I have totally failed at Parenting Sex Education 101.
I’m no prude. I’m one of those dyed-in-the-wool pragmatists that insists on calling a penis a “penis”, a vagina a “vagina” and a vulva a “vagina”.
Yes, I know that’s wrong. Roll your eyes all you like but I have two boys, and I figure that my three year old doesn’t need to know the comprehensive ins and outs of female flappy bits just yet.
I generally pat myself on the back for the fact that we can drop the p-bomb and the v-bomb around here with aplomb, and without resorting to cutesy names like doodles, dongers, willies, flowers, fannies or front bums. However, the pats on the back seem to be somewhat premature because in every other way my pragmatic approach to age-appropriate sex education has been a monumental failure.
Here are some epic-fails from the archives:
FAIL #1: My kid thought I had a penis.
My eldest son brought this picture home from preschool when he was 4 years old. Like all mildly-attentive parents, I absent-mindedly quizzed him on the contents as I washed the dishes.
Hugzilla: Oh wow baby, that looks great! What is your drawing about?
Mr 4: (pointing) This is a rainbow, this is a butterfly, this is Daddy and this is you. I drew you with your penis out because you were weeing in the garden.
Hugzilla: (pauses) Oh. Ok. That’s… great. Why was I weeing in the garden?
Mr 4: Because you needed to go to the toilet.
FAIL #2: My kids thought I peed out of my bum.
I once overheard a conversation between my (then) 4 year old and 2 year old when they were in the bathroom.
Mr 4: See this? That’s my penis. I wee out of my penis. Mum doesn’t have a penis. Mum wees out of her bum. That’s why she sits down.
FAIL #3: My three year old STILL thinks that girls have penises.
I had an interesting discussion with my three year old last night.
Mr 3: Girls have penises.
Hugzilla: No they don’t.
Mr 3: Yes they do. I saw it in a book.
Hugzilla: They don’t.
Mr 3: They DO!
Don’t be fooled by the brevity of that conversation: the real thing went on much longer, and with a lot more sighing and harrumphing and wild gesticulating (all from me – my three year old steadfastly refused to entertain the notion he could possibly be wrong, with all the characteristic arrogance of a typical threenager).
I finally managed to work out the book he was talking about, a lift-the-flap guide to the human body. The picture in question was an illustration of a girl’s body with a line-drawing of her kidneys and ureter. To be fair, it totally looked like she had a penis.