When we brought our baby boy home from the hospital, I didn’t think twice about the fact that his private parts were different than his sister’s. I also did not anticipate that she would notice this difference immediately. The first time R watched me give my little man a bath, the following scenario took place:
After a long, hard stare at E’s privates, R looked at me and said: “Mummy, E has an elephant on his butt!” I almost died laughing! Of course, I had to pull myself together and react appropriately to my daughter’s assumption. For a moment I panicked- we hadn’t discussed what we would call the kids’ privates in the future. So, I told it like it is: “No, honey, that’s not an elephant. That’s a penis.” R thought about this for a moment. “Do I have a penis?” Again, I couldn’t help but snicker: “No, sweetheart, you don’t have a penis. Only boys have penises.”
For a few weeks, R was fascinated by the idea of penises. She would randomly ask me if certain people had a penis. It was really funny, and I tried my best to not get uncomfortable with these questions.
As I suspected, the questions soon went away and it became just another normal fact of life to R that boys had penises. She now calls them weenies because my husband referred to them as that sometimes. Every now and again she will inform me that E has a weenie.
I wasn’t quite prepared for the dialogue that took place yesterday. I had just come out of the shower and R was playing in the bathroom. I dried myself off and put my towel away. R always finds it very interesting when I am naked and looked me over intently. She asked: “Do you have a weenie, mummy?” I said: “No, silly goose, only boys have weenies.” She thought for a second and suddenly exclaimed: “Mummy, you have grass on your butt!” I again laughed really hard, then explained that it was in fact hair, not grass. (To those of you who are confused- she was not looking at my actual butt, and the hair I have is not green)
As you see, explaining genitalia to our children can be really fun. Don’t get uncomfortable- it’s completely normal for them to be interested and intrigued. Our private parts look nothing like the rest of our bodies and it’s only natural for our children to have questions. After all, as a German singer once noted, genitalia look very much like ‘radioactive vegetables from outer space’.