I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
March 7, 2011
>Last week, six-year-old Punky and a friend were sitting in the backseat of our SUV, examining the latest hot commodity among first grade girls: a Barbie Fairy Secret doll from McDonalds’ current Happy Meals.
“I don’t like her,” I heard her friend announce.
“Why not?” Punky asked, mystified.
“Because she’s not modest.”
“What does modest mean?”
“It means she’s showing too much skin,” her friend said. “She needs to cover up her body.”
“Oh,” Punky said. I glanced at them in the rearview mirror and saw Punky looking down at her doll thoughtfully. She sighed. “I guess you can never go to Mickle Donald’s again, then,” she said sadly. After a pause, though, Punky brightened and put a comforting hand on her friend’s shoulder.
“Don’t worry,” she told her. “I’ll tell ya when they stop selling them.” Her friend giggled.
As they continued talking, I smiled to myself. That was a classic Punky conversation.
And it was about to get even more interesting.
“They’re not called bug bites!” her friend scoffed as I pulled into our driveway. I grimaced. I was soooo not prepared to have this conversation right now.
Bug bites, you see, is what Punky has always called breasts. And while I realize I’m wildly out of fashion as far as current parenting wisdom on the subject goes, I’ve never bothered to correct her. For one thing, the term ‘bug bites’ is so hilarious, I couldn’t bear to make her stop using it. For another, I decided not to use proper terminology about certain body parts until my kids are old enough to understand why we can’t shout those words out in public. Teaching my kids proper terminology at a young age would inevitably mean adding at least a vague sense of shame and secrecy to the notion of private parts… and the longer we could reasonably go without that happening, the better.
And so at this point in her young life, Punky is well-versed in good touch/bad touch and she knows which body parts are meant to remain hidden– but she has yet to ask any questions about where babies come from or why boys’ parts are different from girls. She’s totally innocent, and while I realize the day is coming fairly quickly when some ‘splainin’ will be called for, that day hasn’t yet happened…. and I am glad of it.
“Yes they are called bug bites!” Punky shouted.
“Ask your mom!” her friend retorted.
Apparently, though, that day will be coming a little sooner than I had expected.
I opened the back door to let the two girls out of our SUV and Punky gave me a questioning look. “Well, Mommy?” she asked.
“Well…. There is another name for bug bites,” I said cautiously.
“What is it?” Punky demanded.
I looked quickly at Punky’s friend. Oh Lord. I had no idea what words her mother was using with her, and whether she’d be okay if I used them in front of her daughter.
“I’m going to whisper it to you,” I told her.
I leaned in and whispered into Punky’s ear. “NIBBLES?!” she shouted.
“No! Shhhhh!” I said. I whispered the word into her ear again and she nodded.
“Do you have any questions?” I asked her. “Nope,” she said. Satisfied with our impromptu girl talk session, I helped both girls down from the running board and they walked to the door ahead of me.
“She does have nibbles, though,” Punky said obstinately, holding out her doll in front of her friend. “You just can’t see her nibbles because of her top.”
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