Family · Life

Out of the Mouths of Babes

(I wrote this back in 2000)

Our son left last month for his second year of college.  His freshman year we took him down and helped him move in.  This year he loaded up the woody wagon and drove off by himself.  {sigh}   A couple of nights later my husband got out the cassette recording that we made when our son was  three.  We listened to him singing about the peanut on the railroad tracks, hip hop bunny, and his ABC’s.  He only got stuck once ‑ not remembering the letters ‑ stuck like a broken record.  His L‑M‑N‑O came out L‑M‑minow‑minow‑minow‑P.  Ah, the memories.

When I was a young mother, I decided that I wouldn’t use baby talk or silly words when talking to my son. For instance, I’ve heard people use phrases like, “Look what hers got.”  (Is “hers” a contraction?  Should there be an apostrophe because it is short for “her has”?)  My philosophy…. why teach your children bad habits that some poor teacher is going to have to undo later?  Or that is going to embarrass the hell out of them when they are in the lunch line at school and order a “sodie”. (I’m speaking from experience here.)

I also wanted to be very open and honest with my son.  I wanted him to be able to come to me with any question and be assured that he would get a straight answer.  (You see where this is going, right?)

When he turned two I enrolled him in day‑care.  At one time, there were quite a few “teachers” there that were in the “family way.”  And being curious like most children are, one day came the question.  But his question wasn’t how the baby got in, he wanted to know how the baby would get out.   So I told my 3‑year‑old that women had a place that men didn’t have, especially for the baby to come out, called a vagina.  He asked, “Where is the vagina, Mommy?”  I said simply that it was between the woman’s legs.  Okay….. pretty easy…. I hadn’t avoided the question and I had kept it simple, right?   I learned a valuable lesson a few days later – when you give a child a new word he will be dying to use it!

Later in the week I received a call from the day‑care administrator.  She said, “Mrs. Serguta, one of the mothers is pretty upset because your son told her daughter that she had a pretty vagina.”  After taking a few moments to compose myself I replied, “H‑h‑h‑ow….”  Miss Vickie explained that the boys’ bathroom was out‑of‑order so the boys were using the girls’ room.  Unfortunately, my son went in while it was occupied.  I apologized and said I would talk to him about it.

I immediately called my husband.  I explained to Paul what had happened and told him how mortified I was.  My husband has a different way of looking at things than I do.  His response was “She’s upset?  We should be upset.  What is her daughter doing showing our son her vagina.”  I then explained to Paul about the bathroom situation.  So, he said the day‑care workers should be more careful….end of crisis.  So much for getting any help from my husband.

That evening I had to try to explain to our son that, although vagina is not a bad word, most people don’t like to hear it used.  In the future when I had talks with him, I made sure I pointed out that he wasn’t to say anything to the other children, it was to be our secret.  Let their parents have the pleasure.

One thought on “Out of the Mouths of Babes

  1. Oh my goodness I loved this.It is funny how fast time flies with your babies isn’t it?I love remembering things like this about my kids and now my grandkids.Smiling from ear to ear after reading this.


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