding my own business in the kitchen (looking at facebook and secretly eating a biscuit, under cover of dinner preparation) when I overheard what sounded like my 4 year old and her 6 year old cousin shouting “vagina” at each other. It was like that game of “bogies” that Dick and Dom used to play in public places. They were gradually getting louder and louder, and laughing more and more hysterically. It soon reached the point where I could ignore it no longer. So I stifled my own giggles, put on my serious face and went over to the childcare front line. The conversation went something like this:
Me “What are you shouting?”
6 YO “Vagina!!!!!!!!”
Me “Oh. (I think I was still secretly hoping they were shouting the names of heart conditions at each other, I was all ready to contribute “myocardial infraction”, but it was sadly looking unnecessary.)
Me “Do you know what a vagina is?”
4 YO is sniggering behind her hand and looking very pleased with herself with her new grown up vocabulary. However as she realises that she has absolutely no idea what it means, the smile starts to slide of her face, to be replaced by the slightly sheepish look of a Land Rover driver in Primark.
6 YO “Issy said it today at school, it means “bottom”.
At this point I am torn. The 6 year old is my niece. In many ways I treat her as if she was my own, however she is not. So I think that totally gets me out of having to explain the intricacies of the female anatomy to her. However I don’t really want her telling people her arse is a vagina. Equally my own daughter is now slightly confused about what a vagina is, and is highly likely to go into school and ask her long suffering teacher to explain it to her.
Where do we go from here? In our house they are called girlie bits, winkles, bums and boobs. I have read books where they discuss the importance of telling your child the correct anatomical names for their genitals. But to be honest, the word scrotum makes me snigger behind my hand. How on earth can I possibly be expected to explain this to my children with a straight face? And there’s just something a bit odd about hearing a 4 year old saying “penis” it just seems enormously inappropriate. So what do you do?
Clearly, the answer is that you say the following –
“Righto, ok then not to worry” Then walk back to the kitchen in a haze of slightly uncomfortable middle class glory.
Did you enjoy this post? If you did it would be lovely if you could find it in your heart to nominate me for the BIBS or the MADs. These are blogging awards, its a veritable path to blogging glory. Here are the links, go on, nominate me, help me get noticed, it might one day finance my swiss roll habit! xxxxx