My daughter came to the hospital when my son was born one year ago. She was 3 at the time and wanted to know why I couldn’t lift her up and walk around as easily as before.
I explained to her that Mommy had a C-section and that women could have babies either through their bellies or their vaginas.
In our house, we use the real words for body parts – much to the dismay of my late grandmother who would cringe when she heard me say penis or vagina. She also called her buttocks her “koolie” so I could understand how “vagina” might have pushed her over the edge.
In the past year, my daughter has often asked me about babies and why they come out of the places they do. However, I was completely thrown for a loop when we were at the grocery store last week and she asked the pregnant cashier, “So, are you going to have a baby out of your vagina or belly?”
My face turned a million shades of red, which only matched the cashier’s face as well.
I decided to take the best approach I could think of – pretend I didn’t hear her ask the question and quickly fill in the silence with, “Look sweetie, they have M & M’s, do you want some?” I then followed that up with not making eye contact with the cashier and quickly paying in the fastest method possible. I’m pretty sure I could have won a marathon at the rate at which I ran out of the store and into my car.
When we got into the car, I proceeded to explain to my daughter that it really wasn’t appropriate to ask those types of questions and that the parts people used to have babies were private and not to be asked about.
Later that night, after we finished eating dinner, my daughter turned to me and said, “I have to tell you something but I’m not sure I should say it.”
“What is it?” I asked her, as I reassured her it was OK to tell me anything.
“My you-know-what hurts,” she replied.
“Oh, your vagina?” I asked.
“No, my… belly.”
“Why didn’t you want to tell me that?” I asked her.
She replied, “because bellies are private parts that we don’t talk about.”
I just shook my head and smiled. There is never a dull moment in parenting. And never a moment where you don’t have to think about the smallest detail of what you say to kids – because they will truly remember everything.
Danielle Herzog is a mom to two children. You can read her blogs every Wednesday on momaha.
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