This afternoon I came downstairs to my Nana coloring with my two year old daughter. I had been packing our things so we could make the long drive home after a weekend visit. My Nana said, “You need to really watch how you talk in front of her.” She was referring to my daughter. I asked what she meant. We do not do the best job of filtering out profanity in our house, but my daughter does understand that she isn’t supposed to say those words. Except one time, shortly after her second birthday, when she said, “Leave me alone fucking bug,” to a fly that was bothering her 😳😂
My Nana responded: “She was coloring in her Minions coloring book and said, ‘He’s naked! We need to color his vagina.'”
I said, “Well she’s two and we work on body parts and we use correct names for them.” My Nana seemed offended.
Before having my daughter, I rarely used the correct terminology. However, I think when we don’t use the correct terms with our children, we are making it seem like those are “bad words.” When in reality, those words aren’t “bad” when we are using them to label body parts; they are medically correct. When I grew up, we didn’t use the word “vagina.” I don’t think using the word would have made me any more likely to tell about the sexual abuse I endured. However, it may have taken away some of the stigma and shame that comes from talking about those parts of my body. Or maybe not.
I want to raise my daughter in a way that she doesn’t feel ashamed to talk to me about her body. I want her to be comfortable enough to tell me if someone is touching her in places they shouldn’t. I want her to grow up knowing that she doesn’t need to be afraid of my reaction.
And for a two year old girl in my house, saying “vagina” when referring to the pelvic region of a Minion in a coloring book is really not “bad.”