The girl who cuts my hair “AngG” has twin daughters that are a year older than my daughter, Lovey. (Lovey is almost three.) I was in a few days ago for a little cut and color and AngG told me some crazy story about her friend “Lucy.” Lucy had a boyfriend that sexually violated Lucy’s little girl.
My heart sank. I was sick.
But it got me wondering:
When is the right time to discuss with my girls who is and who is not welcome in their gynie area? (That is what we call it in our house. We call it a “gynie.“ Like it, hate it, I don’t care. That’s what we call it). AngG told me that she started talking to her girls about it awhile ago.
Awhile ago? Your kids are three! Like how long ago? Am I late?
So, that night, I got on it.
I first had a nice little gynie talk with Sweet Pea. She just turned five: Don’t let anyone touch your gynie, honey. Don’t be waving it around either. No one is interested. Keep it to yourself. It’s your private area…yes, if mommy or daddy are with you and a doctor needs to get in there, you can let her in…no, we’re not going to the doctor…no, you don’t need a shot …oh no…don’t freak out…I swear you don’t need a shot…that is not where this conversation was supposed to go…
I then broached the subject with Lovey (the one who is almost three).
Me: Lovey, I need to tell you who is allowed to touch your gynie.
Lovey: My gynie! Ok, I love my gynie!
Me: Great. Listen to mommy, honey. Only mommy and daddy are allowed to touch your gynie, OK? Nobody else. We have to clean it so it doesn‘t get gross. Gross me out the door.
Lovey: Gross me out the door. Gross me out the door!!
Me: Right. Do you understand though? Oh, wait…nana, grammy and puppa are also allowed to touch your gynie. But no one else. Are you with me?
Lovey: Yes, mommy.
Me: Who is allowed to touch your gynie?
Lovey: You and daddy and nana and grammy and puppa. And that’s it.
Me: Right. That’s it. You’re delicious.
Lovey: Don’t eat me, mommy.
And that was that. Mission accomplished. I was pretty proud of myself.
The next morning, while I was getting Lovey dressed, we went over everything again. She answered all of my prompts and I felt very good about her level of understanding with regard to who is and who is not allowed to touch her gynie. I didn’t go into explaining why no one was allowed in there—it doesn’t seem necessary right now because, developmentally, I don’t think she is quite ready for an explanation. At this point, it’s enough for me that she gets the basics, we’ll get to the “why” part later.
Fast forward to the next day…
It’s time for the girls to get their hair cut. (I don’t take them to my salon. I took them there for their first cuts because we needed to be fancy, but I’m over that. They have easy hair and they don’t have any money so the 10.00 places are where they live.)
So, we’re in the 10.00 salon and all of the people working and getting their hair cut are going crazy over the girls. The girls were doing their thing, being cute and diva-like, when all of the sudden, out of nowhere, little Lovey throws her fist in the air and declares with all the righteous indignation that she could muster: “NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO TOUCH MY GYNIE! ONLY MOMMY AND DADDY AND NANA AND GRAMMY AND PUPPA!”
I didn’t really know what to do. Who does that? So, I got down on her level, put my hands on her little shoulders and quietly said: “Lovey…honey…I’m pretty confident that no one here is lining up to touch your gynie.”
But she was unfazed and on a mission:
“NO ONE! I WILL SAY NO. I SAY NO!”
…And I hope she does, for a long, long time.
At least until she gets married.
Ok, fine she doesn’t have to be married, but she better use some discretion before then because otherwise…gross.
Gross me out the door.
Thanks for being here!
Facebook : DimSumandDoughnuts
I love your kids. And I love your way with them. You are such a good mom and I love how real you are with them. I also totally appreciate you sharing everything…Dand D is my favorite blog ! xxo
Oh, this makes me want to cry. Thank you so much!!! You are so crazy unreal, I can’t take it. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!! I just adore you. Truly, I do. SO MUCH.
Don’t you just love little kids’ propensity for expounding on uncomfortable subjects at the most inopportune times? At 2.5 Alexei is only repeating words we rather he not know yet in front of clergy. My mother loved to tell the story about 5 year old me announcing to the world how I knew how the pony I took riding lessons on was a boy… Used to embarrass the crap out of me till I became a mother. LOL!
As far as the Asian guy asking if your DD is Asian: we actually get this all the time, including from one of my Indonesian aunts and our _Chinese_ pharmacist. I take it as a slightly more polite way of asking the “Is he your son?” or “where is he from?” type questions, which we get from white people ALL. THE. TIME. That’s just my $.02.
That is way funny about the pony!! 🙂 🙂 I love that. I’m sure that one never gets old, it is funny!
…and I was dying over the asian guy asking me if Sweet Pea was oriental since HE WAS TOO! I mean…it’s not like we’re trying to hide it, right? 🙂
Love your comment. Brought a smile to my face. Thank you so much!
