Crown jewels or Mary -- how do you find the right words?
Was I wrong to shy away from correct anatomical terminology with my daughters?
"My Mary hurts Mummy, I need a wee," complained the little girl in a supermarket queue and I didn't know where to look.
Mary, Seriously? I'd never heard anything like it. I shared news of this somewhat surprising epithet with my friend Kim who told me: "But that's what we call our dishwasher."
It was all too bizarre. My friend Carol interjected: "My boys call theirs, the crown jewels." While Helen, ever the voice of reason declared: "In our house, for my girls, it's the front bottom."
Phew. Now we were on safer ground. When my daughters were younger, we had all sorts of names to be uttered at bath time or when, like the little girl in the supermarket, they were in need of a wee. Most popular were foo-foo, foof or tuppence. Looking back, they sound really childish of course -- but as far as I'm concerned, that's okay - they were small children after all.
When Kelly Rose Bradford wrote about this burning parenting issue for Parentdish, she included more examples of cutesy names for boys' and girls' body parts. Pink wink, fairy, piggle, and winkle among them.
I know this fondness for pet names for private parts riles some parents, but I've not encountered any in real life to upset the apple cart. As a mum I was happy to keep my daughters in a comfortable bubble of make-believe and euphemism when it came to their anatomy. Using real names seemed somehow too clinical, too medical, too blunt for their little girls' world. By the age of six to nine, big questions arise as to whether you should adopt a more grown up approach. Sadly, some of us, rightly or wrongly don't manage that for many years.
And considering the name many of my close women relatives were christened with, I'm just glad my girls never called it their Mary.
More reading - if you dare
Keris says: If your child is very curious about their body then there are lots of good books around - Chewy, Gooey, Rumble, Plop! is a great one for younger children or try Hair in Funny Places by Babette Cole.