baby

When Sean stepped out of the shower, his twins decided to confront him about his... bits.

The moment when a child recognises that a parent has body parts different to them can be an awkward  – and hilarious – ‘teaching moment’, as Sean Szeps, co-host of Mamamia‘s parenting podcast, The Baby Bubble, revealed recently.

“Speaking of penis, Cooper and Stella have discovered mine,” Szeps announced on this week’s episode to his co-host, referring to the 16-month-old twins he has with his husband, Josh.

It was a moment that Zoe Marshall, 32, who co-hosts the podcast, and who shares 10-month-old son Fox with her NRL player husband Benji Marshall, could relate to.

“I’m on Fox discovering his own,” she said, revealing that her baby has an “obsession” with exploring his body as all infants do – although she notes he does it with a “grin on the face.”

Szeps told listeners that the subject of sexuality could be uncomfortable for those not raised where discussion of the topic was open, but his approach was more pragmatic.

Listen: Sean Szeps explains his approach to explaining genitalia to his kids on the Baby Bubble. Post continues after.

“I’m at home with the children every morning by myself,” he explained. “So if I want to shower before I go out, I have to shower with them.”

The dad-of-two said he knew some parents would suggest putting the children in a playpen while he was in the bathroom, but Szeps said that wasn’t the way he wanted to handle things.

“I bring them down into the bathroom, I bring a bunch of toys with me, I shower, I come out of the shower, and in that second when you’re drying yourself off, those couple of seconds, for many, many months nothing happened,” he explained.

“They just played with their toys. But recently, they’re walking and more interested and can kind of talk… they’ve started to look up and point at it.”

Szeps said he was wondering how he should handle the situation, and, stressing that this is his experience as a parent only, and not expert advice, he admitted that his initial reaction was to not “freak out.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“I think children feed off of your fears and excitement,” he said. “So if you make it this scary, strange thing that is not to be discussed, I think that’s when we have issues.”

The father also shared the other thing he feels quite strongly about is using ‘baby talk’ to discuss important, and natural, things such as genitalia.

“Avoid ‘cutesy’ terms,” he said. “Pee pee, Peter – and just call it what it is.”

Marshall admitted that she referred to her son’s penis as a “doodle”, but Szeps didn’t think that was a good idea.

“I think you should just call it a penis, vagina, a vulva” – and he had very firm reasons why.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Just me and my precious little rainbow family alone on a beach in the middle of nowhere. ????‍????‍????‍???? #DayTwo

A post shared by Sean Szeps (@seanszeps) on

“If something happens to them in their time on Earth, and have to go a healthcare provider to say ‘someone touched me here’, you don’t want it to be this strange word that they think is fun, or someone can use that word against them in a playful manner.

“It is a real thing, it is part of our body, and there is nothing we should be ashamed about.”

Marshall said she was more comfortable with more childish terms such as “fanny” or “willy”, and that kids would grow into using the correct anatomical terms. For example, she uses “boobies” to talk about breastfeeding with Fox.

Szeps accepted that, but made it clear that for himself, with the twins a little older than Fox, his approach is more direct: “It is what it is; it is a penis.”

And that’s exactly what Szeps said the first time the twins ‘confronted’ him about his penis.

“We should have open and honest conversations with our children,” he said.

“What you have should not be a secret. We should own our sexuality.”

What is your approach explaining body parts to children? Tell us in the comments below.

Listen to the full episode of The Baby Bubble.

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. You click, we help. Shooting star illustration.

Mamamia is funding 100 girls in school, every day.

So just by spending time with Mamamia, you’re helping educate girls, which is the best tool to lift them out of poverty.

Thanks for helping!

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. Girl with pigtails sitting at desk writing in notebook. Row of four books.
Three hands holding books
00:00 / ???