3 year old DS very curious about male AND female anatomy - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 04-29-2012, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My 3 year old DS has always been a very curious little guy.... wanting to know how everything works, including our bodies!  When he was 2, he learned that boys have a penis and girls do not.  But now he wants to know what girls do have.  He asked my mom last week where pee comes out for her, and she explained that she has a little hole where pee comes out.  Now he asks me all the time to see my pee hole.  I'm certainly not going to show him my private parts, but how do I explain these things to him?  I haven't talked about girls having a vagina yet, not sure if that is giving him too much info... but that conversation will probably have to come up soon because he has asked how the new baby will come out of my tummy (so far, I've just changed subjects quickly because I don't know how to answer!).

 

He sees me naked when in the shower and he sees me using the bathroom because he is a child who does not like to ever be in a different room than me.  But I'm starting to wonder if I should soon be careful about not being naked around him as he's getting older now.  I grew up in a very modest family and never would see my parents or sister naked, so I don't really know how to handle these things now that I'm a mom!

 

Maybe a good anatamy book for young children would help?  I would appreciate advice on this - thanks!


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#2 of 13 Old 04-29-2012, 07:13 AM
 
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"Who Has What?" I think I remember that correctly..... by the same authors who wrote "It's So Amazing!" and "It's Not the Stork".  These are all excellent books for different age groups.  The one I mentioned, and hopefully got the title right, is for preschoolers.


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#3 of 13 Old 04-29-2012, 07:55 AM
 
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I feel for you mama. My DD has the same questions but for some reason I don't feel weird being naked around her, or telling her about her own body, because she is a girl too. Yesterday, she and I were showering together, and she said something like, "When I'm a mommy, I'm going to have hair on my vagina too!" (I know it is technically a vulva, but I was aiming for the most commonly used word so everyone is likely to understand her if she talks about her vagina). It was hilarious! She has also seen her Dad pee but he does try to do it when she isn't looking. She definitely knows boys and girls have different anatomy though. She also checks animals to see if they are male or female.

 

Is there any way your DH can explain these things to him, if he's more comfortable? It is important to remember that kids have ZERO associations with nudity and shame or perversion, and in my opinion it is better to keep them as innocent of that as possible. I do think you should talk to him about privacy though. When DD was first able to, we started having her wash her private areas herself in the bath and wipe herself after peeing (she is potty trained, but still needs help with poop wipes). And we explained those are special body parts only she can touch. We also have been slowly starting to close the door when one of us has to go to the bathroom. Privacy is a new thing to her and I don't think kids really get it for a while, since their entire experinece of life is shared. But it is important to start to understand as they interact with other kids and adults more.

 

As far as the baby coming out of your tummy, I would totally show him a birth video! The earlier kids know about childbirth the better, in my view. That doesn't mean you have to let him be at your birth or whatever. Show him something educational like a Bradley birth video. My DD has seen a ton, mostly to prepare her for the noises I'll be making in labor (she freaks out if I am hurt or upset). We are doing a hospital birth so she likely won't be at the actual birth of her brother, but I have no intention of concealing childbirth from her. Especially since she might be giving birth one day!

 

Hope that helps mama! Being a parent is so weird sometimes!


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#4 of 13 Old 04-29-2012, 07:57 AM
 
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I second the book that SweetSilver suggested.  I have very curious boys also, now ages 3 & 5, and I also grew up in a modest family.  It took me a little while to be comfortable and figure out what boundaries worked for our family (I have instituted privacy when I am going to the bathroom :)  More because I need an minute alone than anything, but also to get the idea across that it's fine to ask for privacy themselves when they need it.  Everyone in the family gets that same respect.  Information, especially when kids are asking questions, will not harm them.  Keep it simple and matter of fact, show them some basic pictures, like the ones in the books above and that will most likely satisfy the curiosity.

 

   I am also pregnant, so I now how that sparks questions. My kids know what a vagina and uterus are, and have seen some very short, basic birth videos.   It's very normal for them to be curious, and if you don't answer the questions, they will keep trying to find it out and perhaps get answers from a less appropriate source than you.  You have the chance to give them a very healthy view of the human body and basic reproduction, it's such a gift!