No wonder you call her Lovey! Our pediatrician tests the kids every year as to who is allowed to see their “penis” 😉
That is so smart. Ours doesn’t do that, but it’s a really good idea. I’m going to bring it up at the next appointment. I can see it now…Dr. to Lovey: “Who is allowed to touch your gynie?” Lovey: NOT YOU!!
I LITERALLY have just started reading “I Said NO!” A kid-to-kid guide to keeping private parts private…because my little “Honey” loves showing off his penis to EVERYONE! (He is 5 1/2) We have to have this discussion regularly!!! I love knowing that others are going through the same stuff we are…but, I guess my guy loves to show his off!!! 🙂
I mean…he just wants to let everyone in on what’s he’s got goin’ on. Loud and proud, baby! 🙂
That is really funny. I can see him and Lovey in a face off with yours whipping it out and Lovey yelling at him. I love that you threw the book name out there. I’m going to get that book. Thank you for that. I’m glad someone wrote a book on this subject. I’m thinking I’m clearly not the best person to be writing children’s books…
Love hearing from you. Thank you so much!
I’m going to get a bit deep here so hold on…
The generation before me, my parents, never talked to us about anything to do with our bodies. Mostly my education was listening to my friends which as you can imagine was pretty confusing. I remember sneaking my parents copy of ‘the joy of sex’ with the hairy man and the ungroomed woman which basically scared the crap out of me. So suffice to say I really had no clue about my body.
I had someone do something to me that they should never do to a child of 10. The positive was that I talked to my son from quite an early age about what is right, what is wrong, what is good and what is bad. He has always had an awareness of his body which I’m proud to say I helped him with.
It’s never to early in my opinion…there are some evil people out there. My parents trusted that person never imagining the situation I was in. If kids have that awareness and know right from wrong hopefully they will know to say no…like i didn’t.
I am so honored that you felt comfortable enough to get real (really real) with us. I’m speechless after reading your comment. I feel awful for what you must have gone through. I admire you more than you know because the outcome could have gone two different ways:
1. You could have done to someone else what was done to you (and we all know that happens quite frequently–abusers were usually abused themselves at some point) or…
2. You could have risen above the situation and worked to make sure it didn’t happen again, at least in your circle.
And that is exactly what you did.
I admire you more than you know, Edwina– and again, I’m honored not only to have you as a reader, but as someone who took the time to respond to my writing. Thank you for that, and more importantly, thank you for choosing NOT to perpetuate a potentially horrible and harmful situation.
Lots of love to you…
I thought a lot before writing that comment.
I have tried to never let what happen define me and find the positives to, in some small way, use my experience to to help others. I don’t want to sound preachy or wanky (is that even a word?!) but if my past can help someone’s future then that’s a good thing.
It is a good thing to use your experiences to help others, and you are a good person. I’m glad you decided to send the comment. I imagine it couldn’t have been easy, but I’m sure there is a part of you that felt a little sense of relief once you hit “Submit Reply.” It would have been bugging you if you held back. I’m so glad you didn’t. Your comment was very powerful and a good guide for others, and for me. It wasn’t “wanky” at all.
Best word ever, by the way. 🙂
We have talked about body parts and privacy ever since the kids could talk. (The only one who had a hard time with it was my oldest – his name begins with G.) He was visibly uncomfortable every time. Once, when talking with our son, age 8, about sex our son was very interested. After we finished our brief talk he said, “Let me get this straight.” The man puts his penis in the woman’s vagina, right?” We nodded yes. He did a fist pump and yells, “Sweet!!” G and I looked at each other and could hardly contain our laughter. Later, G said, “That’s my boy!” So – I say it is never too early – especially with girls. They will hear a lot of misinformation and it is best for them to know the truth before they hear garbage from someone else. Plus the untrue stuff is always more interesting than the true stuff so the kids need to be armed with the facts first. You’re a good mom, Robyn so your girls will be smart and savvy. PS – my mom’s sex talk went something like this, “Your knees are friends and friends should always be together.”
That line from your mom is really funny!! I’m going to say that all the time now, you know I will…and you know the girls will be singing and repeating it.
“Your knees are friends and friends should always be together.” I love it!!
And I’m picturing all that talk going down in your house and because I know how you are as parents, I can only imagine how hard you and G were laughing. We will definitely keep the lines of communication open here and when I have trouble, or I have a question–you know who I will go to: YOU. You have always given me sage advice on all topics. I’m so lucky to have you and I miss you tremendously.
Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I know how busy you are and I appreciate it so much.
Sue Barenholtz says
It’s never too early as long as they understand the no thing – I know what being afraid to say no can do to ruin a child’s life, well into adulthood. I applaud you for doing this.
