I’m a vulva crusader. I have taken on the quixotic task of making sure my twin girls call their external genitalia “vulvas” in a world where they are “vaginas”. I do this during bathtime, diaper changes. etc. They’ve only repeated the word a couple of times, but it warms my heart that my biology degree is actually getting some use. However, they’re only two. I shouldn’t expect them to be able to discuss their vulvas in the same way I wouldn’t expect them to say, “Father, I hurt my clavicle dismounting the slide.” It’s pee and poop, not urine and feces when it comes to communicating at a level they can understand. I actually don’t know how they came across this nickname (probably in the glee of having something to call their navel), but once while a changing one of their diapers one of the girls pointed at her clitoris and said, “Button.” It was sooo cute, charming, and in a lot of ways accurate, that I nodded my head in agreement. Yes, button, indeed.
My parents never talked about sex with me. They weren’t prudes. I was the one in elementary school that told everyone how they were made, since I had the book How Babies Are Made. I knew all about reproduction. I just didn’t know anything about intercourse. Everything I learned, I found out from other sources.
Now, my worry is about going the opposite direction. My life is full of sex. I have information to share, but I want to make sure I don’t give out too much information for what they’re asking. This is where age appropriateness comes in. I’m happy to tell them the basic biological nuts and bolts“and nuts and nuts“and bolts and bolts“and bolts with nuts“annnd you get the picture. However, I want to make sure I keep it at their level of understanding, and I want to keep my personal sex life boundaries in place. I want to be able to educate them in relation to my own experiences without giving them the personal tales that none of us will be comfortable with. It’ll be a constant work in progress as my girls get older.
For now, I’ll settle with viva la vulva!