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Bits & pieces & what do you call them?

 Of course one of the delights of parenting is that moment when you realise that finally you are going to have to face up and talk about their um, you know, well, bits.

It’s all very well being an adult and having worried about the correct term for these bits of your anatomy but what may work for a grown up in the context of marital relationships or a visit to the doctor juts doesn’t seem to work when faced with an inquisitive toddler.

So what do you do?

In our case we have managed to neatly side step the issue with the catch all ‘bits’ as in ‘don’t play with your bits whilst I’m trying to change your nappy’.  The trouble is that I think we may be coming to an end of this and well, at some point they are going to have to be able to have a word for it all.

It’s also complicated by the fact that whilst we are a majority female house and they are used to naked women, they are still a little bewildered by why Daddy (and their cousins after a visit north to see them) have something else.  The trouble with explaining that it is a willie is that you do rather leave the door open for a ‘but what do I have?’ conversation.

I have thought about other words to use but they do seem to have problems.  The anatomically correct would be my preference and are all very well and good but doesn’t that mean you have to differentiate between please don’t play with your clitoris and stop tweaking your sister’s labia?  And then there are the cutsy twee terms that I really am not sure that I can face using repeatedly for the rest of my life

I probably should ask local friends what the term mostly in use is around here and go with that, twee threshold permitting.  It wouldn’t do to send her off to big school unable to understand what is being said.

But then there’s a part of me that just hopes I can continue to ignore it and carry on with our catch all. 

What do you think?  What do you use?  Am I doomed a lifetime of some twee term that will make me want to poke myself in the eyes with a fork every time I use it? 

And why is there not a generic word like a willie for a girl’s bits?  This is so not fair.

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30 comments to Bits & pieces & what do you call them?

  • We use Yoni with my girls, which is the sanskrit word, and I think literally means all sorts of lovely things like ‘sacred space’, ‘source’ etc.

    This is a bit of a hippy departure for me, and is something of a compromise because, while my head wants to be anatomically correct, somehow I just can’t bring myself to do it, partly because it feels cold and clinical and partly because I struggle with the “don’t rub your clitoris on the sofa when grandad is here”, “don’t put wax crayons in your vagina” specificity that you identify!

    Like you, I can’t bear the twee alternatives, but Yoni doesn’t feel too bad overall. Another nice advantage is that it’s easy to say, and sounds broadly equivalent to their brother’s willie (which became a cock at school last week, much to my horror.)

    Our nanny insists on using ‘cuckoo’, which makes me snigger every time – as if a bird is going to pop out on a spring on the hour …

    • It’s exactly that there are various different bits and if I’m going to be anatomically correct I feel you should be fully correct. I do tend towards the hippie but do worry that is rude in sanskrit – are we sure it isn’t?

      And cuckoo????

  • The Mad House

    I use the real names, the boys have a penis or a willie and I have a vuvla or vagina. I think it is better this way http://www.muminthemadhouse.com/2011/08/15/when-good-words-turn-bad/, although some times I still call them bits. I say it is not appropriate to play with your bits in public, it is like going to the toilet, something you do in private!

  • I do use a ‘twee’ name, I’m afraid. I figure ‘willie’ is a sort of nickname for penis so why can’t girls bits have one too. So for us it is ‘willie’ and ‘minkie’.

    Mind you, I grew up thinking that I had a ‘bum’ at the back and ‘bottom’ at the front…!!

  • God my mother called it my tuppence! I always thought I was carrying cash down there!

    We go for Gina – clearly as in Vagina, it is socially acceptable and not far from the truth!

    if anyone suggests flower or mee-mee ignore them!

  • Goodynuffmum

    I’ve put lots of thought into this too. Rejected twee things and have settled on privates, though will in due course (she’s currently a baby) use the proper word for the proper bits eg vagina is specific rather than a word for the whole area.

  • Well, I speak German with the kids and thus bypass the issue. It’s pretty straight forward in German and not a problem at all. My older (daughter) insists she’s got a willie though which I find quite entertaining.

  • Pictorial Mum

    I’ve debated this too and at the moment it’s her ‘lady bits’ but guess that maybe can’t go on forever. I like the ‘gina’ idea in preference to the full term but then what happens when thu meet a ‘gina’?!
    For some unknown reason I was brought up calling it my ‘toby’ (apparently my mum had been too so just passed it on). As a young girl and even into my teens this led to much hilarity any time we passed a Toby carvery… And don’t get me tarted on when I met a b

  • My daughter’s started saying girl willy. I haven’t corrected her yet.

  • We recently had the conversation about vagina and penis, and although we were very matter of fact about it they were the ones that sniggered and are now calling my son’s willy a peanut! I then say they mustn’t touch anyone’s bottom but their own, and only in private. That seems to suffice for now. You can’t ignore it at school though because everyone gives different levels of info to their kids. My 4 year old son now has a friend who will openly claim that babies come from boys willies and get put into girls tummies – that’s rather more info than I have even shared with my 7 year old. Poor kids must get so confused!

    • That seems like FAR too much detail for a 4 year old

      Will remember that about it only being in private – did have a conversation about them not touching ‘bits’ and it then getting into a conversation about whether it was ok to tickle each others bits because they already did that in the bath. I think my husband might have died about that point…!

  • Karen

    My 2 as a result of what I suppose is best described as being communally parented (grandparents/aunties/uncles all help with childcare!) seem to have about 10 different terms for their ‘bits’ and ‘boys bits’. I was bought up always knowing the anatomical names but felt more comfortable with nicknames – I clearly remember using vagina in some context at school and getting horrified looks! My two seem to have settled on minny and willy though they intersperse it with other terms, I tend to use Gina myself. I’ll never forget finding out a friend referred to hers as her “Muttley grumble”….god knows how she came up with that as a reference!!!

    • Muttley grumble????!!!!! The mind boggles

      Quite like minny – sounds a bit like willy and at least isn’t too cutsy. Our nanny has now asked what we are using cue me muttering about not having yet settled on something. Its only been 3 and a half years

  • My stepdaughter says mini, but if I’m honest I find it a bit twee and I’m not comfortable with it. We quite like the idea of yoni – at least it’s specific in one language! Gina is quite a good idea too although the idea of confusion with someone else’s name is a worrying thought. Minkie is quite similar to the Japanese word (Minku?) – sounds cute but I’m assured it is considered very rude…

  • Liz

    We’ve gone with ‘giny for vagina, she couldn’t pronounce it when she was little and the name has stuck. Knowing my daughter, as soon as a word seems babyish she’ll change it to the proper word, and I guess that won’t be long. For boys we’ve gone with willy/penis. I remember a friend of mine still calling it a ‘Minnie’ when she needed to go for smears in her late 20’s LOL!

  • My daughter is 8 now. We started with ‘front bottom’. I did explain all the technical terms to her using a mirror when she asked a little while ago, but she seems to be calling it her winkie now, and so if she is comfortable with that then so am I.

    Mine doesn’t have a name at all and never did, although I remember one time when my daughter was very small she saw me getting out of the bath and said “Mum, you have a hairy nappy!”

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