L is 3.5 and C is 2.5ish. L is a boy, C is a girl. They bathe together. Because Mommy hates bath time and wants to get it over with in one fell swoop instead of drawing it out into two separate debacles. As if I could even avoid bathing one kid without the other kid losing his/her everloving mind over the fact that THEY are not getting bathed EITHER. (And confession? I mostly make my darling husband bathe the kids while I lay on my bed, covering my eyes and pretending like I can't hear the shrieks and whines coming from the too-small, too-close-to-my-bedroom bathroom.)
I knew it would happen sooner or later. And the other night was apparently "sooner or later".
Lucas is morally opposed to being washed in any way, shape or form. That means he hates his hair washed, he hates his body washed...he basically hates doing anything in the tub other than playing with his disgusting bath toys and hoarding them all from his poor sister. When we wash his hair, he screams and cries as if we were pouring nitric acid over his head. And when we make him stand up so we can was his body, he wails, "Don't wash my penis!!!"
Let me tell you something about me. I'm one of those people who feels nervous walking/driving by a police officer, even though I haven't done anything wrong. Guilt and anxiety are two of the most finely honed reflexes I possess. So when my 3.5 year old son screams, "Don't wash my penis!!!" at the top of his lungs, all these awful thoughts go through my head.
"What if someone with bionic hearing walks by my house when L is screaming that, thinks I'm a child molester and calls CPS on me? Why is he freaking out about me washing his penis? Has something happened to him somewhere else? Ohgodohgodohgod." An onward.
Moral of that little story: bath time is SUPER duper fun in our house. And also, we teach our children the correct terminology for their private parts. (Even though I'm not above referring to them as "weiner" and "pee pee".)
Back to the other night. L was having his usual melt-down about getting washed (oh the inhumanity!). When the horror of horrors was over, it was C's turn. She stood up, and I began washing her.
L told me, "Don't forget to wash C's penis, mom." (Translation: You better be subjecting her to the same torture that you inflict on me.)
::Sigh:: There it was, staring me in the face. First reaction? I laughed. Second reaction? A mental conversation with myself. Did I have to tell him the proper terminology for C's privates? Could I just laugh and brush it off with an, "Ok, L, I won't."
No. I had to do the right thing. These are what I believe are referred to as "teachable moments". Whenever I daydream about "teachable moments" with my children, I think more along the lines of the after-school special where I point out a poor child being bullied at school, and my child, overcome with determination and charity, races to the child's defense and shames the bullies into apologizing. Then they all become friends forever. The end.
Yeah, I'm beginning to learn that teachable moments aren't quite what I thought they would be. Like this one, for instance.
I had to do the right thing. So I said calmly and with (what I hoped was) an air of relaxed seriousness, "L, C doesn't have a penis. She has a vagina."
Literally, he just stared blankly at me for what felt like a long time. So I said, "Do you understand what I mean?"
He shook his head no. ::Deeper sigh::
"L, look at your penis. Do you see what it looks like?" (Nodding head.") "Great, now look at C. Does she have something like that?" (Shakes head no.) "Right! That's because you are a boy, and C is a girl. Boys have penises and girls have vaginas." (And Blogger's spellcheck is telling me that "vaginas" is not a word. Apparently there are NEVER to be plural vaginas. But "penises" is ok. I feel like there's some sort of symbolism on the state of society in there somewhere.)
He slowly seemed to grasp what I was saying. "So...C has a...a what?" he asked.
"A vagina," I said, as slowly as I could stand. (I really am a 13 year old girl at heart, I think. I was suppressing a nervous giggle this entire time.)
"A....bagina," he said.
"Yes, that's right," I said, encouragingly.
Just then, with his impeccable timing, Dan walked in to our closet of a bathroom.
"Dad! Dad! Charlie doesn't have a penis!" L said gleefully.
Dan looked at me with a, "What did I miss?" expression on his face. I shrugged back with a, "just wait for it" look.
"Oh yeah? That's right, buddy, she doesn't," Dan said.
"Right! She has a........what was it mom?" he asked.
"A vagina," I said, just barely holding back my peals of laughter at this point.
"Yeah! A bagina!" he said, so pleased with himself.
Dan started laughing, I started laughing, and it was all over from there. L is a clown at heart and LOVES making people laugh, so he started repeating over and over, "Bagina! Bagina!"
To which Charlie, never to be left out, responded, "GINA!!!"
I can't wait for that one to come out in public.