Valentines 2015

Valentines 2015

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Using Anatomical Terms

Si and I had previously discussed how we wanted to proceed when the girls started asking questions about specific body parts. We had decided that we were going to use the correct anatomical terms from the get go, in an attempt to avoid any unnecessary confusion later. We figured that the girls would probably be 2 years old or so before any of these "anatomical" terms would need to go into effect.

Or so we thought....

We have been working on naming major body parts with the girls for a while now. We sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" on a pretty regular basis, and we have several books that go over body parts - mainly eyes, ears, nose, teeth, tongue, and belly button. The girls are absolutely obsessed with my growing belly and belly button (and breasts), along with eyes, nose, ears, tongue, and teeth, so I thought the girls had a pretty decent understanding of each of these body parts we had been working on.

Apparently this is not the case.

Last night the girls were enjoying their nightly bath and were busy touching each others noses and ears. I jumped in asked them to point to their belly buttons (as belly buttons have been a recent fascination to them and I was 99% sure they could easily identify their belly buttons).

Livvy pointed to her belly button right away, but Bri, instead of pointing to her belly button pointed to her, ahem, lady parts. Si and I looked at each other in an absolute panic!

Oh no, I thought, what was our plan again?
Correct anatomical terms, right??? That's what we'd decided when we talked about this months ago, right? Right???
Well, technically that isn't her "vagina" is it? No, that's probably her "clitoris"...but were we going to be that specific? Oh, but I don't like this naming "real" parts at all!
Crap! So what do I do?!
Si is impatiently looking to me for a response....

"No," I replied "that is your vagina. Show me where your belly button is."

Bri, again, points to her lady parts.

"No, that is not your belly button sweetie, THIS is your belly button" (pointing to her belly button).

"Now show me again where your belly button is."

Bri again points to her lady parts....

"No sweetie, that is NOT your belly button, that is your vagina. THIS is your belly button."
(You are supposed to reinforce what you have taught them, right??? You should make sure they really understand, right??? Wrong??? I just don't know! Should I have just dropped it???)

By this time Livvy is getting confused, so I decided to move on.
"Livvy, where is your nose?"

Livvy points to her ear....

Oye...I guess we have a ways to go on naming body parts after all...


So, what do you guys do? What terminology do you use with your kids? Is it pee-pee's and wee-wee's? Private parts? Lady parts? What do you call the girl (or boy) parts, and why??? I'm kind of thinking there should be some standard so everyone does the same thing, otherwise this gets incredibly confusing and difficult for both the parents and the kiddos! Besides, while it may be the correct anatomical term, I don't really want to be in the middle of church service and have one of the girls blurt out something about their vagina - eek! Not that there is anything I can really do to prevent DO say the darndest things at the absolute worst possible times, don't they?

I understand this is a bit of a touchy topic, so thanks for sharing your input and advice!

Until next time -


  1. We use the words "penis," "nipples," and "bottom." And we have a whole spiel about how you don't touch other people's parts (really any of them, but these specifically). Little Man knows his & his daddy's parts; all he knows about mommy is she doesn't have a penis because she is a girl.

    I will tell you at walmart the other day I bought his Aveeno baby lotion & let him carry it around. As loud as can be he said, "Mama! This is lotion for my penis!"

    Mortification. But it's actually kinda funny coming from a two year old.

    I have no advice for girl parts; maybe "mommy parts" or just the whole area is the booty? Booty = treasure, so they will learn it's a special area that should be protected? It is a pet peeve of mine when people refer to that area as the vagina, when, in fact, your vagina is inside your body...but that's a whole other issue, isn't it?

    Good luck :)

    1. Good insight Rachel! Thanks so much for commenting!
      And I am LOL'ing at little man's lotion for his penis!! HAHAHAHAHA! I am sure you were utterly mortified!
      See, I think we intend to use the correct terminology for the male part, so we should use the correct terminology for the female parts too then, right? I have been informed that technically the correct terminology is don't know! That's not a word I ever used to describe my parts!
      I appreciate your input!!! =)

  2. You are better than me. We don't use the real name for that body part in our house. The girly part down there is known as a "peach" in our house. We have always called it that and will do so with all the girls until they are old enough to really understand. Maybe I'm silly but I don't know that my 3 year old is really ready for that conversation. I'm sure once she hits 4 or a little over we'll talk about the proper name. That being said I think you should do whatever feels right in your house. Girls seem to always grab that area out of curiosity. It seemed more sweet and innocent to say "stop touching your peach" vs "stop touching your vagina" ;). I look foward to hearing what you guys end up sticking with.

    1. I don't think that's silly at all. You are doing what wors for you! I mean, does it really make a difference what they are calling it at age 2?? They are going to learn the correct names eventually, and will they even remember at that point what they used to call it? I have no idea what I called it when I was little, and when I asked my mom, she couldn't recall either, she just said that it wasn't discussed much...maybe it was "private parts" but that was it.
      I hope we can find something that works for us and stick with it =)
      Thanks so much for commenting!!!!

  3. We throw around the word "vagina" just like we throw around the word "nose." Its no big deal in our house. We all have "vaginas" and "butts", Daddy has a "penis" (although he doesn't like for them to see him naked so penis doesn't come up much). And yes, we call the whole area "vagina." I think they're a little young to start getting into "labia" etc. Not because its inappropriate, just because it would confuse them. Although, the correct term for all of the outside genitalia is "vulva." Just FYI. I really believe that if WE make it no big deal, they will think its no big deal. And we include "vagina" when we play "where is your ______?"

    Here's a funny story- every year, we got to the beach with my mom's entire extended family. My cousin was there along with her husband and three boys. I was changing one of the girls' diapers and her husband was nearby and he heard me say something along the lines of "Wow! You were really wet, lets give that vagina a minute to air out!" (LOL does anyone else do this?) and he looked at me like I was INSANE. I said "What? We have a lot of vaginas at our house!" And he was all "no, no, we talk about pee-pees all the time at home, it just startled me." But really, I think its fine! They are what they are. We don't go around insisting that our kids call their nostrils their "nosey-nose holes" or something because we think nostrils are gross.

    This is perfect practice for the future. If you can get comfortable saying "vagina" and "penis" in front of your one-year-olds, its going to be waaaay more comfortable having that sex talk down the road... Good luck. And just say it! Say it a lot. Say it in all kinds of situations. And soon it will feel like just another word to you. And if she says it during church, who cares?

    1. Wow Stephanie! Thanks for your input! So you have already dealt with this situation and have a solution! You go girl!! I think your approach is perfect. The only think I am considering at this point is whether we should actually be calling it a (?) vulva instead. Definitely food for thought!! Thank so SOOO much for commenting and being so honest!!!
      And just for the record, we aren't going to use the word pee-pee for little man either...gotta go all in if that's what you're doing, right? =).

    2. Ha! You definitely have to go all in! And FYI- we don't actually use the word "vulva." Everything is a vagina in this house.

  4. LOL!

    I don't think it matters what you call it! They will still embarrass the crap out of you many, many times.

    We say penis. We say pee-pee and potty. "We" talk about who can touch his private parts and who can't.

    I don't think there's a wrong way to do it. :-)


    1. To your PS - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! You crack me up!
      I don't know that it matters either, but we probably should be consistent. And, if we intend to call little man's part a penis, well, then the girls have to have a "real" name for their parts too! LOL!
      Thanks for commenting!!!

  5. I am no help...we totally use made up words. I blame my Grandma. She always had these funny words and I just carried on the tradition!

    1. That's okay too!!! You do what works for YOU, not everyone else! If that is the tradition, that's the tradition =). We don't seem to have a tradition, so I'm making one! LOL!
      Thanks for commenting!

  6. Uggh. We just ignore it all together :) Right now we say "down there" as in, dont' forget to wipe "down there." Very mature...I know! The worst part is, I am a middle school health teacher, so I talk about this stuff all the time! Just not to my two year olds!

    1. You will get there! When you are ready of course! It is uncomfortable, I agree, especially when talking to two year olds about it! They don't really understand...your middle schoolers on the other hand, I would hope they would get it. And that makes it easier to talk about too!
      You will have to let me know when you do get there what you end up doing =).
      Thanks for commenting!!

  7. I'm not sure what we are going to do! Growing up we called it "little bottom" and "big bottom" Mine are 13 months and I don't think I've called it anything...hell, I don't like to say "it" either! I always say "down there"

    1. I think it's a common problem! And just looking at the comments on my post, there's no real concensus as to what "it" should be called!
      Thanks for your input, and thanks for commenting!!

  8. We called it "front bum" and "back bum" growing up... I think I'll just call it vagina and bum but as my baby is only 2 months old I have time to think it over, thanks for this thought provoking post!!

  9. I totally had one of these moments last night, and thought of you guys immediately! Then I blogged about it. Ha! This parenting thing is not easy! Hope you're doing well, Megan!

  10. So, I love this post. I hopped over from Julia's nipple post. ha I have two little girls (2 1/2 and 4 1/2). We call it all a vagina for now. There's no way they're going to understand the anatomy of the vagina being inside and the vulva, labia, clitoris, etc., being outside the body. I have been debating for a while now on whether or not to switch over to vulva or labia. For now, I'm sticking with vagina...just seems easier and more acceptable to the majority of people. I hope as the girls get older we'll continue to be more detailed (like when I have to give the "How to insert a tampon" lesson). For now, I'm happy to stick with vagina and it doesn't seem near as awkward as having to have the period, pad, and tampon lesson so I'm quite thrilled to stay here for a bit!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!