Parody of the Penis

Are you paralyzed when hearing the word “penis”?

I guess it’s not part of your run-of-the-mill conversation…and yet, we were talking about penises at my job just the other day.

Seems that my coworker and friend was quite taken aback that my sons use the word – penis. She couldn’t imagine HER 4y.o. son using that word because it seems like only adults should be allowed.

I guess it is sorta shocking or maybe even disruptive to hear. Honestly, my munchkins comment so much on their penises that I’m desensitized to it.

My husband and I made the decision to teach our boys the correct names of their body parts… arm, leg, foot, penis. Yet, somehow they became fixated on the penis. They go through periods where they love to play with it, handle it, jiggle it, pull it.  

My 4 y.o. is especially aware that urine comes out of his penis and that he can direct where he pees.  He mischievously jokes at bath time about where he will ‘put’ his pee.

“I’m going to pee on this carpet. I’m going to pee on this bed.” Then I give him a stern look after which he busts out laughing for reasons only he knows.

So, I guess he’s a perverted giggle box already? I wasn’t overly concerned since he only does this at bath time when he’s deliriously tired anyway. Until one day, he abruptly told his grandmother (also a preacher’s wife) that he was going to pee on her foot. You have no idea of the shame.

My two-year old isn’t immune. When the boys are taking a bath, he tells his brother, “Ooo. I see your boom boom.”

Aha, now that’s a body part I guess we didn’t get all clinical about. I guess I should have taught them to say “rear end”, “butt”, or “behind.” Yes, “behind” would have been good (why didn’t I think of that a couple of years ago?).

Besides the ‘boom boom’ reference, I didn’t prefer any of the other labels… like wee wee and woo woo and vajay jay and pee pee. Or my personal favorite – the “box” (that describes the vagina). I’ll admit, if I had a girl, I may have gone about this differently because I still don’t like hearing THAT word and even typing it makes me squirm. Vagina. (AARRGGH).

I do use baby talk to describe the human excrements, though. So we call urine “pee pee” and a bowel movement is “poopy.”  

But (no pun intended) back to my office conversation, now consisting of a couple of women pondering the proper labels for children to call their genitalia. Clearly I am outnumbered and degraded on the mom respect-o-meter for having my boys use the word penis.  And we wanted to get more universal opinions.

What do you think and/ or what word does your child use to describe his/her private parts?


25 thoughts on “Parody of the Penis

  1. Like you I kept it real with my son. In the beginning I think he called it his “thing”. I didn’t care for that so I taught him the word penis. With my daughter we used “kitty cat” until she learned other words from her Aunts.

  2. I say call it like it is! My 2 y.o. girl understands that daddy and brother (who is 7 months) have a penis and her and mommy have a VAGINA. (No problem saying it at all.) However, she doesn’t know that the penis and vagina make us different, but one thing at a time! I forgot to tell my husband that I taught her the correct names and after using the potty one day, she said, “Daddy, you have a penis!”

    I think using “code” names are confusing and adds a layer of mystery for the child. On a personal note, my mother and aunt used “Turkey” for the “box” and so around Thanksgiving time, it was always funny talking about the Thanksgiving Turkey and then my “Turkey”. Gobble Gobble.

  3. We just have our son call it his private, altough he thought I said “pirate.” So after bathtime one time he kept talking about his “pirate,” and saying “hey matey, look at my pirate!” I think he knows it is a private now. I just try not to make a big deal about it, so hopefully he won’t. (he is a boy though) For my girl, she is too little right now, but I’ll probably tell here it is her private too. My parents would call the vagina a “tutu.” I have know idea where that came from and I remember my brother calling his “weanie.” Both words make me cringe, I don’t like tutu or weanie. When I had my ultrasound while I was pregnant with my girl, they pointed out how they could tell it was a girl because you can see her “hamburger.” That still grosses me out!

    • ok – this had me CRACKING UP! Thanks so much for sharing – hilarious! I’ve always hated “hamburger” also – yuck! We’ve started using ‘private parts’ now that we occasionally – and gently – mention to the boys that no one else should be touching their ‘private parts.’ (ugh) This is the world we live in…

  4. When it comes to boys and all things “penis” related, I have to refer to the only true penis expert in the house, my husband. But when it comes to the language we use as parents, I think it’s a personal choice, and no matter what you decide to do, someone will cringe, somewhere.

    And, when you have boys, the penis issues do pop up, hee, hee. I don’t know how they walk around with those things. They are curious about them, they get to pee standing up, and they have to protect them when playing sports. It’s a delicate area, and a very delicate issue, and since I didn’t grow up having one, I do refer to my husband (and will do as my little boy grows older), on all penis-related issues.

    I use the penis-word, but we also call it many things, twig and berries, his little willy, and as he gets older we will of course teach him about this area, and proper decorum, and behaviour as appropriate. The names we choose, and what we teach him along the way will be determined by his age, and understanding level (and curiosity and need). When we get to potty training, for example, we’ll have to deal with this, and we will.

    And, believe me, boys are different than girls when it comes to this stuff. Just ask other moms who have raised boys, that’s why I’m glad I’ve got my husband around.

    Another great post, I’m really enjoying this blog, Amy

  5. I think it’s best to use the correct words! I use ‘vulva’ with my daughter because that’s what that part IS. When ‘vagina’ is appropriate (during sex or baby talks in a couple years) I’ll use it then.
    That said, I’m sure she’ll find many ways to make adults blush by using her proper terminology!

    • Hello! Wow! I hadn’t thought of that approach – but that is the right terminology. I would love to be a fly on the wall when she uses that term with adults. 🙂 As parents, we control how they view and speak of their body. There’s so much controversy about the derogatory terms used in music and the media – maybe we are somehow fighting that battle by giving our kids correct information and proper respect for their body parts? Thanks so much for commenting!!!

  6. I vote for keeping it real…no shame in the name…and keeps the confusion down as they develop. and gives u a good founation to build on without having to revisit the name

    • HHII!!!! You came to visit!! 🙂 I whole heartedly agree with you. That was one of my issues – how can I call a penis ‘pee pee’ and then talk about pee – too confusing. Anyway … thanks for the comment!!

  7. My 4 year old is the same way! He also threatens to pee on things often. We have always used the word penis to describe his body but have not gotten into detail about girls body parts. He thinks I pee out of my butt and I don’t plan on correcting that anytime soon.

  8. I just stumbled across your blog and I loved this post. When my now 6 year old was 2 or 3 and learning to name all of his body parts, I tried to teach him to use the word “penis” but he kept forgetting. All he could remember was the “pe” part of the word, so he started calling it his “Peer” as in “Pee-Er” which cracked me up because that’s essentially what it does, and to this day that’s still his word for it.

  9. I always called it his winky. Now he calls it his pee pee and I hate it. I think I’ll shift him to Penis. I call the Vagina lots of things. I don’t have girls but to me teaching a girl to call it her Kitty Cat is kinda weird. (sorry) But it’s overtly sexual. It’s just one step away from pussy.

  10. Hahaha my favorite word I picked from this post is vajay jay. Lol.who invented that! I personally believe they should be taught the real names but my husband is against it. He’d rather call it flower 😀

  11. All you have to do is drop the “p” word…lol. I do teach my boys the proper name for all body parts, but in everyday conversation, I still tend to refer to the penis as private parts (or “pee-pee” when the boys are little). No matter what I teach them, the world has a different lesson to teach and dropping the “p” word stirs up everything from giggles to potty word parties to rolled eyes and “Really, Mom?”

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