Hoohoos and Vajayjays

Author: Dennis Teravainen

Anatomy and physiology was my favorite class in high school. While some of the ladies may have enjoyed the class more because of our teacher - rumor had it that Mr. K was easy on the eyes - I enjoyed it mostly because of the opportunity to answer questions using words (particularly when studying the reproductive system) that might otherwise be accompanied only with a stifled Beavis and Butthead giggle. Plus, I was under the mistaken impression at the time that my future career would be sports medicine. Even after my medical career was abandoned in college after a freshman year of mediocre science grades, I still memorize body parts (and world capitals) just in case they end up as categories when I audition for Jeopardy some day.

Fast forwarding to our parental experiment, THE WIFE and I made a conscious decision early on to use appropriate anatomical verbiage when identifying body parts in conversation with the kids. Rather than use the polite euphemisms of flower, vajayjay, tutu, wewe, etc., we've said vagina and penis since Greta's early days. Proper terminology aside, it's still difficult to avoid a smirk or chuckle like junior high schoolers whenever such a chat arises.

At her current age, Tilly seems to have the most interest in discussing body parts and bodily functions.

To understand the following, you should know that closed bathroom doors still mean nothing to her.

ME: (sitting on the bowl, perusing an almanac for the world's longest rivers by continent)

The bathroom door flies open. Tilly marches in, satisfied that she located me.

TILLS: Oh, they you are. Hey Dad.

ME: Hi bug.

TILLS: (she surveys the room and strolls casually) Are you pooping?

ME: Yeah.


ME: Can I help you with something?

TILLS: (glancing downward towards the bowl) You have a penis.

ME: Yes I do.

TILLS: Beguz you're a boy.

ME: That's right.

TILLS: And Gus has a penis beguz he's a boy.

ME: Yes he does.

TILLS: And I have a fagina. [she mispronounces too many words so cutely, I can't correct her.]

ME: Yep.

TILLS: And Mommy and Greta have faginas. Beguz they’re girls.

ME: That's right.

(brief pause while TIlly tries to drink from THE WIFE's contact lens storage case)

ME: Honey, please put that down. Can I have some privacy please?

TILLS: Where does poop and pee come from, Dad?

ME: (stalling to answer appropriately) Well, uh, after we eat and drink, our bodies take energy and vitamins and stuff from the food and water. Then our bodies poop and pee what we don’t need.

TILLS: But we don’t eat or touch poop or pee right?

ME: That’s right. Never. Ever. And you should always ask for help when you’re wiping because you get spicy bum when you don't -

TILLS: Where does poop come out?

ME: There’s a hole in your bum.


ME: (tempted to say cornhole or one of the dozens of other better nicknames) No seriously, it’s called an anus-

TILLS: And it’s naughty to say “butt,” right Dad? That’s why we say bum.

ME: That’s right.

TILLS: And “shut up” is naughty to say, too, right Dad?

ME: That’s right.

TILLS: But Shrek says “shut up” to Donkey.

ME: TIlls, can I have some privacy?

TILLS: Gussie said “stupid” today and Mommy gave him a time out…

And so on.

The trending topic of late has been “boobies” so we’ve tried to steer them towards chest and nipples instead. THE WIFE rolls her eyes, frowns, and shakes her head at me when she thinks I’m going overboard. I’m pretty sure that happened when I tried to explain areolas during the “boobie” discussion. I suppose I have to pick and choose my spots.

THE WIFE and I haven’t yet covered feces, urine, bowel movement, testicles, vulva, or perineum with the kids. But feel free to do so if Tilly happens to barge in on you during your “private time” on the potty. Anyway, I’m off to find a quiet place for reading the almanac.

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