There is a 5 year-old boy in our Savvy-house with a VERY good grasp of ALL the body parts. We have even answered some very basic questions about where babies come from. Last Saturday afternoon though we had an unexpected vocabulary lesson.
Let me set this up for you … Savvy-Mom is putting on makeup in front of her sink. Savvy-Dad is brushing teeth in front of his sink. Lil-Dude is in their shower making a LOT of noise, but not really accomplishing anything so Savvy-Mom attempts to hustle him along.
- Savvy-Mom: Be sure to use the green soap and wash your whole body please.
- Lil-Dude: Well, the problem is, I can’t do that because my booty hurts.
- Savvy-Mom: Your booty hurts? Like out on your bottom, on your cheeks?
- Lil-Dude: Well, the problem is, it hurts when I wipe with the toilet paper.
- Savvy-Mom: Oh, it hurts inside your cheeks. Where the poop comes out? Do you know what that is called, where the poop comes out?
- Lil-Dude: uhhh, no?
- Savvy-Mom: It’s called your anus. Where the poop comes out is called your anus.
- Savvy-Dad: *chokes on toothpaste foam and gives Savvy-Mom a look.
- Lil-Dude: Anus? Okay. My anus hurts.
- Savvy-Mom: When you are all done in the shower, Daddy and I will take a look at your anus and we will put some medicine on there, okay?
- Savvy-Dad: *continues to choke, continues to send the look.
- Lil-Dude: Okay.
Now … Savvy-Mom probably would have been able to put the ointment on his little, red anus and just rush Savvy-Dad out the door to dinner BUT …. after a dollop of medicine made its way to the “affected area” Lil-Dude just HAD to say, “It feels slippery! I’m gonna need to see this!”
So Savvy-Mom did what any loving parent would do. She got that boy a hand-mirror and gave him some private time in the bathroom! And Savvy-Dad stood with her, on the other side of the closed bathroom door, in their bedroom … making weird noises that were either laughter or crying ….
When asked about his anus on Sunday Lil-Dude said it felt fine. When asked his anus on Monday he said it felt fine. When asked about his anus on Tuesday Lil-Dude questioned back, “Are we going to talk about my anus every day?” Whoa kid, I certainly hope not! By giving his body part a name, and explaining the function, we were able to take the mystery out of it. And that takes the power out of it too! He didn’t need to talk about it and certainly didn’t want to hear his mother talk about it.
Please note that as Savvy-Dad and Savvy-Mom checked his anus (is anyone counting yet to see how many times I’m going to type that word?) they used that opportunity to reinforce that Moms and Dads will do things like applying medicine, to different parts of his body. This time we were applying the medicine to one of his private parts because your anus is private like your penis and testicles. Just like a vulva, like a vagina. There is no such thing as a game where you show your body parts to someone else, or they show their body parts to you. There is no such thing as a game where you touch someone else’s private parts, or they touch yours. Sometimes parents might help with medicine, like we did. And sometimes a doctor might do that too, but Mom or Dad would be there if that happened.
Give your kids the power of knowing ALL of their body parts. Remove the mystery. Be sure that YOU are the one giving them that knowledge – be the expert for them about everything important in their life! This is an essential part of body-safety because predators will often use “cutesy” names for private parts in an effort to disguise their ulterior motives and actions.
More importantly – be brave enough to have the funny, unexpected, honest conversations with your kiddos. They LOVE their bodies and all of their body parts. For a child their body parts, especially THOSE body parts, are super funny, super intriguing, super important and not likely to lose their allure anytime soon!