My husband got out of the shower yesterday and was greeted by our 2-year-old daughter wearing a quizzical look and pointing her finger directly at a certain naked area — I’m sure you can guess which one.
“Daddy, you have one of those?” she asked. “You have one, too?
I asked the obvious question: “Who else has one of those?”
“John,” she said, referring to her male cousin who is 20 months old.
To see just how deeply she was thinking about this shared anatomy, I continued to ask: “Why do Daddy and John both have one of those?”
This was a thinker. She thought long and hard before her face lit up as she answered, “Daddy is a baby, too!”
Good enough for me. At least it lets me postpone the human anatomy talk a little bit longer.
I can use the extra time because I haven’t quite decided how I want to approach the subject with her. Some friends have told me they use the specific, actual names for body parts. The only problem is that the kids I know who have been taught these words tend to use them . . . loudly, often and usually in public places.
But I also don’t want to make my daughter ashamed, embarrassed or overly curious about the human body. I think that can happen when you resort to using terms like woo-woo and pee-pee. Or worse, do what I’ve been doing and avoid the subject.
So I need to come up with a plan that is a happy medium between ignoring my daughter’s questions and busting out the birds and the bees for a 2 year old.
How did you explain gender differences to your young children? Is there a right way to do it, or a right time to start the conversation?