 

 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Its-Not-Stork-Families-Friends/dp/0763633313/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1335711101&sr=8-3

 

 

 

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#5 of 13 Old 04-29-2012, 10:31 AM
 
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I think the best advice I can give you is to not be weird about it. If you can say penis, then you can say vagina.

 

DD started getting curious about reproductive anatomy when I was teaching her all the names of her body parts. We used to do this in the bath: "What's this?" "Hand!" "Okay, wash your hands then!" "What's this?" "Feet!" "How many feet do you have?" "Two!" "Okay, wash your two feet!" And so on and so on. One day, she lifts her feet up out of the water and pats herself on her vulva and says "What's this mama?" After that she started asking who had a vulva and who didn't. "Does daddy have a vulva? Does Uncle So-and-So have a vulva?" So I answered matter of fact "Nope, they have a penis." This started a myriad of questions. "What's a penis? Is it in their pants? Do they have pee come out of it? Is it near their butt?" So we looked up some anatomy pictures online so she could get some questions answered right away. Then I got her some books, and some other fun learning things. I took these questions just like I did her questions about stars, animals, flowers etc. I answered as many of them as I could, looked up some more of the answers online, and started getting her some learning materials about the subject.

 

Learning materials for anatomy:

Girl Puzzle - http://www.amazon.com/Hape-Beleduc-Your-Body-Wooden/dp/B000ELYJFC/ref=sr_1_1?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1335718850&sr=1-1

Boy Puzzle - http://www.amazon.com/Beleduc-Your-Body-5-Layer-Puzzle/dp/B000ELWHUQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1335718850&sr=1-2

Encyclopedia of the Human Body - http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Human-Body-Begin-Discover/dp/1445407485/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335719707&sr=1-7

 

After I became pregnant, (a few months before she turned 4) I repeated the same process. I answered as many questions as I could, looked up others online, and got her some learning materials. The only book I really felt I needed is this one below:

 

The Pregnant Body Book - http://www.amazon.com/The-Pregnant-Body-Book-Publishing/dp/0756675596/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335718751&sr=8-1

 

Other than that, we've been watching a lot of videos on youtube about conception, pregnancy, and birth. (She really thinks it's cool when the sperm meets the egg.) Like a PP, I also recommend a lot of birth videos. DD will come and ask me to watch the mommies having babies periodically. I'm planning on a water birth at home with her present, so I try to find videos that fit that mold, but also will show her other ones. She knows the "format" now, and will do an almost sportscaster like commentary of what's happening or going to happen. "The mommy is making noises! We're going to see the hair soon! Here's the baby! Awww! Where's the daddy?" "He's holding the camera." "Oh, here comes the big sister! Look at that mommy and the family! Awww! Let's watch another one!"


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#6 of 13 Old 04-29-2012, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, thanks for all the great information!  Yes, I think I feel a little more uncomfortable because he's a boy and has different anatomy than me!  But he's very innocent about it all of course, and I definitely need to be too.  I ordered two books today, one of them he may be too young for (I guess it talks about how a baby is made, etc.) but will hold on to it until when I feel he's ready.  The other one I ordered was one of the books suggested here- Who Has What - which I know he is more than ready for.  Unfortunately, DH is even more uncomfortable talking to him about all this stuff, so it's mostly up to me.  I'm just trying to figure things out as I go along! smile.gif


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#7 of 13 Old 04-30-2012, 07:09 PM
 
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I have a boy who is curious by nature as well. I however came from a family where my mom was very open and still is and my dad was very private and even embarrassed by his body. I am like my mom (my sister is like my dad was) I am a very open person and hardly ever shut the door to go pee (I do to have a BM but often DS or DH will come in if they have something to tell me and if I am in the middle of wiping I will ask them to give me some privacy) I also get changed in front of DS or DH everyday as we still share a bedroom and I often get dressed in the living room or walk around in a sate of half dress. DS  who is now 4 is not uncomfortable at all with my nudity nor is he overly curious about it currently. He will often ask for some privacy when getting undressed/going to the bathroom and I always oblige. Also if he ever asked me to not be naked in front of him or he seemed uncomfortable I would stop. We also do shower together as we don't have a tub and he likes to shower with either me or DH.

