“Look at my boobs,” said E, the other day, lying naked on her bed, rubbing her nipples with both hands like some old pervert. “They’re tiny, not like yours.”
I’ve noticed E watching me as I get dressed in the morning, and seeing how my body is different to hers. She’s especially picked up that my boobs are big. She has learnt the word ‘boobs’ from me – that I know. She asked me the other day as I dressed, “Is that your braf?” “Bra. Yes.” “For your boobs.” “Yes. You can call them breasts.” “Boobs?” “Or boobs.” Sigh.
It’s funny, and I’m glad she finds delight in her body. She’s recently been down with chickenpox and was distressed at the itching, but I think is now pleased as she’s realised her body is dealing with the spots and making them go away. It leaves us with another issue though – I still haven’t decided how to describe her genitals to her.
She mentioned this to me when I was in the shower – there’s no privacy with a three year old – and was talking about my hairy tummy for a while before I realised she wasn’t referring to my tummy. “That’s not my tummy,” I said. And then couldn’t decide what to call the hairy bit so pointed instead at my actual tummy and distracted with talk of tummy buttons. Distracted her for now. I hate any silly words – fou fou, lady garden, the dreadful ‘down there’ – but feel that she’s just too little to bandy the word vagina around. And it’s not strictly accurate either – if we talk about weeing from the front, well that’s not her vag is it? Suggestions please.*
But the best episode came the other day when S was walking with her back from nursery. She had been messing around, and had stopped, bent over and placed her hands on the floor. She started to move her bum back and forth. S, in exasperation, asks, “What are you doing?”
“Daddy, I’m twerking,” she says.
Now that’s body confidence.
*So far my favourite suggestion has been to make up a name, after a girl’s name – “it’s your Betty.”