Mommy Lesson 612: Anatomically Correct

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The smallest functioning unit in the human body is the cell. Every human body is made up of millions and millions of cells. Cells group together and form tissues, tissues form organs, organs form systems and the systems make up our bodies. While our makeup may be the same, the words we use to describe certain body parts may be quite different. For example a head could be known as a noggin, dome, hat rack, cranium or even melon.

There is no end to the alternate words that can used to describe our pieces and parts. Some are familiar; tummy, piggies, booty or peepers, while some are a little off the wall; pot, boats, meat hooks or noodle. My husband and I often use a variety of these words when discussing body parts with our little ones, but the one area that we have held firm to anatomical correctness is the penis. The nurse in me cannot bring myself to call it a peepee, wiener, weewee or Mr.Winkie.

When we brought our son home and bathed him for the first time, our very observant two year old pointed to, attempted to pull on, and asked “what’s that?”

“That is your brothers penis, boys have them, and we don’t pull on it” was my succinct response. As our son has grown, like most boys, he has developed an uncanny awareness and coordination related to his private parts. Within seconds of his diaper being removed, his little hands immediately travel south to reassure himself that his penis is indeed still there. When getting ready for the bath, a quick glance is not sufficient to provide reassurance, and a tug is seemingly necessary. On any given day the words “don’t pull on your penis” can be heard at least ten times around our house. Using correct terminology has its pros and cons, sometimes the cons can lead to a significant amount of embarrassment.

A few days ago we were standing in the checkout line at our local Walmart, the children were behaving and i was beaming with pride that we had made it through the store without incident. I efficiently sorted my items and placed them on the belt, frequently glancing at the kiddos, insuring they were still behaving like angels. I pulled my last two items out of the cart; Gabe was gleefully kicking his feet and Abi was thoughtfully staring off behind us. My attention was on the cashier, but I saw Abi tilt her head slightly out of the corner of my eye (this has become a common sign that unexpected is about to come of of her mouth). I turned in just enough time to hear her very matter of factly say,

“Mommy says we don’t pull on our penis”. I met the eyes of a gentleman who had just been caught mid-adjustment by my hyper observant preschooler.

With my face a flattering color of crimson, I attempted to organize my thoughts and explain;

“Um, so, um, well you see her brother is a boy, (obviously) and well like most guys he’s kind of enamored with his penis (they are right?) so we just remind him to, um, well, you know, not yank on it….”
He stared silently, mouth open, face the same color as the tomatoes I just purchased, with his wife laughing hysterically behind him. I paid and practically ran out of the store pulling Abi behind me.

I quickly explained to Abi, that while we tell brother not to do it, we shouldn’t really tell other people not to do it, because a penis is a private thing. Her response “well noses aren’t private, can I tell people we don’t pick them?”

Absolutely daughter, you go right on ahead and explain to the next person we see knuckle deep in their nostril that it is entirely inappropriate, mommy will just die of embarrassment.

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