“EEEW, don’t say that word!” is the reaction I receive when I say the word matter-of-factly. The other reaction I get regularly is a pained expression or a grimace every time I say the words.
I ignore the alarmed reactions around me and continue saying what I have always been since the kids were babies.
I have a boy and a girl. Penis and vagina. I have to use both anatomical terms on a regular basis. The kids know they are of different genders, and what their and each other’s private parts are called.
My best friend calls me crazy, because penis and vagina are taboo words; she has 4 young children, double the number I have. Nobody else in my immediate circle of influence says these words to their kids either, though I have an extremely small circle of influence.
I am considered abnormal, for using the normal terms for private parts. Funny terms other than the actual ones are commonly used instead. “Gu Gu bird”, or simply “Gu Gu” for the penis are usually used; for the even more hush-eewww-don’t-say-that! vagina, “Nor Nor”, “Pat Pat”, “Pee Pee” or simply “Down There” are words I have heard being used. Maybe I am really abnormal, because I find the more commonly accepted terms abnormal.
I grew up being exposed to the ‘normal’ terms, until I realised the private parts had proper names, in my Secondary 2 Science textbook. And there are more ‘parts’ to the reproductive organs than meet the eyes. Later on, I decided I shall use the proper terms on my kids the moment they were born. I did and till this day, I remain the only one who does.
The kids know exactly what I mean though, when I ask if they wash themselves properly, if he lifts up the toilet seat cover and holds onto his penis to aim into the toilet bowl, if she checks the toilet seat cover is lowered and clean before hoisting herself onto it.
Well, this is a path I have chosen to take; even if I walk alone, obstinately minding my Ps and Vs to my kids. And I shall introduce more of the parts to them when they are older. Hopefully one day, more will join me. Until that day comes, I shall shoulder on…