July 18, 2014

Say what?! Take Two

"Mommy, I don't like the smell of your vagina," my five year-old daughter declared as I sat on the toilet. For emphasis, she scrunched up her nose and covered it with her hand.


I gave up trying to lock the door long ago; she simply pounds on it and screams. We have at least reached a place where she will usually knock and ask for permission before entering. This was not one of those times.

I was tempted to retort with, "Well that's what you get for barging in on me!"

Instead, I decided it was time for a, "teachable moment." Because, after all, she has a vagina too.

"A vagina can have a lot of different smells," I told her. "The scent can be strong or it can be subtle."

Years from now, I'm sure a statement of that nature will send her running for the door. At this age however, she just stood there, intrigued. Waiting for more. So, I continued.

"A woman's vagina can smell different ways based on where she is in her menstrual cycle, for example," I continued. "When her body is ready to make a baby, it might smell one way. When that time has passed and she is having her period, it will smell differently. I am having my period right now, so that is probably the scent you noticed."

I decided against going into the details of the perimenopause "fun" I am currently experiencing. No need to scar the poor child for life. She hasn't even received her ticket for this wild ride yet.

"You're having your period?" (Yes, my five year old knows about periods. We started that conversation quite some time ago...)


"So you're bleeding down there?"

"Uh huh."

She was still standing there, looking at me expectantly. Good grief, wasn't that enough information for one bathroom visit? I was certainly ready to be done with the conversation. Then, thankfully, she remembered why she had burst in on me in the first place:

"Mommy, I need you to help me find Martin."

"I put him in one of the toy bins in the living room. Why don't you go look for him? If you can't find him, when I am finished I will come help you."


With visions of future public restroom visits and an awareness of her penchant for saying whatever comes to her mind whenever it does (which is what got us into this in the first place), I ended the conversation with, "It's good that we can talk about these things, and you can ask me any questions you like. But talking about vaginas is something we should do at home, OK?"

"Because vaginas are private."

"Yes, they are. They are not something to be ashamed of. And it's perfectly normal and natural to be curious about them. But people tend to prefer not to discuss them in public."

"OK, Mommy!"

And with that, she bounded out of the room. Leaving the bathroom door open, of course.

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