My mom came over the other day to watch Ellie for a few hours so I could mud and sand the drywall in our bedroom.Â She was able to play with her, take her to the park, feed her lunch, and put her down for a nap while I worked.Â So the least I could do was make her lunch before she went home.
While we were eating, we were chatting about the day and talking about how Ellie has been lately.Â She’s going through a kicking phase right now when you change her diaper right now.Â “Don’t change my diaper, kapow!”Â We were both discussing the reasons she might be doing it and how to get her to stop.Â It was a nice relaxed conversation during lunch, until…
The house was quiet.Â Ellie was upstairs sleeping.Â There was no music or TV on.Â We were both quietly chewing.Â It was that pause in a conversation when one subject ended and you were waiting for a new one to begin.Â If we were strangers, you would probably call this “awkward silence.”Â But it was just my mom, so it was no big deal.Â And then it happened.
After that long pause in conversation, my mom just blurted out, “Well she certainly has found her vagina.”Â I freaked out.Â WHAT!?Â I consider myself a pretty open person, but there are certain things I can’t handle.Â One of them is hearing my mom say the word “panties,” and the other one is hearing her say the word, “vagina.”Â I didn’t know how to react.Â I know there is nothing wrong with that word.Â It is the medically correct term, but it’s just the way she said it.Â With such enunciated emphasis.Â “Va-GI-na.”Â Ugh.
I didn’t know what to do except ignore it.Â Maybe I could pretend that it never happened. Maybe the subject would come and go if I didn’t acknowledge her talking.Â But her follow up to me not responding was saying with a giggle, “It reminds me of when you and your brother were babies and you would grab your penises.”Â Ahh!Â Did she just say that!?Â It was like being punched in the face.Â Add this to the list of things I can’t handle.Â Just seeing that word in the same sentence as “mom” makes me uncomfortable.
Can’t she just say “thingy” or “lady parts” or something like that?Â They sound like such medical terms and the last time I checked, she’s not a doctor.Â Do we always need to call them by the proper names?Â Â If I was talking with one of my mom friends and had a lady parts question regarding Ellie, would I call it a vagina?Â No!Â Actually, I probably wouldn’t even ask them a lady parts question because they’d think I was creepy.Â Um, I think Ellie might have some sort of condition, because she keeps scratching at her… uh… um… her, you know… her vagina.Â “Did you just say vagina!?”
So as I sat there creeped out, ignoring my mom’s words which felt like daggers, hoping they’d go away and not be said again, I started to wonder.Â I’m going to have to call these things by some sort of name at some time with Ellie, right?Â What should I call them?Â Do I want her walking around saying, “I have a hoohaa!” or “I have a vagina!”?Â Ahh!Â Good thing she can’t talk yet.
The more I think about it, most people don’t use the proper terms for body, so why should we do it with the body part names?Â How many parents have you heard say, “Do you need to defecate?”Â Or, “Oh no, Suzy urinated in her pants last night!” or “Watch out, that cabbage makes Sally flatuate.”Â I can’t think of anybody.Â You only hear, “Does Billy need to go poo poo?Â Poo poo in the potty?” or “Pee pee wee pee tinkle tinkle.”
I suppose we still have time before we decide what we are going to call those “parts.”Â But I guess I could just be the stereotypical dad and say, “Go ask your mother.”
But until then, I’ll stick with referring to them as “man parts” and “lady parts” and avoid conversations that involve those phrases altogether.Â Especially with my mom.Â (Sorry mom, I love you)