Like Pina, I grew up in the kind of household where we didn't discuss bodily functions of any kind. My mother never talked to us about our bodies, and any questions we had were met with copious giggling and avoidance of the issue. She just figured that it was the school's job to teach us all about this stuff. Imagine my surprise when they sent the boys out of the room and drew the curtains closed for the first time! I can say in all honesty without one word of embellishment that I fainted that first day in health class.
This of course is a strange background for a person to have when they went on to teach sex ed to their peers in high school. Oh yes, I did. People, I even did the "Health Announcements" over the PA in the mornings, wherein I would have to say things like "vaginal secretions" and "smegma". Chlamydia is such a happy sounding word when facing down some of the alternatives, no?
When I had children of my own I knew things would be different. I don't have any shame at all when speaking of body parts or answering questions about changing bodies or baby making. I refuse to call the genitals by any kind of pet name. Call a spade a spade. A penis a penis. A vagina a vagina. We let it all hang out at our house, both literally and figuratively.
I think what we need to work on is precisely when it is considered okay to use such words in public.
First thing in the morning, I'm rolling up into Home Depot with my dad and my two year old son Zen (nickname). Dad was talking to a sales girl about something or other, and just as she turned to go check her computer for my dad, Zen yells out, "She hass boobs!"
The boy does have good taste. Those knockers were huge!!!
But my dad, who had been flirting with this woman, was trying to shush him. Zen was cramping his style!
"Pa, she hass boobs!!!"
I don't think my father ever got the answer to his question... He was too busy trying to steer a shopping cart through the aisles at breakneck speed before the poor woman heard what Zen was saying. As my dad pushed the cart further and further away, Zen would yell it at me louder and louder, "Mama! She hass boobs!" I know I could have done more to shut that down, but I was laughing too hard to be of much use.
Eventually we collected the items we went in for and lined up for the cash register. Zen was playing with his "Lady Lego Man", which he carries around with him everywhere. The cashier started to speak to him while she was ringing our things through and said, "What's that you have there?"
Zen: Lady Lego Man. She hass a 'gina!
Cashier: Pardon me? I didn't catch that.
Zen: Lady Lego Man hass a 'gina!
Cashier: I'm sorry, I didn't understand you.
Dad: Oh, it's okay. Really, it's his Lego Man.
Zen: Lady Lego Man hass 'GINA
Zen: Yeah, Lady Lego Man HAS A 'GINA!!!!!!!!! *breaks out into loud guffaws for someone who is so small*
Cashier: Oh, wow! Isn't that cool! Aren't you a lucky boy!
The woman, thankfully, did not understand Zen's garbled baby language. My dad was mortified! I don't think he's ever said the word vagina in his entire life! I know for one that I've never spoken such a word in front of him, as much experience I've had using such terminology in front of hundreds, even thousands of people.
How about y'all? How are you with discussing such things with your parents versus discussing them with your kids? Any difference? Similar instances of "Too Much Information" or TMI? Discuss.
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