As parents, we know that, at some point in time, we will have to partake in the awkward conversation with our children. You know, the one about the birds and the bees? Yeah, that one! For me, this might become marginally harder than some other parents' chats as I have recently become the single Mother of a boy, whose Father lives on the other side of the world. I have known all along that this conversation, and all others that relate somewhat to anatomy, are more than likely to become rather...... difficult, embarrassing, make you want to throw yourself out of the nearest window uncomfortable, and now I have to do it on my own?
Kids these days have wisened up to the old 'delivered by a stalk' bollocks. Don't ask me how, as I don't think they've aired any episodes of Peppa Pig where Daddy Pig sits the kids down and gives them a graphic lesson on exactly how he porked Mummy Pig.
My son is still young enough, I hope, to see me undressed without his eyes spontaneously combusting and sending him into a catatonic state of shock and despair. I have, in the past, caught him staring at me with a quizzical look on his face, and have even been subjected to the odd exploratory poke to the boob as I get dressed. Thankfully, I'm yet to have to shield myself from any rapid fire questions from him about my body and how it differs from his (give it time, I'm sure). A male colleague recently told me his daughter had asked him what his penis was, and, after being fobbed off with a vague PG explanation, replied with:
"Well, it looks like the Gruffalo!"
Photo credit: Writer's own
Well, I don't have a male counterpart to use as a mannequin for his 'n' hers' comparisons. This means I'll have to come up with my own way to delicately explain our differences before I must defend why I look the way I do and not like a lovable character from a Julia Donaldson storybook. Even Barbie and Ken are of no use to me as they just come with terrifying smooth bits, which in my opinion are more horrifying than the truth!
Despite his young age, I did recently find myself on thin ice in a situation that encroached far too closely to the subject for my liking. It was a few weeks ago, on our journey home from work/nursery, that the topic of boys and girls came up. We were pointing out of the car window at pedestrians and calling out whether or not they were boys or girls. Then, asking which he was, he correctly answered "Boy!". When asked what I was he, quite rightly, but slightly off topic, answered "Mummy!".
What followed next was possibly the most bizarre line of conversation I could have taken. As I, for some reason and, almost in slow motion, regretting each word as I uttered it, took it upon myself to explain that "Mummy is a girl, and that, whilst Charles has a willy, Mummy has a........"
I halted. I just could not bring myself to say the word 'vagina' to my 2-year-old son. It just seemed too harsh, too crass, too medical. So I backtracked and said that "Charles has a willy, whilst Mummy does not". Satisfied that I had bought myself some more time to formulate a plan of action, it got me thinking. Is the 'V-word' less socially acceptable than the 'willy' word? Is it just the word itself? Or am I being a prude? To me, the willy word doesn't cause offence, nor does the term penis, but vagina? To a two-year-old? It just feels wrong! So what shall I call it? A loo loo? A lady garden? Jenny Genitalia?
Thankfully, I think I have several more years to prepare myself for the inevitable. This is, of course, if I stop putting my own foot in it and bringing it up totally unnecessarily and far, far too soon! So if you've reached this parenting milestone, please let me know how you got through it and what on earth do you call yours and your daughters' vaginas?