So there I was…about to sit down for some lunch with my father, step-mother, Ranger and The Kids. Ranger and Big J were wrestling in the living room when Big J shrieked with laughter, “Daaadddy, you hit me in my penis!”
It was as if a record scratched to a halt in the distance. My father looked up from his newspaper, and my step-mother glowered over in my direction. In a low whisper she said, “Did-he-just-say” (wait for it…) “Penis?”
“Yeess,” I slowly and mockingly whispered back.
Keep in mind that we’re Texans, true “suthanuhs” my father would say, and there are just some topics that those with proper decorum do not discuss in the presence of others. Especially when you are about to eat. Correct terminology for private parts are one of those topics.
I dismissed my parents’ arched eyebrows of disapproval with an, “Oh puhleeease. What is he supposed to say, Pee Pee? Privates?”
The continued conversation of our private parts was about to send my southern Baptist father over the edge so he interjected with, “Now that’s enough. We get the point. I forget that you do live in Austin so this type of discussion is normal for you folk.”
For those of ya’ll not from Texas, Austin is as liberal as Texas gets. And, according to my father, it’s Austin that has made me a “bleeding heart liberal/Nancy Pelosi lover” which therefore excuses the penis talk.
When I was a child we used all sorts of cute terminology to describe our private parts but we never actually used the right terms. Saying vagina or penis was like saying a curse word in that it was whispered and giggled over behind cupped hands and hushed voices.
I never gave much thought to the words I used to describe our parts until I had my own children. Being a feminist mama, and feeling rather embarrassed to use “chee chees” to describe breasts, Ranger and I decided that we would use proper terminology around the kids to describe our bodies from the beginning.
I feel that being honest with my kids about their body parts will lead to less confusion as they grow. I’d rather they hear it right from Ranger and I the first time. I believe that talking openly and using correct terminology normalizes the discussion.
The hope is that by doing so my kids will feel comfortable asking questions or addressing concerns they have later on. Plus, I have nursed both daughters in front of Big J and the last thing I wanted to hear come out of his kiddie mouth were chee chees or boobies to describe that which fed his sisters.
I’m also not going to sequester myself when nursing at home simply because my son might catch a glimpse of the flesh! The horror!! Shouldn’t he and my daughters know firsthand what breasts were originally designed for?
I still draw the ire of my family but they’ve gotten used to such terms being spouted off nonchalantly by their grandson. Because I’d rather such talk be normal than taboo like it was when I was a child.