 

We have always used proper terminology for body parts since infancy. He knows what a penis is, a foreskin, an anus, a urethra, testicles, a vulva, a vagina, a uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes etc. We have had the book "It's not the Stork" since he was about 3 and he has just shown a major interest in it lately since I have been pregnant. He now gets that "one sperm plus one egg makes a baby" he also understands how most babies are born and we have also talked about cesarean sections as that is how he was born and it will be how this baby is born as well. Oh and he also knows about menstruation and has since he was about 2 or so since he was always in the bathroom with me and he was very interested in my Diva cup and the "red stuff" inside so I told him it was menstrual blood which did lead to some interesting conversations in the public bathroom at Ikea "Mama is that menstrual blood in your Diva cup?" so we also talked about privacy at the moment :) Another funny story is he had the stacking cups and the smallest one was a small red curved cup and when DH was giving him a bath once he said "Dada dis is my Diva cup" 

 

It is incredible at how much they can understand and I allow him to guide me.


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#8 of 13 Old 05-01-2012, 10:27 PM
 
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We somehow ended up calling both male and female genitalia "parts" - it was "underparts", a phrase DH coined that I thought was cute, but then we shortened it. So DD knows about "girl parts" and "boy parts", and that they're different - she sees DH and DS naked on a fairly regular basis - but she doesn't know the terms yet. I should probably get on to telling her that; I've just hesitated because she is, ah, vocal and I could foresee embarrassing moments.

 

She knows a fair bit about babies in terms of gestation - that they come out of the parts or that sometimes a doctor has to cut them out of the mummy's tummy; that there's a cord that has to be cut; and stuff like that. She's watched a bunch of birth videos on YouTube and was totally unfazed. Actually, she came up behind me while I was watching one and didn't notice her, and said in a pleased way "That baby came out of the lady's parts! Awwww, he's so cute!". It was neat. :p

 

I'm hedging a bit on the conception thing though. I'm not really sure how to approach it, especially as she will undoubtedly say "Did you and Daddy...?" and probably find the idea so intriguing that she will want to tell Gran and her aunties all about it. :p She's been thinking about it, though - a few times recently she's said "How did the baby get into your tummy?". The first time I wimped out and said "God put it there", which satisfied her; the second time I said the same thing, and she paused and said "Did you see God's hands?" The third time (she's a persistent little tyke) she wanted to know if God cut my tummy open to put the baby in, and I said "No, though the parts, just like he came out" and hastily changed the subject. Yeah, I kinda suck at this. :p


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#9 of 13 Old 05-01-2012, 10:53 PM
 
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BTW, the girl parts anyone might glimpse while bathing or changing are the vulva or labia. Please don't call everything vagina.. that's not accurate and refers to the inside part alone.
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#10 of 13 Old 05-02-2012, 09:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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butterfly_mommy-   It's so helpful to hear about others' experiences with this, especially those with sons around the same age.  I never even thought about telling DS all the terms of boy and girl parts.... I guess it's just because I was raised so differently (I didn't even know the names of all the girl parts myself until I was a young adult and looked them up!).  I know some of my relatives are going to flip if he makes a comment about a vulva or vagina, but oh well.  I'm anxious to get those books in the mail and go over them with him... he is excited as well- "I'm going to get a book to learn about private parts!" as he says.  It sure seems like it would be much easier to go over things now at his innocent curious age of 3 then waiting until he's in school when he will likely feel more embarrassed about the conversation.

 

smokering-  It was so weird reading your post because it was like I wrote it, except for I have a DS instead of DD.  I also told DS after he asked how the baby got in my tummy that God gave the baby to us.  :)  He hasn't asked again though.  I was just very unprepared at that time on how to answer him.  And I completely understand on the whole fear of being embarrassed in public because of how vocal they are!  I have to take DS with me to my midwife appointments, and he is with me while I have to give a urine sample.  My last one, he says very loudly, "I saw the pee come out of your private parts!"  I'm pretty sure the nurse heard. :)  Pretty soon he'll be announcing things using all the correct terms.... oh boy!


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#11 of 13 Old 05-03-2012, 08:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Smokering View Post

 I should probably get on to telling her that; I've just hesitated because she is, ah, vocal and I could foresee embarrassing moments.

