“Mommy, what’s on the cow’s pee pee?” asked my daughter, pointing to a puzzle piece. I was putting the dishes away when my daughter had the gall to ask me this question 6 months ago. To some, the answer is simple, black and white even. So-called perfect mothers would say, “it’s an udder, sweetkins. It’s where the milk comes out.”
For me, it evoked a wave of nervous nausea. How dare she ask me this question at 3? She’s not supposed to make me sweat like this, until she’s at least 12, right? Then, since she’ll be able to read, I can just hand her copies of Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret and Our Bodies Ourselves and be on my merry way. I mean, she can’t even wipe herself right after a #2, yet. What’s going on here?
The door had now been opened to why questions of an uncomfortable nature. Possible, future questions flooded my mind. Mommy, why do boys have a stick hanging out from their pee pee? Mommy, why do you have hair on your pee pee and I don’t? Mommy, where do babies come from? Mommy, what kind of birth control should I use? At this point, I was having a hard time hearing myself think because my heart palpitations were so loud.
I am first generation, Indian-American. Anytime they showed kissing on TV, my dad would announce the show we were watching was stupid and then go upstairs. Mind you, I still remember him doing this when I was 30.
When I had my first period, I actually thought I was dying because I had no idea what it was. I thought maxi pads were only for old people with bladder control issues. In fact, I didn’t learn about the birds and the bees until 5th grade science class with one of those 70s, 8 mm flicks where they re-enact conversations you’re supposed to have with your parents, but no one can act. Think Dharma Initiative.
My husband, daughter and I went on a cruise recently to the Carribbean. This was pre-Concordia, which I will never do again until my daughter knows how to swim 4 full lengths of an Olympic-sized pool and can breathe under water for at least 5 minutes.
Well, my daughter is afraid of the shower. She only takes baths. And, in our 3rd class room with no window on the lowest deck, there was no bath, just a 2×2 shower that my husband barely fit in by himself. The only way we could convince her to take a shower and not risk being smelly for 7 days, was if my husband went in with her. Simple solution carrying a big can of worms. Let’s just say my husband wore his swim trunks for most of the trip.
Recently, I decided to ask my mommy girlfriends how they handle these oh-so uncomfortable questions that cause me to cover my eyes as a knee-jerk reaction. Almost all of them said they started referring to their toddlers private parts by their scientific names from the time they were babies, vulva and penis. I was so impressed. How mature and politically correct of them. What a great idea, I thought. I would start immediately.
Well, let’s just say that was last month and pee pee and poo poo are still the most frequently used words in our house.