An exchange with Nils on the previous post reminded me of an amusing parenting gaff from LG’s preschool years. We always used “proper” names for body parts, rather than euphemisms, with her. She could identify her own parts, nose to toes, and those parts that were other than her own, on illustrations of little naked boys in her toddler sex ed books (yes, they exist; I got ours at the Christian bookstore).
One day when she was four, she was on the floor playing with her dolls, I was scurrying around trying to get us on the road to somewhere or other, and the TV was on. There was a ubiquitous movie ad that came on, for “What Women Want,” with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt. Mel could read women’s minds, somehow. In the clip shown, Mel asks Helen, “Did you just look at my crotch?”
While LG had learned the terms for specific body parts, we’d never had occasion to teach her the more generic “crotch.” It had never come up. So hearing this on TV, she tilts her adorable preschooler head quizzically and says, “What did he say? What was that lady looking at, of his?”
I don’t know why I didn’t just tell her. It was no big deal. But I was rushing around, and it didn’t come to me instantly how to concisely explain that “crotch” can refer to both genders, both as a region of the body, or as an area on an article of clothing, blah blah. So I lied. I said, “I think he said she was looking at his . . . watch.”
LG continued arranging her dollies on the floor and said, “Hmm. That’s funny, I thought she was looking at his penis.”