The P Word
As you know, our wee clan has been on vacation for the past six days. We stayed in a beautiful cabin (owned by a friend of mine) on a scenic lake situated in a national forest. The cabin does not have a bathtub, just a shower stall. The door is constructed of that textured glass (or whatever it's made of) where you can't see through it as clearly as you can through a window, but you can determine the gender, race, and general proportions of anyone who may be taking a shower in said stall (if they left the bathroom door open, that is). On Wednesday night, the three of us enjoyed a fire in the firepit (out in the yard) and made s'mores. The kid announced that she was bored, so I told her I'd help her take a shower and then set her up with a DVD. I escorted her to the shower, turned on and tested the water, drizzled some shampoo in her hair, and then went into the other room to close the windows. We were expecting a cold snap that night. As I set about getting the popcorn and DVD ready for my little taskmaster, I heard her singing the Sesame Street theme song. Sunny day, sweepin' the clouds away . . .
I smiled. So sweet! So innocent! Then I heard something a little different - she was talking to herself and I thought I caught the word "penis." No, that can't be right. I listened more closely. Maybe she was saying "peanut." We'd set out some peanuts for the squirrels and chipmunks earlier that day, but the blue jays kept snagging all of them. I stood outside the bathroom door and heard this:
"No, that's not a penis. Are penises that big? I'm a girl - I don't have a penis." I poked my head around the corner and silently watched her through the glass shower door. She had rolled her Sleeping Beauty washcloth (so sweet! so innocent!) into a cylindrical shape and stuck it between her legs while singing some made-up ditty about penises. She swayed and watched as her newly acquired appendage flopped to and fro. Oh my.
She spotted me and stopped singing. I opened the shower door. "Hey, were you singing about penises?" I smiled as I said it.
"No, I . . . " I could tell she was trying to make up a fib.
"It's okay if you want to sing about penises," I said. (Is it? Hell if I know! This one isn't in any parenting book I've seen.) I gave her a hug to reassure her.
I combed her wet hair and then handed her some popcorn and left her to watch "Beauty and the Beast" for the millionth time. I then poked my head outside the cabin, where P was still stoking the fire in the pit. "Hey, your kid is singing about wieners in here," I said. He pretended not to hear.