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female genitalia - how do you describe it to a toddler?

(46 Posts)
PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sun 27-Sep-09 12:21:24

DD aged 3 just opened her labia and pointed to her clitoris and said 'whats this mama' and I said 'its your clitoris' and she said 'clitoris? oh whats that for?' and I was stumped as to what to tell her, being 3 and all, then wondered if I was too 'grown up' in how I described it.

How have you explained this to your toddler in a way that does not confuse them?

southernbelle77 Sun 27-Sep-09 20:10:49

We just call it a 'front bottom'. Fortunately dd has never been one to 'rummage' around down there and ask questions, so she has been satisfied with that! I'm glad as I'm not good at explaining things!

We are just going through the whole death and people dying thing and it's really hard trying to explain it honestly without scaring her!

southeastastra Sun 27-Sep-09 20:12:50

i have boys so have no idea what you would say. i can't remember my mother ever referring to mine ever shockgrin

southeastastra Sun 27-Sep-09 20:13:39

front bottom is just not right shock

Febes Sun 27-Sep-09 20:14:31


DuelingFanjo Sun 27-Sep-09 20:14:41

vagina, vulva. I think those are the correct terms.

Golda Sun 27-Sep-09 20:15:59

dd pointed to her clitoris a few days ago and said 'thats my penis. Its tiny' I said its your clitoris but its like a penis but its more inside because you are a girl. She asked if her wee came out of it. She has a 5yo brother so she knows about penises being for weeing.

Reallytired Sun 27-Sep-09 20:18:42

We called it her "lady bits" in our house.

fishflange Sun 27-Sep-09 20:21:47

3 year old DS exclaimed with wonder at baby sister's bits and shouted 'she has a lady bottom AND a real bottom!'
his words not mine!

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Sun 27-Sep-09 20:23:49

I don't have a daughter yet, but quite honestly I wouldn't be comfortable using terms like clitoris and vulva to a toddler. YES they're the right words, but they're too adult, too graphic, and unnecessary. As a rule of thumb, only use such words if you're happy to have them repeated to strangers on the bus.

I would just stick to "those are your bits" until she's a little bit older and more selective over when, where and with whom she discusses her genitals.

Restrainedrabbit Sun 27-Sep-09 20:28:09

Too adult shock Gawd we go with vagina which DD (3) has shortened to 'gina. She frequently has a good rummage and asks what various bits are called, I just tell her the given names. If she asked me what the back of her leg was called I would tell her, what is the difference??

Is 'testicle' too adult? What about 'scrotum' or 'penis'??

Restrainedrabbit Sun 27-Sep-09 20:28:55

I hate 'bits' with a vengeance angry

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sun 27-Sep-09 20:31:03

James - yes that is how I felt, that it was too grown up, it just came out, as that was what it was, and then I realised I had opened a can of worms!!!

I asked DH later how he would explain it, and he said as you have, just tell her part of her girly bits, as that is what we refer to her general female parts down below.

She has asked before, but in reference to generally, not to the specific part.

But, then, on the other hand, I don't want to shy away from referring to it as it is.

My mother referred to it as 'fanny' but she was also general in her description, I don't recall asking her specifics though!

Golda Sun 27-Sep-09 20:32:10

I don't see how its graphic. Its not like telling a boy his penis is called a pork sword.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sun 27-Sep-09 20:33:32

restrainedrabbit see, you are my other voice! grin.

When DD asks about her little brother's penis, I shall refer to it as a penis or a willy, i should think, as that is what it is, but there seems to be more involved with a girl's genitalia than boys (or am I making that up? only knowing the grown up words for the boys anatomy to date! grin)

DuelingFanjo Sun 27-Sep-09 20:33:44

I don't understand why they are graphic?

Reallytired Sun 27-Sep-09 20:33:48

"I hate 'bits' with a vengeance "

Why? Vengeance seems a bit of an over reaction. Its hardly if a crime is being committed.

You can describe your little girl's vulva in whatever language you like.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sun 27-Sep-09 20:34:59

so perhaps vagina, but then technically - is that accurate? Seeing as she was being very specific in pointing to her clitoris.

Restrainedrabbit Sun 27-Sep-09 20:36:59

Sorry that was a bit strong RT wink but I don't like it because it's vague and a bit disrespectful (IMHO) and makes girls genitalia seem more sordid and distasteful than boys' ones and something to be ashamed of.

Slubberdegullion Sun 27-Sep-09 20:38:32

Pavlov when dd1 asked I, as you did, automatically told her what its prper name is, and then I said that underneath it is the hole where her wee comes out.

She was satisfied and we left it at that.

So far she has not shouted CLITORIS on the bus, not that we use the bus a lot mind you but still as yet there have been no public transport/explicit female genitalia discussions.

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Sun 27-Sep-09 20:40:01

But I'm not saying never teach her those words. I'm just saying that at three she's a little young to use such words with discretion and propriety.

By all means use the right terms but you have only yourself to blame when she asks grandma if she has a clitoris too. grin

And anyway tbh, labia, testicles etc are too technical for ME even... it'd feel like saying epidermis instead of skin.

Bitsboobswillyballsbum here!!

Restrainedrabbit Sun 27-Sep-09 20:40:48

The only time DD has mentioned vaginas in public was when exiting the GPs waiting room after having a smear, she said in a loud, clear voice 'why did that doctor put her hand up your 'gina Mummy?' grin blush

Restrainedrabbit Sun 27-Sep-09 20:42:35

We do use willy, bum etc as well likewise we used tummy/stomach and head/noggin' interchangeably but she still knows the proper name.

JamesAndTheGiantBanana Sun 27-Sep-09 20:44:44

duellingfanjo, perhaps graphic was the wrong word, but I just don't see why a three year old has to go round talking about their body using technical terms when (most of) the rest of us don't. I have never heard anyone in real life ever refer to any of their bits using words like labia and vulva. Only on mumsnet. wink

Restrainedrabbit Sun 27-Sep-09 20:46:51

I say 'fanny' as an adult but you see I think that is too 'adult' for a 3yr old - IMHO. We didn't use fanny til we were much older.

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