My Personal…

Did anyone else watch the premiere episode of The Talk on CBS yesterday? It’s basically like The View, but with an all-Momma panel, including a couple of celeb Moms I ADORE: Sara Gilbert & Sharon Osbourne. It was Sara Gilbert’s idea — which only makes me love her more. I always felt a connection to her as the character Darlene on my favorite sitcom, Roseanne

One of the topics that came up on was talking to your kids about sex. Now, being a Momma of a 2 & 5 yr old, I didn’t think this applied to me yet, but since nothing else is on at 2p and I had a dreaded pink load of laundry to fold, I kept watching. Turns out, the main thing they discussed was what you called your private parts around your kids. Growing up, my very Catholic [your-body-is-a-temple] mother would only refer to them as “Your Personal” Seriously. My vagina, my breasts, my ass — I only knew them as “My Personal” for years!!! What?! No cutesy names, but no real definition regarding the difference between my private parts. I was confused for YEARS; don’t know when I actually discovered that “My Personal” was actually called a vagina, for example, no idea when I realized what a penis was and never felt comfortable talking about my body until my 20s… even if I experienced quite a bit with my body before then. I was so naive & learned 99% of my sex-ed from my friends… how could I possibly learn or
want to talk to my own mother about this topic when she couldn’t even say penis or vagina out loud?? 

The Mommas on The Talk all varied in their answers. Sara Gilbert agreed with the experts they interviewed, that when referring to a vagina, penis, etc, you should call them a vagina or a penis. Leah Remini, made me laugh and shutter at the same time. Leah seems very protective of her daughter, and calls her vagina a “cupcake”. Wow. Made me wonder how confused her daughter had to be when she ate actual cupcakes. Sharon, of course, had a couple of unique names for her kids’ private parts… sounded adorable & hilarious in her accent, as does just about everything that comes out of her mouth! 

Because of my own confusion growing up, I’m on the “proper name” bandwagon. My girls both misunderstood the difference between their butt & vagina around the age of 2. During diaper changes, my daughters would say “My butt!” and point to their vagina, I would tell them, “No, your butt is behind you, where poop comes out of, but this is your vagina, where pee-pee comes out.” It’s something I’ve had to say several times to reinforce the topic, but only at the moments where it’s questioned. I don’t go around discussing vaginas at the drop of the hat with my kids. At this age, I do feel topics like this should be on a “when-questioned” basis. 

A couple of months ago, during a diaper change, my youngest pointed to her vagina and said “LOOK! There’s my GOGINA!!” in the cutest little 2-yr old voice you’ve ever heard. I had to stop myself from laughing my ass off the first few times she said it, but now she pretty much says it every time we change her diaper. Although I’m not on the cutesty name bandwagon, I’m totally on board with gogina, mainly because she came up with it herself, and let’s face it, the word gogina makes me smile like crazy. Plus, this [hopefully] won’t lead to confusion like “my personal” or “cupcake” might. I also hope that being open & honest about our body parts will help ease into inevitable discussion of sex some day. Ugh. Not looking forward to those days… but I am preparing myself now, and giving them a little bit of what they are ready for now should help all of us down the road. I need a beer just thinking about that discussion. 

How do you refer to body parts with your kids? 

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  1. Chrissy
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Well Kelli,I also grew up in a household where we didn’t talk about ANY of that stuff. I also learned all my sex ed from friends because I think my mom was just to uncomfortable talking about it. Jordan is 7 now, and we have been through this. I gave her the correct names, but we still sometimes just say “your privates”. Just a couple months ago, she was very persistant in knowing how a baby gets out of it mommas stomach. That was hard for me, but I still beleive the truth is better when it comes to these things. We went and got books from the library, and between those, and just talking to her, I think she has good understanding now. It gets harder the older they get, since naturally they want to know more and more. I vowed to myself though, that I would always be open to my kids when it came to talking about sex. I hated being younger and having questions about sex, or just my body, and feeling like I COULD NOT ask my mom!!

  2. Gina
    Posted October 19, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I agree with both of you . . . I also was not told all the facts from my parents, learned it all the round about way, and I really believe it affects how a girl, especially, feels about her body. I think its appropriate to teach little ones different names for parts, but eventually move on to the real names and the real things that happen. Children shouldn’t be afraid to express themselves about their bodies and what is happening to them. However, I am sure its hard to teach them the appropriate times to shout out the names of said parts LOL 😉 I just think alot would change with teenagers and sex if we were all taught to respect our bodies and not be afraid early on. Just my theory.

  3. Posted October 19, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    At 11 and 13, they both know all the proper terms. When I am talking to either of them about sex or anything of a medical nature, we all use the proper terms.

    If my son is streaking from the bathroom to the bedroom because he forgot a towel for his bath, it’s more likely that you will hear someone tell him that they don’t want to see his boy parts. LOL Same for the daughter leaving her door open when she’s getting ready for school.

    Casual conversation usually refers to it as girl parts or boy parts- and then there are butts and boobs. But at 11 and 13, (and hell, even the husband and I at 34 and 32) in casual conversation, penis and vagina is more likely to cause a fit of giggles. We are all really mature. Yep, we sure are.

  4. Posted October 19, 2010 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    Funny. We always used real words too with our kids. Diana’s version was “bagina”. Close enough, hon. 😉

  5. Posted October 20, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    My parents were very into the use of proper names for EVERYTHING. I mean, you didn’t even say fart. It was passing gas, it came from your bottom (Not butt) It was breasts, not boobs etc. My daughter is almost 3 and we’re getting to the point where she is curious about all her parts. When we’re in the bath I tell her we’re washing her “crevices” I kinda like Oprah’s vah-jay-jay. But for now I’m winging it. She calls it her “Gyna” but like Jolene says, there’s a time for proper names and a time to paraphrase. That comes with time.

  6. Posted October 21, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    My daughter has always called her vagina her bagina! I have a hard time correcting her because it is so cute. I guess I should now that she is 6, you think?

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  7. Posted October 24, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    I learned everything from my older sister when I was late teens. I guess when I was small I had no idea what it was called.

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  8. Posted October 26, 2010 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    Just found your blog…love your name! I can relate!

    Around here with two boys (5 and 3) and a girl (age 1), it’s been interesting …when my daughter was born my three year old wanted to know if we “forgot” her penis at the hospital, and the 5 year old said she just “has two butts.” *Sigh*

    Technically we use technical terms, and technically they’d repeat whatever we called it, so I guess it’s better than “cupcake” or something weird and confusing?

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    Kelli Williams

    Kelli Williams

    Keeping up with 2 little girls, writing assignments, music gigs, the house, laundry, ETC, backwards, wearing ass kicking boots and a smile, without spilling my beer. Ok, ok, so I spill my beer, but my floors have never been more germ-free since I started putting a little alcohol on them. Who needs ammonia...

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