 

I'm hedging a bit on the conception thing though. I'm not really sure how to approach it, especially as she will undoubtedly say "Did you and Daddy...?" and probably find the idea so intriguing that she will want to tell Gran and her aunties all about it. :p She's been thinking about it, though - a few times recently she's said "How did the baby get into your tummy?". The first time I wimped out and said "God put it there", which satisfied her; the second time I said the same thing, and she paused and said "Did you see God's hands?" The third time (she's a persistent little tyke) she wanted to know if God cut my tummy open to put the baby in, and I said "No, though the parts, just like he came out" and hastily changed the subject. Yeah, I kinda suck at this. :p

"mama!!!" Look at these huge papa-testicles on this pig!"

 

Shouted in the middle of the grocery store by my then 4yo daughter.  She also has pointed out the penises on her animal toys to her grandmother.  Yes, quite embarrassing for me.

 

For those reluctant to reluctant to dive into sex and conception, remember that you've had those eggs in your ovaries since before you were born.  The eggs are in there.  This is where I began my explanation.  The baby doesn't "get in there", it grows in there mostly from what existed there to begin with.  Mostly.  orngtongue.gif  (This explanation is best for the really little ones.  I wouldn't expect it to be enough for the ages my girls are at now.)   Later--not much later, but later--come the questions of how the egg turns into the baby.  Then comes the talk of sperm.  The later--sometimes later, not always--comes the question of how the sperm gets in there.  

 

I know this might make some of the more confident mamas groan, these little baby steps of explanation, but as a reluctant speaker (regarding sex), I have found it useful without being actually evasive and false.  If I had more confidence from the beginning, I might have done a better job of explaining all that needed to be explained.  But I had to work up to it.  A lot of us do.  

 

It's hard for some of us to get the words out.  You might find it easier to start by using the words "womb" and "birth canal" when speaking of gestation and birth to get some better vocabulary, and then move on to the anatomical words that are more appropriate for every day.  Start with "uterus".  That one's easier.   Once you can say that, start saying "vagina".  You can still use "parts" for day-in-day-out conversations, but it's good to get comfortable with the vocabulary.  Reading the book "Who Has What" aloud is a good start.  I'm being pedantic; I'm sorry.

 

Recently my 7yo has been asking me if she has to have a baby.  Of course, not, I say, if you don't want to.  She knows this stuff now, but there's still a lot of mental connections that still need to be made.  If I don't want to revisit the mama-and-daddy sex question, I fall back on what she knows best.  "Will the eggs Buttercup lays become chicks?"  "No."  "Why?"  "Because we don't have a rooster."  "Right."  I wait for the next question, but she seems to be satisfied.  I've already talked to her about this, and I still don't want to revisit it unless she asks me too.  

 

Once, during an episode of "Prehistoric Beasts", the australopithicus lie down to mate, and the image gets blurred.  "What happened!"  Followed by my explanation that humans like sex and mating to be private, and these are too close to people to be comfortable showing it.  

 

Talking about sex and privates seems like an intrusion on that privacy to some of us.  I say that so that we don't feel bad about feeling reluctant to talk.  You are not a prude just because it is an effort to get the words out!  Kids can also be taught that this is why we don't shout out anatomical words in the stores, or in front of grandma.  Not that it helped us much......... orngtongue.gif


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#12 of 13 Old 05-08-2012, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the input, SweetSilver.  I got the book, Who Has What, in the mail yesterday and I read it to DS for the first time.  I hadn't explained anything about female anatomy to him yet, so he was very fascinated with those pages. :)  My very modest mom babsits almost everyday for us, so I will be warning her of any possible comments or questions DS comes up with now. :)  I think most of my family members think we are telling him "too much info" about body parts, but he's going to learn about them sometime, and I'd rather tell him myself than wait until he hears about it from other boys or girls in school.


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#13 of 13 Old 05-21-2012, 01:10 AM
 
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I am trying really hard to find this board book that my mother gave me in the late 80's early 90's that with each turn of a page you would see both the boy and girl side by side as a different age so that as a child (I was about 8 I think) you could visually see a fairly representative comparison of how boys and girls mature differently (body changes like hair, brooding hips or shoulders etc). I feel like most of the books out there now are either highly puritanical or only cover one gender but I want my kids to have accurate information about both male and female anatomy. At this point the only options I have are adult anatomy books which are inappropriate for my youngest child. I am not comfortable being naked around my son or daughter (at any age) but I do want to be able to explain to them everything regardless of my own preferences for privacy. Anyone remember this book, possible titles?  It has not been mentioned in the thread thus far. 

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