Bad Parent: A Private Matter. Sorry, sexperts. At my house, it's called a "cha-cha." Jeanne Sager defends family fighting, on


My daughter stood up from the potty and reached down. I thought she was scratching. But then I realized she was trying to shake herself off – just like daddy!

I’d been dreading this moment, from the moment in the delivery room when my OB/GYN announced this was one less circumcision he’d have to perform – his way of telling us we had a new baby girl.

It was time to tell Jillian about girls and boys. The job was apparently firmly in my hands – by virtue of our common genitalia. My husband – who’d inadvertently caused all this, I should point out – was conveniently playing the gender card.

So I waded in.

“Honey, you don’t have to shake, you know,” I told her. “Girls just wipe.”

I earned an exasperated two-year-old eye roll.

“I wee’d,” she told me. “Have to get it off me. Daddy does it.”

Indeed he does. And to get the potty training ball rolling, we’d spent hours proving that Mommy and Daddy use the potty. Now that we’ve gotten her good and convinced – and she’s of the mind that she belongs in the bathroom even if the door is closed – we’re paying for it.

At least I am.

I sighed. “Yes, Daddy does it. Daddy’s a boy. You’re a girl like Mommy. You don’t have to shake.”

She shook her head. She stomped. What did I know? I’m the mom. She’s the expert.

“Noooo,” she said. “You’re not a girl. You’re Mommy.”

Talk about kicking an old broad when she’s down. I did my own eye roll and changed the subject. Man, that was a close one.

I’m not ready for this talk. It’s not the sexual connotations that creep me out – I prefer to think of my daughter as an asexual being not unlike her grandparents (who were blessed, by the way, with two miracles of Biblical proportions – me and my brother). It’s putting the words out there.

I don’t say vagina. I don’t even say breasts. Breastfeeding is acceptable because the emphasis is on the latter syllables. It starts out kind of gross and ends kind of nice. Otherwise, they’re cleavicles. Or cleavlage. Or breastesses.

Call me too immature to have given birth. But vaginas give me the willies. And penises make me giggle.

They’re not even sexy words. I can picture the teacher from Ferris Bueller standing at the front of a class saying, “Bueller? Anyone? Bueller?” then turning to the blackboard with his glasses perched on the end of his nose and announcing in that awful, grating voice, “Today we are going to learn about vaginas.”

See, not sexy. And not my kind of language.

Tagged as: