Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Butts, penises and cookies

I submit, for your consideration, exhibit A in the case of needing accurate age-appropriate education about our bodies, a scene from the PreK classroom where I work:

We are reading a book about how dinosaurs say good night. One of the dinosaurs turns off the light with his tail.

Lead teacher: Do you turn off the light with your tail?
All kids: No!
Boy: We don't have tails! We have butts and penises!
Girl: Girls don't have a penis! We have cookies!

There's a split second where everyone looks at the boy, then the girl, thinking we're going to tell them not to say "penis." My lead teacher says, "Girls have vaginas," and keeps reading.

At least the girl didn't call it a vah-jay-jay.


Saranga said...

good for the teacher. may i ask how old the kids are?

Anonymous said...

I am confused. Are you saying they shouldn't know the terms because they aren't age-appropriate?

I certainly wouldn't want my son calling it anything other than what it is. And my vagina is not a cookie, so I don't see how that is any better than vah-jay-jay.

lindsay said...

I'm saying they should at least know the right word for their body parts. 4 year olds should know that their genitalia isn't called cookies. I consider that age appropriate, anyway.

Anonymous said...

I can think of several things to call it that would be better than "cookie".
"Honey, be good or you don't get any cookies for dessert."
How confusing would that be for a kid??

Though I understand the point is we shouldn't be afraid to use the word "vagina", "clitoris", etc.

magpie_seven said...

That is pretty good! The only thing I would point out is that it's often far too late girls learn the word "vulva", which is much more comprehensive than "vagina", which only describes one part of female sexual anatomy.

Pharaoh Katt said...

I got a real kick out of work today when I asked my kindy presumed-female children to "wipe your vulva". Feel almost like I'm teaching them a naughty word. (of course I know I'm not, but the way the words "vulva" and "vagina" are treated you'd think they were)

Alexandra said...

Way to go, lead teacher.

It's sad that there are parents who chastise their kids for using the correct words. My mother didn't chastise me, but she made a mock-surprise face whenever I used words like "vagina" or "penis" so that I felt uncomfortable saying them anyway.

Strumpet said...

Yea for the lead teacher.

In a recent discussion with my late 20 something girlfriends, we discovered that not one us has a name that we are comfortable using to talk about/refer to our vaginas. We are all tertiary educated confident women and yet, we can't even feel comfortable saying 'vagina'. Sad isn't it? I'm trying to embrace using 'vagina' despite the little bit of uncomfortable I feel when I do so. My vagina! I have one!

Melissa said...

Cookies?!? Wow.

It is interesting that the word "vulva" is so shied away from...even more so than "vagina." It's a more useful term biologically for that age, and it's easier to say anyway.