I’m not great at talking. With writing, I can backspace, delete, and edit until I get it right. My mouth unfortunately doesn’t have that feature.
When I know I’m going to have to speak to people, my mind goes through every scenario it can think of and what my responses should be. The night before any human interaction, I literally lie in bed and mentally rehearse what I should say. Then I inevitably mangle it anyway.
I think part of it is that I can’t lie. Everything I’m thinking shows clearly on my face. I can’t make my mouth form words that I don’t believe. You might be surprised at how badly blunt honesty is received. I spend a lot of time making noises and trying to look anywhere but at the person who just asked my opinion but who I know doesn’t really want it.
So it’s hard for me when I’m caught off guard. I blurt out things (true things) that I probably shouldn’t.
Lately this has been a real problem with my daughter. She just turned 7 and she’s insatiably curious. I have this intense desire to teach her to respect herself and others and to not judge and to continue to be the kind and compassionate person she already is.
This fucking honesty thing. I mean, I even dodge questions about Santa.
The latest debacle involved lady parts.
Since she learned to talk, she’s referred to her vagina as her “front butt.” This has been killing me for YEARS. Every time she says it, I clamp my mouth shut. She’s our only little girl, and my husband has vehemently disagreed with my notion of providing anatomically correct names. He even told me that “a lot of people call it that.” Pfft.
I find that hard to believe.
The other night it was just the two of us, and she announced that “everybody has two butts.” I choked back laughter laced with not a little horror.
Me: No. No they don’t.
Her: YES! This one and this one! *gestures at…both butts*
I took the opportunity that presented itself, thinking “YES! FINALLY!” and calmly told her that her “front butt” was actually a vagina. She was fascinated. I was impressed with my composure.
I was not anticipating her next question.
Her: So, everybody has a…vagina and a butt?
Me: Erm. No. Boys don’t have vaginas.
Her: *wide-eyed shock* So, it’s just NOTHING? There’s just nothing there??
Me: *losing my shit* You really don’t know? Has someone told you something? You REALLY DON’T KNOW?
Her: No! Tell me! What do boys have?
Me: *wonders how pissed my husband is going to be. Can’t think of a way out of this situation.*
Me: *calm and matter-of-fact* Boys have what is called a penis.
Her: A weenis! What’s it look like?
Me: *mentally cursing myself* Uh. Well. *looking at my finger and wondering if it will suffice.*
Her: Maybe you should just draw me a picture. I’m never going to understand unless you do.
Me: I’m not drawing a picture of a penis.
Her: I’ll go get some paper.
Me: NO! Go get your father. *Before I fuck this up even more.*
Her: Yeah. He draws better than you.
So my husband comes in, and thankfully she explained the whole conversation and all I had to do was say, “SHE ASKED!” to his raised eyebrows.
Now she’s sitting between us, with her back to me, a pad of paper in her hand, asking him to draw a picture of a “weenis.”
She can’t see me, so I hold up my index finger and waggle it around, silently asking him if we should tell her it’s like a finger. He looked at me like I was an alien. I WASN’T READY FOR THIS CONVERSATION, OKAY?
He’s all, “blah, blah, girls and boys are different, blah blah…” I already SAID all this! So we’re back to the picture. Now, because my husband is smarter than I am, he draws a boy and a girl. All I could think of was drawing a…weenis. Anyway, he explains all the differences as he’s drawing. Like, “Girls usually have narrower shoulders and a smaller waist. Boys are mostly more square shaped, like this.”
When he gets to the point, I’m behind her, frantically making hand motions and mouthing, “MAKE IT SMALL!”
This is pretty much what he drew:
Her: *Excited as fuck* OH! What does it do??
Me: *desperately needing this conversation to be over* IT PEES. You pee from your vagina, boys pee from their penis, and everyone poops from their butt. Which is technically called an anus. *Jesus. What is wrong with me?*
She is practically bouncing up and down, full of new knowledge. I’m telling her to NOT go announcing this at school, that these are private body parts, and some other stuff I probably shouldn’t have said.
I have no idea why I assumed that she knew boys had…different parts. I guess because when the boys were little I was a single mother, and they just knew that I was different than them. I know my middle kid found out when he came barging in the bathroom and screamed, “OH MY GOD MOM, WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR WIENER?”
Unfortunately, the torment didn’t end there. Apparently that was enough for her to ponder just then, but last night she was full of new questions. I’m not willing to divulge my answers. I’m just hoping that she never does either.