Thank you so much, Sue. I figure it’s better to start talking about all this stuff early so we never have to have “talks.” We just talk all the time…lots of talking over here..talk talk talk…all the time…blah blah blah…it’s exhausting! 🙂
Thank you for taking a minute for me. You are the seriously the best and I appreciate your input so much. Validation from a “been there, done that” is always good for us newbies.
Hazel M. Wheeler says
Okay, so I’ve subscribed and now I miss not knowing if I’ll get a new post or not.. how silly of me…
I love that the message stuck with your girls. Because I nursed my son for, like, forever (not National Geographic ‘forever’, but for a while), he used to get a bit handsy with what’s on top. That was the start of the ‘Private Parts’ conversations and discussion of which areas of the body are for whom to enjoy, etc. I was mostly wanting to ensure that his preschool teachers and beloved Aunties didn’t get groped, and felt I owed it to him, so that someone wouldn’t have a huge, embarrassing reaction to his being grabby which would be upsetting for both of them. I wanted to help him in maintaining his healthy relationships with others.
So, at five, he knows a lot: he knows about private parts and not touching ladies boobs, he knows that babies come out of vaginas (we used a childbirth book for that one, b/c he wanted to ‘see that’ and I’m not recreating that magic moment) and he knows some basic egg/fertilization stuff. That’s as far as he’s asked….
I try to keep in all in the realm of ‘reproductive health’ and make it more about education than fear (and I was in a similar situation as Edwina, so I have a lot of respect for her attitude of negatives and positives). Also, I think if we regularly respect and listen to our children, they can approach us when things go wrong, and there’s the key– we can tell them “no one should do XYZ” till our faces are blue, but they have to know we’ll believe them, not overreact and support them when they need help.
And good on ya for posting this. I’m sad for “Lucy” and her daughter, but also heartened that we are more willing to discuss it than the previous generations.
I’m so happy that you think I handled this topic properly. I was a little worried. I would hate for anyone to think that I was making light.
I can’t believe how much your kid knows at 5 years old. Sweet Pea waves her gynie around like it’s the American Flag. As soon as I feel she is ready, I will get more into the things you discuss with your kid. Or maybe I will do like you, and wait until she asks…
Hey, Thanks for bringing this up! I went to a school discussion about this awhile back (I was surprised not very many people attended) but what I learned was:
1. creepy people don’t jump right in your pants they start out slow and to demonstrate this, the speaker carassed her arm and said does this seem approriate?
2. So also let your cutie pies know that not only people aren’t allowed to touch anywhere the bathing suit is but if anything makes them uncomfortable get away from there and the speaker said let out the loudest craziest scream ever not to yell fire (I’m not sure how to explain that to kids so they won’t just do crazy screams)
3. and its not just men, its women and other kids!!
She told a story about a little girl kept saying the doctor comes in the middle of the night and the parents thought she was having a bad dream ect. finally they found out the creepy teenager was sneaking in her room through the window and saying he was the doctor!!
4. Also it IS mostly people they know or see often, neighbor ect. The speaker said you would be surprised at the professional people that are molesters not just creepy looking people
5. Creeps learn kids routine and ever so slowly build up to to sexually destroy our children and they do it over and over again before they are ever caught!
I’m going to have a talk with my daughter again tonight, thank you again for this reminder. now I’m freaked out a little again I’m going to look for my notes from the school thing and pray for “Lucy, her daughter and the safety of all our little blessings! hugs! Michelle W
Hazel M. Wheeler says
You raised some really good points. Thanks for posting them and sharing your school discussion with us.:)
You are SO GREAT. I’m going to make a copy of your comment and keep it for reference. I am so in love with you right now. Thank you!!! These are great tips and I am so thankful to you right now.
I am picturing my girls practicing their craziest scream (they are going to love that because I am not a fan of screaming in the house). I also love the one about explaining that it usually starts with a caress…ugh, this is all so scary to me, but it’s important and I can not thank you enough for taking the time to submit that list.
You are amazing.
Ann Collins says
I have to say that I got such a good laugh out of Lovey’s announcement ..(mother of 4 enjoys other peoples kids saying things especially loud) But you are doing such a good thing making your teaching so matter of fact and a regular subject.(I was raised in the generation when we never mentioned anything about sex..you’ll find out when you get married) or who or what to watch out for..God watched over me that I didn’t a bad experience!! The advice about nobody touching anything that goes under your bathing suit is wonderful and not scary either. Also love the knees! Your children are precious & I can see why Katie cares so much about your family look forward to more of your writing…Such a breath of fresh air! Granny C
Love hearing from you, Ann!! Can’t you just picture little Lovey making her big announcement? She is very delicious, as I’m sure “Georgia” has told you. Not too much longer now and we’ll be back with Georgia again!! We are all so excited to get our summer family back together. Please keep in touch. I always smile when I hear from you. XXOO