Front bottoms and Wee-wees

Vagina Monologues - on tour

What do you call your daughter’s?

A friend of mine was upset last week when his son (aged 6) gleefully brought up the subject of vaginas in an over-loud voice.

“I know where he’s got that from,” he complained, looking at my son (aged 8).

The difference is, this friend has only boys. If you have a girl you have to call it something.

I knew we had to come up with a name when Ben started saying to his little sister at bathtime,
“I’ve got a willy and you haven’t” in a “nur nur nee nur nur” kind of a way.
Like all little boys he was very fond of his willy, and enjoyed pulling it until it would stretch no more while saying,

“Look how big my willy is.” A fine training for a future career in rugby.

I didn’t want her to feel deprived, so it was time to let her know she does have something just as important as a willy, probably more so in the grand scheme of things.

So after considering many twee (think twinkle, frou-frou), soul-less (front bottom) and just plain mad (Hoohaa) alternatives, I decided to call a spade a fucking shovel.

So vagina it was.

As it happened she couldn’t manage the word very well at the time, and came up with “Dina”, so it’s been Dina ever since.

A few years earlier Ben, with a liking for rhyme and a disregard for gender stereotypes, had named his willy “Milly”.

So now Milly and Dina are as much a part of the family as Phoebe and Sandy, although not generally so visible and with less of an appetite for hay.

Mike, needless to say, is not keen on the word. He’d prefer Twinkle, Frou-frou, Flibbety-gibbet, anything really that isn’t so factual. But sex education does away with all these euphemisms once they get to Year 3.

Ben has been “doing sex” at school, and he recently came home with a diagram of a woman’s body that he’d had to label. I was pleased to see he’d correctly labelled “clitoris”.

One of his friends (who only has brothers) went home and told his Mum they’d been learning about “virginias”.

When I showed Mike the diagram he grumbled on about “the loss of innocence” and all that, but I think the world could do with more men who know a clitoris exists, and who also know where it is.

Hopefully it’ll be a few more years before Ben knows what it’s actually for though.

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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18 Responses to Front bottoms and Wee-wees

  1. Omega Mummy says:

    My oldest referred to her ‘china’ for many years, which I always liked for its jolly tea-drinking, sound of Bow Bells/music hall ring, as in ‘….my old china’

  2. Jenny says:

    Ha! I misread the “year 3″ thing. I was all, her 3 year old son labeled the clitoris? Damn!

  3. Linda says:

    I used to say ‘tuppence,’ then came ‘twinkle’ or ‘twink’ (Twinkle, twinkle little star was fun…) Now I have progressed to (cough) fanny.

  4. HOORAY! VAGINA, vagina, Vagina!!

    I was in a amateur production of the Vagina monologues to raise money for a women’s organisation and it was the most liberating thing ever!!

    And teaching boys to say vagina is GREAT! And a good idea to teach them where the clitoris is as well!!

  5. Yes. Vagina! Vagina! Oh, er, sorry…

    We are calling it ‘privates’ at the moment. I blame my wife.

    Rgds,

    Sahd.

  6. Drunk Mummy says:

    I had a friend who told her daughter it was called a “whistle” – couldn’t she see the trouble she was storing up for the future?
    The poor child has probably spent years waiting for a jaunty tune to emanate from her knickers.

  7. Beta Mum says:

    I imagine Hannah will feel a little uncomfortable when she first hears the song “Dina Dina, show us your leg!”

  8. dulwichmum says:

    How lovely and refreshing. I was raised a Roman Catholic, with three sisters, and my mother never gave it a name. It was never, ever, ever mentioned. I think I like the sound of a “twinkle” – so I shall tell my four year old tomorrow.

    DM

  9. spymum says:

    I’m laughing like a drain at ‘whistle’! I’m going to chuckle about that for the rst of the day!

    My mother called it a ‘fanny’ and my youngest misheard and calls it a ‘van’!

  10. rilly super says:

    my husband thinks Clitoris is an island in the Aegean. Please tell me whom I should contact to send him to the same class as your son.

  11. We’ve opted for the anatomically correct terms. However, one time, my 5 year-old couldn’t remember the name. She thought for a moment, and said, “um…pee-pee bum.” I almost lost it.

    Lately, every time I change her diaper, my almost 2 year-old, points to it and says,”what’s that?” over and over. I end up saying Vagina about 5 times before she’s satisfied.

    Do you sing the song, “I’ve been working on the railroad” in Australia? All I can think is the part that says, “someone’s in the kitchen with Dina…”

  12. Beta Mum says:

    SingForhim – pee pee bum is a very logical name for it, and very funny! Re the song – I’m not in Australia, I’m in Blighty, and I haven’t heard of it. Sounds like another one for Hannah to avoid.

  13. childlife says:

    We’ve just opted for the terms ‘girl bottoms’ and ‘boy bottoms’ with our kiddos. Our four-year-old little girl would get too creative if we got specific with terminology : ) She already feels compelled at bedtime prayers to ask God to ‘please fix my little bruv-ver’s boy bottom – it looks funny and I fink it’s broked.’

  14. TaunaLen says:

    I’m giggling here at “whistle” and the prayers for a broken “boy bottom”. Funny that I don’t remember terminology for private parts being an issue when I was a child. Maybe I’ve blocked it all from memory? We used the anatomically correct terms with my kids when they were little. Now I’m lamenting the fun we missed with words like twink and willy… Oh well.

    ~TaunaLen

  15. I am biting my lip not to bust out laughing because it is bedtime and not everyone is asleep! I just yesterday of all things got out the Story of Me series with my 4 year old. I had visions that my entire week would be an echo of vagina, but thankfully, not yet…

  16. obsessed says:

    The problem with ‘vagina’ is that it’s wrong -I mean the vagina is called a vagina but not the bits that are more important to you when you’re a little girl -the bits that you can see and play with and whose functions have meaning in your every day life such as the urethra and the clitoris. Calling the whole set, vagina in my view is awfully phalocentric. I will opt for the Greek, ‘pipi’ it is.

  17. Fiona says:

    One of my 3 year old daughter’s (male) friends recently came out with “boys have willies and girls have families” – pretty perceptive for his age I thought!

  18. Pingback: Mothers and Daughters Blog Carnival #2 | An NC Mom Blog | Real Life

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