Let me set the scene:
Me: Sitting quietly on the toilet enjoying a moment of peace and quiet.
Lucas: Knock, knock.
Lucas: Who's there? (Yes, Lucas answers himself when he says, "Knock, knock!!!")
Me: What is it Lucas?
Lucas: Can I come in? (as he opens the door)
Me: It doesn't look like I have a choice! (Thinking to myself how quickly that single minute of peace and quiet flew by.)
Lucas: Can I see your doodle?
Me: I don't have a doodle. I have a vajay-jay.
Me: Girls don't have doodles, and Mommy is a girl. Girls have vajay-jays. Only boys have doodles.
Me: Because that's the way it is.
Lucas: Can I touch it?
Me: Touch what?
Lucas: Your doodle.
Me: Lucas, I told you, Mommy doesn't have a doodle. I have a vajay-jay. And Mommy's vajay-jay is her private part. We don't touch other people's private parts.
Lucas: Staring silently down at his doodle.
Me: Mommy has to touch your doodle when I change your diapie. Oh, and when you take a bath. And periodically when I need to check it to make sure everything's okay down there. (This isn't going too well!)
Lucas: Okay, but I see your doodle.
So how does one handle the private parts conversation with one's toddler?
Hubby and I have told Lucas the real names of the various private parts and we talk about them openly because we don't want Lucas to think there's something wrong with them. And there is no shortage of advice about how to respond to certain private parts questions, but what to do when your toddler asks to "touch it?"
Lucas has asked many times before to touch my "oobies" (as he refers to them), especially after I've just finished nursing Justin. On most occasions I oblige because I want him to feel comfortable coming to me with even the most difficult questions, not to mention I want him to be open about body parts. And of course, it's not like the little guy is doing anything obscene or lingering — he usually treats my oobies like he's coming into contact with slimy worm, quickly prodding with his index finger before retreating back to his trucks. But the thought of him touching my most private private part just doesn't seem appropriate, no matter how open I want him to be about body parts.
So what is a mother to do?
In today's day and age when a parent can never be too careful about telling her kids that nobody should touch their private parts, it seems to be a delicate, fine line between making your child aware of right and wrong and making him neurotic. And of course, somewhere in the middle of that message, a parent must weave that it's okay for Mommy and Daddy, and for the child himself, to touch his private parts.
And then there's the naked issue — at what age should Mommy and/or Daddy stop walking around naked in front of the kiddos? Or vice versa, at what age should the kids stop running around naked in the house?
It's at about this point in parenting when How to Talk to Your Toddler About Private Parts for Dummies would come in handy. But in the absence of such a wonderful parenting guide, hubby and I are going with excerpts from the Wing It and Hope You Don't Cause Irreparable Damage Guide to Parenting.