Mummy moment #34: Breast is not a dirty word (and neither is penis and vagina)

In conversation with my 6 year-old

M: Mummy I remember when J was small and he was sucking on your…

Me: Sucking on my what luv?

(Pause)

Me: Go on, say it.

M: I don’t want to say it.

Me: It’s not a dirty word dear. You can say it.

M: (whispers) My friend said it’s a dirty word.

Me: No dear. You listen to mummy okay. Breast is just a part of the body like your head, your chest, arms or penis.

M: My what?

Me: Penis. We’ve always called it your PP meaning private part but it’s really a penis.

M: Do you have a penis mummy?

Me: No dear, I have vagina. All girls have vaginas. Well at least back when we were growing up.

M: So how do you weewee?

Me: Don’t you see me sitting down to wee?

M: Yes. You don’t stand.

Me: Exactly. Because I don’t have a penis.

I thought I had had the talk with him but I see I still had quite a bit to cover. I started teaching M about body autonomy when he turned 5. I used this book by Pastor Nomthi Odukoya. It’s really good and simple enough for a 5 year old to read and understand. I highly recommend it.

It’s a good thing I had the talk with him before now so it was easier for us to have this conversation now. I don’t mean to school the parents of the child who told my son that breast is a dirty word but I guess I will have to. Breast is not a dirty word. It’s a body part. Child-molesters use the shame associated with body parts like the breast, penis and vagina to help them hide their wicked acts. We should demystify it for the child so that he/she is comfortable naming it yet they understand the boundary early enough. Don’t touch me there and don’t make me touch you there. If you want specifics, then the child can say exactly what it is.

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