A post I never thought I'd write.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

We're having a little dilemma here. Eli knows the names of all the parts of his body. All of them except one. Any guesses as to which one?

We can't agree on what to call...it. I have been vaguely saying "that's your privates". I feel like I just want to say penis, because after all, that's what it's called, right? But does it seem weird to have a tiny kid talking about his penis?

Peter refers to it as his bird. Not HIS bird...Eli's bird...you know what I'm saying.

We can't reach a consensus. I say, let's just call a spade a spade and a penis a penis. That's its proper name, end of story. Peter thinks a toddler using the word "penis" is "creepy".

Anyway, tonight, I was giving Eli his bath, and he starts talking about a bird. "Oh, did you hear a bird chirp?" I asked and then I looked and saw what he was showing me, and uhhh, it wasn't a chickadee. It just reinforced the point that we need to figure out what we're calling this item, ASAP.

So please help us, parents of little boys, people who were once little boys, anyone at all, Internet at large, this is me reaching out for help.

How do you refer to a toddler's junk? Proper names? Slang? Did you invent a name so when he starts yelling about it in church no one will know that William Robinson is actually a wiener? Discuss.



some images for inspiration

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27 comments

  1. We're going proper names with our boys. They say penis and we've been teaching them vagina too. Occasionally they will say "bye bye penith" as they get diapers. I think that's better than using a word you wouldn't really want to use yourself, as an adult. Dink would be really funny though.

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  2. We just went with what it is. Penis. I do agree with Peter that the word sounds odd coming out of a toddler's mouth, which it inevitably will as often as he can manage, but soon enough he'll be calling it what his friends do, and that will gross you out. That stage will only last 10 or so years though, so that's nice.

    There is such a deluge of words that they have to learn and understand over the next few years
    of their little lives, and reality and make-believe blur almost completely for them anyway, so why complicate things with made up names just because some people are squeamish about the real ones?

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    1. I don't believe you that this stage only lasts 10 years...I think it's going to last forever

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  3. My little brother decided when he was 2 that it was his "pokey". He's 10 now and has since learned the proper name but it still kills me every time I remember the first time I heard him say it. He was throwing a fit about being buckled into his carseat and my mom asked why he didn't like it that particular day and he very angrily replied "because! IT HURTS MY POKEY."

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    1. POKEY! I have never heard that before! Amazing.

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  4. over the years, the majority of my client's parents (speech therapist, most of my preschool aged clients are boys), refer to their parts as 'penis'. and it works just fine :)

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    1. Sounds like keeping it simple and straightforward is the way to go!

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  5. When I was growing up, my little-boy friends called it their "dickey bird." It haunted me for years! Our son is about to turn three, and we/he says penis -- although coming from him it sounds like "penith." I find the trickier part is what to call his, ah, other junk. "Balls" sounds so crude, and it is probably confusing for little boys who play with toy balls! We have used "bum" so far, but that's really not accurate.

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    1. Ohhhh...I can't handle dickey bird. Cannot.

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  6. I'm in favor of using the correct names for body parts, even with little kids. I think the cutesy nicknames can give them the idea that certain of their body parts are not to be discussed, and you want your kiddo to feel like he can tell you, or his doctor, anything that may be going on down there without shame.

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    1. That's a very good point! Thank you!

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  7. We use proper names too. My three year old refers to it as a penis and it doesn't seem strange to us at all. We haven't made a big deal about it (although I should probably start teaching that it is private) and so to him, it is just a word like any other word, or a body part like any other body part. He doesn't yell out "FINGER!" in church so he won't yell out "PENIS!" either. :)

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    1. That's a good point - not making a huge deal about it. Thanks!

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  8. We've gone with the proper name from the start as well. It is a body part just like ear, nose, toe. Remember, to him it really is like any other body part, it is just to you that it sounds odd :-)

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    1. This is true! I need to think like a toddler!

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  9. Oh Amy...thank you for giving me a laugh! (which I did my best to contain because Cameron is sleeping..oops). Anyhow, while he may be only four months old, I use the proper terms with Cameron. But...it is funny, especially when Brendan is in ear shot, to use all of the slang that I know, just to see if he has a reaction. Sadly, he doesn't :(

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    1. I'm sure I'm overthinking it. First child syndrome and all that! See what you have to look forward to in a few months when he starts repeating EVERYTHING! :)

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  10. We've always used proper names with Topher. It makes for some interesting conversations sometimes, like when he announced at a family dinner where both his great grandmas were present that poop comes out your bum and pee comes out your penis - but oh well. Kids are kids :D

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    1. Haha true! You never know what they're going to say, penis-related or not!

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  11. It's "peepee" in my house and I didn't even mean for that to happen, so I don't claim it. Dink is a great one, though.

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  12. Interviews with pedophiles revealed that they were less likely to assault children who knew the proper names of their genitals, They would also be more likely to tell a trusted adult about being violated. Creepy, eh? But it also plants the seeds for the "sex" talk.

    Ultimately, as someone who has taught sex ed, simple terms are most effective. Penis, vagina. Maybe testes or scrotum instead of balls? And if kids ask a simple question about how babies are made, go with a short and simple explanation; chances are they won't need the whole talk.

    More research-based info is at: http://www.lunco.cfsh.info/parents.html

    Hope it helps for the "penith" talk :)

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  13. Interviews with pedophiles revealed that they were less likely to assault children who knew the proper names of their genitals, They would also be more likely to tell a trusted adult about being violated. Creepy, eh? But it also plants the seeds for the "sex" talk.

    Ultimately, as someone who has taught sex ed, simple terms are most effective. Penis, vagina. Maybe testes or scrotum instead of balls? And if kids ask a simple question about how babies are made, go with a short and simple explanation; chances are they won't need the whole talk.

    More research-based info is at: http://www.lunco.cfsh.info/parents.html

    Hope it helps for the "penith" talk :)

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  14. We've stuck with using "penis" and it works well. It seems funny hearing such a little dude use such an adult word at first, but the novelty wears off for all parties involved pretty quickly. That's not to say that E won't blurt it out at the most awkward time possible, but every kid shames their parents with some horrible word at some point and I don't really consider penis to be that offensive. What'd you decide to go with?

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  15. I think penis is the way we will go but I already use a thousand different nick names.

    Peeps, winker, dinky, dink, peepee

    but he's only 8 months old haha! I think I can get away with the silliness for a bit longer.

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