A few days ago, the kids and I were watching some free Baby Einstein TV or something that we’d scammed during a Free Preview week (TiVo, you rock). They were going through body parts and a picture of a kids backside in jeans flashed up on the screen.
“That’s a buttocks.”
I turned and looked at my seven year old, sure I had misheard him.
“It’s a what?”
“Yes, it is. How do you know that?”
“Oh mom, I know lots of doctor words. Like eyes and ears and chin….”
“Doctor words? Where did you learn these doctor words?”
“Y’know, The Private Part People,” he says – because of course everyone knows who the Private Part People are. And only an idiot would hear that and be slightly nervous about what the hell he’d been doing in the neighbor girls backyard.
“Who are the Private Part People?” I say, as calm and nonchalant as I could be.
“Y’know, they come three times a year and do a series on privates and stuff,” at which point I’m almost positive my seven year old rolled his eyes at me.
“Ah yes, of course. So, um, what other doctor words did you learn?” still calm and this-is-no-big deal.
“Oh I know lots. Elbows, nose, enis…”
“Wait. What? Enis?”
“Yeah. You know mom, Enis,” he says, pointing for effect because obviously everyone knows that a boy’s crotch is called an Enis.
“Um, you mean ‘penis’?”
“YEAH! That’s it. Penis. Whatever. So, penis, and knee and…”
“Did you learn any other doctor words?”
“Sure. Oh man, what are those called… uh… uh….” he’s drawing big circles around his own nipples as he searches for a word that I’m hoping isn’t Tit.
“Yeah! Breasts!” he slaps his hands in excitement that he “remembered” the word.
“Did they put you all in a class together, or did the boys go in one room and the girls in another?”
He gives me an utterly confused look, because I am clearly changing the subject with something that obviously has nothing to do with the Private Parts People.
“Never mind. So, did they teach you boy and girl doctor words?” still, completely calm, a feat which should win me nods in the Mom of The Year race.
“Oh yeah. But mom, you know girls don’t have penises, right?” he asks, obviously concerned for me.
“Um, yes, actually, I did know that. Thank you though. So, what is the doctor word for what girls have?”
“Well, most girls just have hair. I mean, not all, but lots of them”
“That’s the word they taught you? Hair?”
“Sure. No… um…. wait! Wait! There’s another word for what ALL girls have. What is it? Um…” his little brow was so furrowed I think he’ll have a permanent wrinkle.
“Yes! That’s it! Vagina!” he points at me, apparently for clarification.
The conversation proceeds and he explains to me that they watched a video and learned about “Stop! Go! Tell!”, which means…
“Tell ‘em to stop. Go find someone else. And tell a grown up. And keep telling until someone believes you!” Ouch. Yes son, that’s right, there are kids in this world who are betrayed not just by abusers but by adults who refuse to help.
He continues, explaining that sometimes it’s OK for someone to touch your privates, like if you’re a baby or you go to the doctor, stuff like that. Then he stops, obviously perplexed.
“Mom? What about if I’m 21 and still not married and someone touches my penis? What grown up do I tell?”
There was a bit of an awkward silence as I contemplated how far I was willing to let this brainwashing go. At what point do you acknowledge that your children may have sex at some point in their lives?
“You come tell your mommy sweetheart. If anyone ever tries to touch your penis before you get married, you can always come tell your mom.”
I think we both felt better.