There. That wasn’t so hard.
Amy and I were both in agreement, right from the start, that we weren’t going to try to come up with cutesy names for our child’s body parts – particularly the reproductive ones. When we found out we were having a girl we became even more steadfast in our commitment. Society does a good enough job of making young girls think their bodies are something to be ashamed of, she doesn’t need Mommy and Daddy obfuscating things by calling it a … (actually, what ARE the cutesy terms for a vagina? I don’t even know. Need a playful penis synonym? I gotcha covered. But as far as women’s parts go…).
So I was as surprised as anyone this morning when I dropped the kid at daycare. See, Amy had picked her up a bit early yesterday to take her to see the doctor. She was a bit red and we assumed, correctly as it turned out, that she had a bit of an irritation or infection. Nothing serious or anything, just requires a bit of cream.
The daycare provider asked how things went at the doctor.
“Fine, fine, she’s just got a bit of an infection in… ah… bit of an infection or something.”
“Oh yes, there’s been a bit of a throat infection going around.”
“No no, she’s a bit red in her, uh, diaper area.”
With that last line picture me sort of gesturing awkwardly to my own “diaper area” and making large circular gestures, as though hovering too close to any actual bit of genitalia might cause fainting from the fairer sex.
At this point, the kid had already skipped around the corner to go find some toys so, mercifully, she wasn’t present to watch her Daddy do everything in his power to avoid saying “vagina” to a woman who has been watching kids professionally for the better part of a decade.
But next time she might be.
I really don’t know how to respond to this.
I’ve told the kid that this is her vagina in the past and I’ve got a body book sitting on her shelf for whenever she’s ready. My Mom was pretty clear with me, so why not be clear with my kid? Knowing the correct terms for my body parts didn’t make me a sex fiend.
And technically, it’s vulva.