One father’s conversation with his daughter about genitalia is educational for both.
Like most families, getting my kids out the door and on their way to school can be a stressful situation. I can actually feel strands of my hair turning gray and falling out each and every morning. This morning was no different. Actually, the morning started off well. I was able to get my 8 and 6 year old up and dressed at a reasonable time, while my one year old clung to my leg. Breakfast was made and served, but then time began to get away from us. Teeth were brushed in a hurry, coats thrown on, and book bags assembled. Then, of course, the one year old dropped a bomb in his diaper. After dealing with that, we were finally out the door.
Now you’d think this post was about getting the kids off to school wouldn’t you? You’re wrong. This post is about the conversation I had with my daughter on the way to school. But I wanted to set the stage for the hurried and stressful minutes in leading up to the conversation.
As we walked down the steps and stepped upon the snowy sidewalk, my daughter, turned around, looked at her older brother, and said, “Hey W, you’ve got nuts.” Talking about male and female genitalia has always been a touchy subject with my daughter mainly because she loves talking about it. She probably loves the reaction she gets when she brings it up. I’m always paranoid that I’m going to receive a call from the school and be brought before some judgmental committee to explain my daughter’s fascination with “private parts.” I’ve said it before, at times I feel like I’m raising a freshman college frat boy with the things she says.
Within seconds of her saying the word “nuts,” I immediately went into defense mode and tried to squash the conversation. I told her that it wasn’t the time or place to discuss the subject. My son also gets very annoyed at his sister when she brings up his nether regions and I could tell a storm was beginning to brew inside of him. She said it again, “W, you’ve got nuts.” W responded by yelling, “Be quiet M!”
Then I felt bad for brushing off my daughter’s morning conversation and said calmly, “Yes, your brother does have nuts, but that’s a slang term and the correct term is testicles.” Don’t you hate when parents talk like that? I do, but yet I found myself having that conversation.
“No, no, no,” she shouted. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about something else.” “Oh,” I responded, “are you talking about the penis? People don’t call penises nuts. That’s something completely different with a different function, but I can see how you would think that.” Now my son was getting really upset, so I thought I would help the situation by reassuring him that we were not talking about his in particular, but penises in general and the correct words to use for them. He began to walk faster ahead of us.
My daughter started to look frustrated herself and since we were getting closer to the school, I wanted this conversation to end quickly before other parents picked up on our morning discussion. “I’m not talking about that either,” she said tiredly. Now I was perplexed because, being a man, I’m pretty familiar with the male genitalia and I had no idea what she was referring to. “Can you explain to me what you’re talking about?” I asked. She let out a big sigh and said, “I was talking about our lunch. You put those yummy nuts in our lunch. I saw you do it.” I wish she would have used the correct term and said, “Almonds.”
—first appeared at The Jason Greene
—photo by Steffenz/Flickr