Scott and I just finished up a "Family Roadmap" class at church. It was an awesome experience full of good information and Godly guidance for parents, like us, who are trying to raise up children in the way they should go. The final class of the series was about talking to your kids about their sexuality. Scary stuff, right? And even after a whole bunch of good tips and facts presented graciously by none other than our pastor's wife, the whole subject still just kind of freaks me out.
It's not that I'm all that worried about talking to my kids about sex, when the time comes. There aren't a whole lot of subjects that I deem to be off-limits. Honestly, I'm way more concerned with the words I might have to use in those discussions. The problem is this: sometime in my childhood, it became solidified in my mind that the actual names of body parts (like penis) are horrifying.
When I say words (like penis), I get this sort of tight feeling in my chest, and it gets really hard to swallow.
When I hear words (like penis), I involuntarily gasp, and then I get a bit giggly.
I actually *no lie* unintentionally drop my voice to a whisper anytime I have to say a word like...you know.
So when I learned during this class that it was probably best to use actual words to teach our children their body parts, I got a little worried. And then I giggled.
"What do you do," I asked our instructor, "when your toddler son LOVES to talk about his *whisper* penis? You see, he's quite infatuated with it, and so I taught him weenie because I thought it would be better, especially in public, if he didn't say......that other word....all the time."
Turns out, there's a pretty general consensus that teaching the correct terminology is better. Apparently, it teaches them early on that there's nothing about their bodies that they should be ashamed of, in light of the fact that God created them wonderfully. Who knew?
For the record, my little son, at three, is hardly ashamed of his weenie. It's one of his favorite topics. But, being a conscientious mother, I decided to set him straight to give him the best chance of being able to utter the word penis (heehee) later in life, if he so chooses. I calmly (and privately) told him the correct word when he wanted to discuss his weenie during a diaper change yesterday. It took a little convincing, but I think he finally believed me.
Today, out of the third row in the van, and much to the shock of my other kids, came this sudden revelation:
"My weenie is actually a PENIS!"
Gasps. Giggles. Shortness of breath. Reddening of cheeks.
"Weenies are PENISES! Can we talk about our PENISES?"
"Well," I said, "Penises are really only things we talk about at home...and maybe at the doctor. They're private."
"PENISES are private. I like privates! Can I talk about my PENIS when we get home?"
"Uh......sure. For now, let's talk about something else. Like maybe..."
No shame. I have the feeling that in a few weeks, I'll be pretty used to hearing the word penis.
Disclaimer: If your child is in Sunday School with my toddler, and he shares with him or her this word that may or may not make you blush, I truly do apologize. Just remember that the pastor's wife said it was okay. :)