Private parts

by , posted on June 22nd, 2010 in Uncategorized




We were at the pool the other day. I helped Sawyer get out of his suit and into his clothes, holding the towel up so he could have privacy.

He started dancing around. Doing a wiener dance. And I say wiener because, well, he does. I have found it really doesn’t matter if you teach them anatomically correct names for body parts and always use them when you talk to them about it. They will hear from a friend that it can be called Something Else, and suddenly you have a wiener and nuts.

Mommy? My wiener? It’s called a hot dog. HEEHEEHEE!

Dance. Dance. Dance.

And a girl’s private part? It’s called the bun. HAHAHAHA!

Dance. Dance. Dance.

Where did you hear that?

I made it up. That’s what it looks like.

Well, he does kind of have a point. And I’m trying not to laugh, but he’s just getting warmed up.

Mommy? And then! And then you put the hot dog in the bun! AHOHOHOHOHA!

The eff? I mean, I KNOW he doesn’t understand the mechanics of intercourse, or that there even is such a thing. So I know it was innocent. The main thing is I don’t want him espousing his theory to his classmates during recess. Can you imagine??

But you know, it’s normal to be 6 1/2 and curious about your body and the differences between boys and girls.

So the other day, we’re over a friend’s house. I’m outside chasing X around the courtyard. My friend’s daughter comes out and says Sawyer, Sage and her 6 year-old brother are locked in the bathroom and won’t come out.

Ever just know something is going on that shouldn’t? Yeah. Me too.

I go upstairs. They’re in the boy’s bedroom. The boy and Sage both say they were all just peeing.

But Sawyer? He told me the truth: they pulled down their pants and looked at each other’s private parts.

GAH!

To be honest, I wasn’t that mad. I mean, like I said, it’s totally normal. But I had to make them THINK I was mad. I did tell Sawyer I was proud of him for telling the truth, even though he knew he was probably going to be in trouble.

For me, it’s a matter of not only what is appropriate behavior, but of keeping them safe. It might not always be a good friend of the same age in a safe place wanting to compare. And what would they say then? What if the child asking was, say, 12? Sixteen?  Or an adult? Would my kids say No or would they go along with it?

It’s a scary, scary thing.

So on the ride home, I reiterated that you NEVER show anyone your private parts. That YOU are the only ones allowed to touch them. And that if someone asks you to see yours? You say No and tell Mommy, Daddy or another trusted adult.

But what if the older kid says he didn’t? Would you believe me, Mommy?

I will ALWAYS believe you.

Always.

——————-

Have any of you gone through this? How did you or how do you plan to talk to your kids about privacy?


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44 Responses to “Private parts”

  1. Kirsten Says:

    June 22nd, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    my favorite part? all of your tags here at the bottom. Google search for your favorite Oscar Meyer recipe?? You get Sawyer & his wiener dance. Awesome.

    Excellent points made – I have had the convo abt not showing ppl yr private parts, respecting your siblings by not waving them in their faces (ahem!), and that they need to trust their feelings if it seems something is ‘weird’ about a situation. Have NO idea if its sunk in. Pretty sure not. Sigh.
    Kirsten recently posted..Happy Father’s Day

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Yes, you always hope they’ll trust their gut. But I always think of that Oprah episode where the undercover guy lures kids away from the park while the parents watch on a video screen. Terrifying!

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  2. Amy Says:

    June 22nd, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    First, I had to laugh at the hot dog goes in the bun … imagine his surprise one day to find out the truth of it all!

    Secondly, this hasn’t happened to us … YET. I have talked to the girls about their “girl parts” and that they should stay private and the only people who are okay are mommy, daddy if mommy is NOT home and it is an emergency or the doctor with mommy or daddy present in the room.

    It is a hard issue to know the right things to do and this topic is one of my biggest anxieties when it comes to parenting. We also do not use the word “secret” no matter what. The girls know if ANYONE tells them ANYTHING is a secret, they are to tell mommy or daddy immediately no matter what. We only use the word surprise. This is mostly because of an experience I had when younger with an adult who asked me to do inappropriate things and then I was asked to keep our secret in exchange for money the next time I saw him … I was smart enough to know the questions asked of me were wrong, but I did keep the secret for 20 years … when I told my parents … my sister had also admitted to being approached by this adult and she too kept her secret for nearly 20 years … again she was smart enough to say no.

    I just do not want to scare my girls, but … gosh … they need to be educated smartly … I hope I have those smarts.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Amy – I KNOW! I never thought of my part as a bun, but.. ;)

    VERY sorry to hear about your sister and you. I am so thankful you both went with your gut. There are so many sick people in this world, you know? And I also don’t want to scare them, but unfortunately, the world CAN be very scary!

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  3. Cheryl D. Says:

    June 22nd, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    I haven’t gone through this yet. My daughter knows that boys are built differently, and she knows the names, but she doesn’t know anything else, although I’m sure she’s still curious.
    Cheryl D. recently posted..It Was a Really Bad Day at the Park

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    It’s not a fun convo, that’s for sure!

