That Day I Froze And A Discussion On Anatomy
There really is a difference between being an actual parent and just talking about being one. In my case, this became readily apparent when I realized that some of my pre parenting plans of action would be more difficult to follow through on than I anticipated.
For example before children, I was adamant that my husband and I would use biologically correct terms when referring to our children’s body parts. I wanted my children to understand how their bodies worked and to respect them and I didn’t feel it would work quite as well if our children referred to their body parts as “units” and “ding-dongs”.
I remember one conversation with my husband prior to the birth of our first daughter reminding him that when she was born we would be following through on this precise biological vernacular, and with that matter all settled, I marched into parenthood.
That is until that fateful day many years ago when my daughter actually queried me on what a certain body part was and I froze.
I froze because I worried that perhaps teaching my daughter to repeat and say the word “vagina” could come back and bite me in the butt. It is a well known fact that toddlers and preschoolers are regular parakeets and will repeat everything and anything they hear and having heard some of her previous ramblings I was concerned.
I was worried that there was a higher than average likelihood that she would the very next Sunday at church perhaps tell all of her friends, her teacher and the whole congregation “she had a vagina”. I had fevered visions that after such an event, there might be more than one call made to social services and the police with a possible end result of either my husband or myself facing possible jail time. I know, I know, you would hope that wouldn’t be the case, until you hear stories like this.
I was concerned that she would tell all of her friends at play school about her new found body part. Thus ending in calls home from Sally and Suzie’s mom about what my daughter had told their daughter.
All of this crashed into my mind as I looked at my sweet daughter and then most importantly myself. I wondered who had I become, because prior to parenthood it had all seemed so clear.
Isn’t that always the way though?
Prior to parenthood I knew that I would never, ever share a bed with one of my children and yet, once that baby was born I did.
Prior to parenthood I knew exactly how to potty train, burp and soothe a crying child.
Prior to parenthood I knew a lot more about parenting than the mother who was sitting at the edge of the tub wondering how she should answer her daughter’s question.
I still felt strongly that I wanted my children to not be ashamed of their bodies and to see both the beauty and the mechanics of how their bodies worked, but those lingering fears were still there.
Because if parenting has taught me one thing, now on multiple occasions, it is that there is not one single perfect answer for ANYTHING, and that sometimes as parents we just don’t know what to do. And truthfully that is OK.
So what did I end up doing you may ask? Did I follow through on my parenting ideal or stay frozen?
I am happy to say I did indeed truthfully answer my daughter’s question. I looked at her and told her the body part she was referring to her was her vagina and she looked up at me, blinked and asked if she could have ice cream after her bath.
Stay Happy! Stay Informed!
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