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But Why Can't I Say That?

Aug 17, 2007
What is it with kids and body parts? And functions? Why are little kids, barely verbal, so fascinated with their own body parts and those of others? Do they have to discuss personal functions in such detail, and in such embarrassing company?

Because they're darling innocents, that's why. The world hasn't taught them yet that such conversation with total strangers isn't socially appropriate. If Mommy is concerned about a rash on a toddler's pee-pee, why can't that concern be related to the postman, the grocery store clerk, or the neighbors? Little kids just don't comprehend the censorship that our society will eventually inflict upon them. If it can be said at home, why can't it be said in public? Again, toddlers have no concept of personal privacy; just ask any frazzled mother whose child just has to go "number two" right this minute! Or so the child agonizingly informs everyone in the checkout lane at Wal-Mart.

So you think you've heard it all, do you? Here are some excerpts from real life that will have you chuckling - only because it wasn't you in that situation.

"I was breast feeding my little girl when the doorbell rang. I covered up quickly and answered the door with my child still in my arms. To my dismay, there were two young, very polite young men; Mormon missionaries they were! My daughter, who's a very friendly child, pulled aside my shirt and gleefully announced 'See Mommy's boobies!' I'll never forget the look on those nice young fellas' faces. I was so embarrassed; I excused myself and shut the door. Glaring at my daughter, who looked at me with wide, innocent eyes, I started to laugh. And every time I tell this story, I still laugh!"

"I took my four-year-old son to the hardware store with me," one red-faced father recounted. "I thought it was time to introduce him to the world of tools, like big kids. Together, we picked out a new hammer and screwdriver, and some brackets I needed to hang our new drapes. At the counter, the elderly owner of the store rang up my purchases. About this time, my son announces at the top of his lungs, 'Daddy's tool is a lot bigger than mine, but he says mine's gonna grow a lot.' The old gentleman never batted an eye. He just said 'I sure hope so, sonny.'

"It was Christmas," said the mother of an adorable three-year-old daughter. "Of course all we were hearing were Christmas carols. My daughter was just learning about God and Jesus and what Christmas is really all about. When "Silent Night" came on the radio, my daughter turned to me and asked 'Mommy, what's a virgin?' I thought about it for a moment - how to explain virginity to a little girl? Finally, I said 'A virgin is a young unmarried woman.' 'Oh,' said my daughter with wisdom beyond her years, 'then my cousin CeCe is a virgin cause she's only sixteen.' From behind the newspaper, my husband snickered and said, 'I wouldn't count on it.' From then on, every time I saw CeCe I couldn't help laughing."

Kids are always unpredictable and they can be embarrassing at times, but if you can keep a sense of humor about the situation, you'll weather these little outbursts of intimate detail much better. It's better to be as open and honest as you can with your kids - ever try hushing a toddler when they're bent on knowing "why"? They can say "why" far longer than you can say "because," and most likely much louder, which can end up dragging out a situation you'd rather avoid. Maybe it's just better to give in and laugh at your kids' social fax pas. After all, they'll grow out of it.
About the Author
Graham Johns writes regularly for YourToddler.net where you can read many more articles on body language and toddlers . Also go to Family Life for a range of informative articles on infant car seats and much more
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