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  4. Shell Says:

    June 22nd, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    I was totally cracking up about the weiner going in the bun. Almost spit out my drink.

    I’ve talked to my oldest about this(he’s 5) and how he shouldn’t show anyone his private parts and no one should touch them.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Kids’ frame of reference is amazing, isn’t it?

    [Reply]


  5. Karen Mortensen Says:

    June 22nd, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    I am glad that I don’t have to deal with this stuff. I am glad that people talk about this more now. I was about 8 when a man nextdoor took me in his car-in the front yard-in daylight- and showed himself to me and made me touch him. I think my mom saw me come out of the car or something. She asked me about it and asked if I touched him. When I told her yes, she slapped my face and told me I was going to go to hell.
    Karen Mortensen recently posted..I Am So Proud And Tickled Pink

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  6. Cheryl Says:

    June 22nd, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Oh, Karen! That’s AWFUL!! Awful that this man did this to you, and awful that your mother acted like it was your fault. EIGHT years old! How traumatizing on all fronts!

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  7. themombshell Says:

    June 22nd, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    well handled!
    themombshell recently posted..sometimes

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    No pun intended, right? ;)

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  8. Andrea Says:

    June 22nd, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Ok – I admit I laughed in the beginning w/ the bun thing – kids are smart! But in the end I was mostly thinking – how do we handle these situations, what do we do when are kids are too young to really know what’s wrong w/ someone asking to see your parts? How do we make kids feel comforatable w/ being naked, yet not so comfortable they want to show their parts to everyone? Thanks for sharing – I think you handled it awesomely…I only I hope I have the presence of mind to remember this when my time comes! – A

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    It is a tough thing. You don’t want them to be ashamed or think their parts are dirty, but at the same time, you need them to keep the parts to themselves. Of course, you’ll never look at a hot dog the same again!

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  9. Aging Mommy Says:

    June 22nd, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    We’ve not quite reached this stage of curiosity yet but I know it is coming – I just LOVE the line about putting the hot dog in the bun!
    Aging Mommy recently posted..Downtime With Dad

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    My kid is all about the food analogies!

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  10. britt Says:

    June 22nd, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    My daughter is four and has already had an “i’ll show you mine if you show me yours” experience. The boy was her age and the child of a close friend and it happened twice in the same day. I was really, REALLY unnerved by it. Its hard to try to explain to a young child that their “business” is THEIR business, while at the same time not plant the seed of shame and body issues. Parenting is hard.

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  11. Cheryl Says:

    June 22nd, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Britt – you are exactly right. It IS unnerving, but normal – and then trying to find the balance is really, really tough.

    [Reply]


  12. The Mayor! Says:

    June 22nd, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Sigh…either I’m really dumb, or I actually DID get by this one with my kids…I think because I have 6 peoiple, both sexes, in my house, it’s just never been a big deal, & they already knew what everything looked like…BUT it is perfectly normal, just keep the communication open & safety warnings clear….

    But I’m blushing over the hot dog & the bun….don’t think I will ever look at one quite the same again…thnx for that…HAHAHAHA!!!

    :-D
    The Mayor! recently posted..Miley Offends, & Edward Sparkles!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    We have five people – maybe it’s the extra one that did the trick? ;)

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  13. MOMSICLE VIBE Says:

    June 22nd, 2010 at 11:22 pm

    OHHHHHHHHHHH! That is a tough one. I am all about being totally open with body parts, functions, nudity, sexuality etc. Soleil is only 15 months and knows where her vagina is and can say it (just like several other body parts). I totally want to support all of her normal development but I too fear for her safety!! Like you said, children exploring is NORMAL NORMAL NORMAL, so I personally wouldn’t want to punish it, but how the heck do you drive the point home to kids about safety without scaring them or shaming them in any way?? I see the need for lots of talk about boundaries – but will they get it??
    I am just hoping that lots of open and direct communication will suffice.

    The wiener dance? So awesome.
    MOMSICLE VIBE recently posted..Night Wiener

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Your 15 month old can say vagina? And other body parts? Impressive! MY 15 month old can say, “truck.” Just goes to show you how the male mind thinks!

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  14. Jill Says:

    June 23rd, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Ugh! This can become very scary in a mother’s mind.

    What I find interesting is that Sawyer was the one that told the truth. That is exactly how it would’ve been at my house too. We need to watch out for our girls!

    I never thought of girls looking like buns before. He’s a clever one!
    Jill recently posted..Tinker Toy microphones

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    My girl? I think she might be a bit of an exhibitionist. NOT good!

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  15. Julie Says:

    June 23rd, 2010 at 12:45 am

    I think you’re inspiring a post. Really.

    But here’s the recent discussion. At the pool today, Middle had to go to the bathroom. I let him go. Then I waited. And waited. And waited. Then I realized I had to go. Found him in the bathroom, unable to pull up his trunks. (Good job to him, not leaving the restroom with his pants down, right?)

    So, meanwhile I totally have to pee. And I’m wearing, of course, a one-piece. Figured, WTH?, and pulled it down. I just couldn’t wait for him to get out of the room. (Small bladder *still* at 11 mos. post partum). (OMG am I REALLY telling you my own bathroom story?!)

