Keeping communication lines wide open with my children is something I take very seriously. I want my kids to know that they can come to me with any question, any story, anything whatsoever unconditionally. Talking about sex and other body functions is part of that too. I don’t want them to feel ashamed of these issues, nor do I want them walking around misinformed.
“Uh, I’ve had a heated discussion with my eldest son,” Dorothy begins.
“What about ?” I ask her.
“He scolded me for being too obsessed about penises.” Dorothy confides.
“You are a bit though, aren’t you !” And I wink at her.
“Come on, I was just joking about and I mentioned his wee-wee and he got all upset and defensive.” Dorothy is distraught.
“It’s his age, Dorothy dear. He’s pre-puberescent. He’s probably feeling all embarrassed. Plus he’s got hormones playing up too, you know.” I reason.
“I know, I know. I just want to make it a subject easy to talk about. You know, something light and open, with a tickle of fun to it. Not something dirty, taboo, and to be ashamed of. Not like in our days.” Dorothy scoffs.
“I remember. It was not done to talk about sex at all. If I ever mentioned the word ‘penis’ at home, I got my bottom spanked. Even at the age of 13.” I admit.
“Yes, and to make things worse, things didn’t have a name!” Dorothy chimes in. “It was called ‘your bum’ and ‘your bumbum’.”
“You’re lucky! Mine was called a ‘bum’ all around. If daring the notion ‘in front’ or ‘behind’ would be inserted to be more specific.” I remember oh so vividly.
“Your cousin was more lucky. Her mom called it a ‘fanny’ or a ‘rudy’.” Dorothy pipes up.
“Funny how she never realized how lucky she was for such things. My mom didn’t even have a word for sanitary towels. She referred to them as ‘things’.” Now I’m annoyed. “There are places in developing countries like Africa where girls and women don’t have access to sanitary pads. Some girls stay away from school during their period, and others still prostitute themselves in order to buy these basic necessities. And here we are not even being able to name the damn thing. It’s a menstrual period and it requires sanitary pads or tampons because there are landslides of blood gushing from your pussy. Go on, say it !”
“What do you call yours?” Dorothy asks me.
“Why, a pussy of course!” I’m astonished she asks.
“No, what do you tell your kids?” Dorothy inquires.
“Oh, I call it a mouse!” And I burst out laughing. “What about you?”
“A fairy!” Dorothy’s eyes are twinkling.
“But if we’re really rude when we’re laughing about sex with the kids, we’ll be more daring and use words like ‘crack’.” Really, we do. I believe kids need to be able to say all words without shame. Yet they need to learn in which circumstances they can and cannot repeat certain words. In the home, okay. But with strangers, not done.
“This reminds me of another Bridget Jones episode.” Dorothy grabs the iPad.
Yes, who’s having fun ? The prude who’s stuck up with her own self-importance or the talk-before-you-think kind of woman ?
“But I actually meant, does yours have a name?” Dorothy insists.
“Dorothy dear, the hand. The hand!” She’s gone to far. I think champagne is in order to change the subject.
What do you think ? How open should we discuss sex and privates with children ? Let me know in the comments below.