"Stop calling it a penis!"
My dad doesn't like that we call my son's penis a penis. "What else should we call it then?"
"A pecker!" He said, without hesitation. I laughed. Oh yes, clearly that's better.
Every now and then, my dad's red neck shows a little bit, and we get into little debates. Usually he just rolls his eyes at me and smiles. I think to him I look like a politically-correct-quinoa-eating-breastfeeding-hippie—but I'm okay with that. And I'm going to call my son's penis, a penis.
An elbow is an elbow. And a nose is a nose.
We don't get red in the face and awkward when we're teaching our children the name of other body parts. "Umm. That? Well...that thing between your eyes is a...Nay-Nay. And you should never touch it! Ever!"
So why do we often react this way with genitals? We call them by such strange and ridiculous names:
I've had this discussion with many parents, and not all parents are comfortable calling a penis a penis, or even more so...using the V word...
V A G I N A
And heaven forbid a child TOUCH these body parts in the bath or when you're getting them dressed. *gasp* Their hands might fall off! They might develop warts on their nose! They might become SEX ADDICTS!!!! Whaaattt?!?!?
We need to remember that our little children are simply exploring different feelings and sensations and at such young ages they are NOT SEXUAL. It's us—the paranoid adults—who project these ideas and thoughts. It's US who get uncomfortable, and we shouldn't.
I'll never forget, back in the day, listening to Sex with Sue on the radio. A parent phoned in, saying they were worried about their four-year-old daughter who had taken to humping the arm of the couch. Like...all the time. Non stop. (This mental image is pretty hilarious.)
Sue said this to the parents, "Wow, that's actually great. Your daughter is exploring different sensations and has discovered her clitoris. It takes many women years to discover their clitoris. Have a talk with your daughter and remind her that although this feels good, this is not something we do in public. We do these things in private."
I remember thinking that was excellent advice.
So if you are a parent who is uncomfortable using proper terminology for your child's genitals, I please ask you to reflect on this a little. WHY is this making you so uncomfortable?
And as a little exercise to get used to the proper terminology, maybe you could incorporate these body parts into your next singing session:
"Head and shoulders, knees and vagina. Knees and vagina. Knees and vagina. Head and shoulders, knees and vagina. Eyes, ears, mouth and vagina."