    And that’s when Middle says “Mommy, what are those things really called? I know they aren’t really boobies, right?”

    Sigh. I should have waited for him to get out. Because next we have a 30 minute convo about the many words people use for breasts on a busy pool day at a pool full of moms with, what else? Breasts. And guess what? We talked about all of them. JUST what I wanted to talk about at the pool today.

    Yeah… that wasn’t awkward or anything.
    Julie recently posted..All for a WISH: the Happy and Healthy Competition

    [Reply]


  16. Cheryl Says:

    June 23rd, 2010 at 12:53 am

    That’s hysterical! And pretty smart of Middle. Actually, during the wiener and bun thing, Sawyer also called my breasts (actually, for some reason we call them boobers) something else. But I can’t remember. I’ll have to ask him and get back to you. I will look forward to reading your post on the topic!!

    [Reply]


  17. Amber Says:

    June 23rd, 2010 at 1:42 am

    I’m amused. I remember talking to my son about private parts…I just said they were private and that it wasn’t polite to discuss (or show) them to other people.
    Amber recently posted..Hey, It’s Okay Tuesday!

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Amber – if only it was that easy! The little people, unfortunately, have minds of their own!

    [Reply]


  18. Rachel {at} Mommy Needs a Vacation Says:

    June 23rd, 2010 at 2:52 am

    Hahaha!! I am still getting used to having a boy and the whole playing with penis thing. Sadie calls her parts her Who-Who!! LOL
    Rachel {at} Mommy Needs a Vacation recently posted..Wordful Wednesday: My Baby is Growing Up

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Sawyer definitely had a phase where, shall we say, he constantly was making sure it wouldn’t fall off, try as he might..

    [Reply]


  19. Ma What's For Dinner Says:

    June 23rd, 2010 at 7:06 am

    These are the things that keep me up at night. I know it’s innocent and just exploratory, and it’s a part of life but still, there is so much that can go wrong, you don’t know what’s going on in other people’s houses, it’s just so confusing!!!

    But the hot dog/bun analogy is quite brilliant!

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma, What’s For Dinner
    http://www.mawhats4dinner.com
    Ma What’s For Dinner recently posted..Best Dads I Know…

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Luckily, the mom whose house this happened at and I are exactly on the same page with all this, and her son got a stern talking to.

    [Reply]


  20. LisaDay Says:

    June 23rd, 2010 at 10:26 am

    It started so funny. The wiener dance and the bun. I think you handled it really well. Well done.

    LisaDay
    LisaDay recently posted..Colours of My Dreams

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    A very fine line between scaring your kid and just making them aware.

    [Reply]


  21. Mary Says:

    June 23rd, 2010 at 11:05 am

    I have 2 boys. One 6, the other 5. For us, privacy began very early. I spoke about it from the start. Sending them to Pre-K was so hard, but let’s face it. They were surrounded by strangers. I never take it for granted that everyone will be kind and loving. Teaching your children that they always have a safe place is the best way to start.
    Mary recently posted..It’s Official; My Kid’s Are Smarter Than Me

    [Reply]


  22. Cheryl Says:

    June 23rd, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Great point. They have to know their parents are always safe.

    [Reply]


  23. Alexandra Says:

    June 23rd, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Love this, and your new digs. VERY nice. How did you pull it off? I don’t know what I want, how did you know?

    It looks clean, and very welcoming.

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    It was a long and painful process, quite frankly! I had someone build the custom design for me, since I know nothing about coding. I picked the name, theme and the photo ideas.

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  24. cheri Says:

    June 23rd, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    i think you handled it really well. i would’ve panicked and died right there if it were my son.

    although i’ve always thought that the “buns” are in the “oven” *headscratch*
    cheri recently posted..nothing

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Different kind of bun! Unless you’re having a girl, I guess!

    [Reply]


  25. Janine Says:

    June 23rd, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    You already know my dilemma with Jack loving my boobies – hahaha!! But luckily he has not gone too far off the deep end with HIS privates. I noticed that Lexi was grabbing at his “hot dog” in the bathtub. UGH!!Looks like joint bath time might be over.

    [Reply]


  26. Cheryl Says:

    June 23rd, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Sawyer was fascinated w/ his for a good while. He used to grab so hard his testicles would bleed! X once in awhile will poke at his, but he’s not nearly as fixated as his big brother was/is! lol

    [Reply]


  27. Sara Says:

    June 23rd, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Sounds to me like you handled the situation perfectly. My almost 3 year old girl is really into the self-exploration stage right now. We’ve been telling her that it’s okay, but only on her own and in her room. No one else needs to see her doing it. Hopefully it’ll tie into a talk about not letting anyone else see/touch down the road
    Sara recently posted..Eau de Spit Up

    [Reply]

    Cheryl Reply:

    Yes, that’s how we started when my son was 3 and liked to stick his hands in his pants anytime, anyplace. We explained the parts were private and that he could touch them, but only in his room.

    [Reply]


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