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Monday, August 22, 2011

Anatomically Correct . . . Sorta

Kids sure are inquisitive, huh?  Always wanting to know what's this? and what's that?  It's cute, for the most part.  Gavin started asking questions (especially WHY?) very early.  What's that Mommy?  A cloud.  Why?  Um, it just is.  (I used the "it just is" justification for as long as I possibly could . . . so like three months).  I've gotten used to answering all of Gavin's questions:  What are we doing today?  Why do dogs poop outside?  Why can't I have chocolate milk for dinner?  Why do I have to go to bed?  Why can't you fly like Buzz Lightyear?   But lately, his line of questioning has become . . . uncomfortable.

image c/o
You see, the thing about being a parent is that you don't really have a lot of privacy.  Gavin has no problem running into the bathroom, tearing back the shower curtain, and showing me how he's just drawn all over himself with marker (or cut himself with scissors, or opened 16 packages of fruit snacks and shoved them all into his mouth, or put shorts on over his pajamas, or put the dog in a trash bag).  He also thinks it's totally acceptable to come in when I'm going to the bathroom to proclaim that he's come up with a plan for today.  (His plans usually go something like this:  Okay, how about we watch Toy Story, eat waffles, rollerskate, and go to the store and get candy.  Does that sound like a good plan, Momma?  Great plan; exactly what I had in mind.) Short of locking the door, I've yet to come up with a foolproof way for him to understand that Mommy likes to be alone in the potty.

Well, now that he's getting older, and clearly more observant, he's started asking me all sorts of questions that I really don't like.  It started innocently enough one day when he picked up one of my bras, wrapped it around his belly, and said, "What this for?"  My response: It's for girls.  I'm not really sure how to explain the concept of a bra to a three-year-old.

Image c/o
Unfortunately, his questions and observations didn't stop there.  One day, he barged in while I was getting out of the shower, stopped, cocked his head to the side, pointed to my chest, and said, "Mommy, what are those?"  I admit - I froze.  My hands got a little clammy, I stuttered and mumbled for a second, and then finally said, "Hey, um, yeah, isn't Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on?"  Ah, the art of distraction.

I've had to use this many, many times.  For instance, one time Gavin extracted a tampon from the bathroom drawer, brought it to me, and pointed it at my face like he was accusing me of something.  "Mommy why do you have this?"  Hey, did I give you a cookie yet today? (Snatching tampon and throwing it behind the couch.) Let's go get a cookie!  If I can't explain a bra, there's no way in hell I'm explaining a tampon.  Seriously, I don't see any other way to deal with this problem than to avoid it.  I am not ready to explain the concept of a tampon to anyone, let alone my toddler.  I momentarily considered saying it was a big Q-Tip, but I can only imagine the types of problems that could cause further down the road . . .
Can I tell you how scary it was to google "tampon?"

Now, I know that I should be anatomically correct and tell my kid the proper names for body parts, but then I have to deal with situations like the time he yelled "Penis!" in the grocery store over and over (I can just imagine him doing the same thing but with "Vagina!"), or the time he asked (in public) "Where are your nipples, Mommy?"  Uh, nipples?  I have no idea what you're talking about . . . do you want to go to the toy aisle? Yes, let's go to the toy aisle!

Toddlers are curious, and they want to know about their world.  I'm just not ready to start discussing lady parts with my kid just yet.  Or maybe ever.  He's not going to stop liking cookies anytime soon, so that should buy me some time . . .

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  1. Oh, the joys of mommyhood. It only gets better! :-) Naw...then they STOP asking questions and you start asking the questions and they don't speak to you. :-)

  2. I don't have kids yet, but my little niece is a spit fire! She will say the funnest things at the wrong moments! As the Auntie, I may or may not encourage ;)

  3. I don't have kids either and I don't remember any of my cousins asking that many questions at that age (that I witnessed). But I've heard of this happening all the time. Good move changing the subject all the time. Kids seem to forget stuff like that quickly if their attention is turned to something that they feel is better :)

  4. Oh boy. I can relate. I've explained the bra thing, but I draw the line at tampons. All I can say is thank God for cookies.

  5. LOL, I've tried to be as open and honest as I can with my kids. They barge into the bathroom all the time and point at parts of my body and ask "What's that?" etc etc. Funniest was when we were at the pool and my oldest who is 5 asked why that woman had such a hairy vagina? (I shave my area or wax it) Oh man, so embarrassing. But I just pulled her closer and explained we don't talk about people's private parts in public.

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  6. The older my kids get, the more detailed the explanations need to be. My oldest is almost four, and although I explained tampons are for "when grown-up women have their periods," now she wants to know what a period is. And now that my youngest is starting to potty train, I get to go through the bathroom related questions all over again. Yippee?

  7. I think about this all the time... my boys are always touching my boobs and I tell them to stop but can't articulate the 'why?' And there's that fine line between making them comfortable in their own skin and with body image BUT learning privacy is important too. Let me know when you get the RIGHT answer! Ha!

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