Of Body Parts and Vocabulary


Vagina. It’s not a bad word. It’s simply part of the female anatomy. Being a girl and all, I thought I was cool with that. Enter my very verbal and curious little girl who’s adding to her vocabulary daily, and suddenly I’m a blushing prude fumbling over my words.

It started with “boobies.” Whenever I’m naked, my three-year-old points and smiles, “I like your boobies.” I don’t know why or when the sudden interest began, but she’s more obsessed with my breasts now than when she was was breastfeeding (she is her father’s daughter, you know). But the term boobies doesn’t bother me. When it’s paired with my Muffin’s little chuckle, I can’t help but laugh.

I suppose I should have known that it was only a matter of time before her anatomical vocabulary would necessarily need to expand, but still, I was caught off guard.

For a while, I kind of avoided questions when she’d point further south and ask, “What’s that, Mommy?”  I would smile and then quickly find some kind of distraction. But one day she was scratching and rubbing away, and I blurted out, “Stop scratching your hoo-ha!” Yep. Hoo-ha. Haven’t the slightest idea where it came from, but that’s what slipped out.  Anyway, the rest of the conversation then went like this:

HER: (pointing) “This my hoo-ha?”

ME: “Um, er, yes honey,  that’s your  hoo-ha”

HER: (now pointing to me) “And you have hoo-ha?

ME: “Uh huh.”

And now it’s kind of stuck. I stepped out of the shower the other day to a smiling (and once again pointing) Muffin. “That’s you hoo-ha!”

“Mommy, my hoo-ha hurts,” she informed me the other day.  (She has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow just to make sure her hoo-ha is okay, btw.)

So there you have it.  Apparently, in this house we’re calling vaginas hoo-has, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.  On one hand, I don’t want to be one of those people who can’t call girly parts by their rightful names; but on the other, the word vagina just seems too—oh, I don’t know, advanced for a toddler to be using. “Boobies,” “tushie,” “butt,” “hiney”—see, they’re all kinda cute words. They fit with a three-year old vocabulary. Vagina? Not so much. So here we are with our hoo-has instead.

Well, I guess it’ll do for now. On the up side, if she yells “Hoo-ha!” in public, people probably won’t know what she’s referring to (unless, of course, she’s courteous enough to provide context). Let’s hope folks just think she’s quoting bad Al Pacino movies.

I can’t wait to find out what the boy parts are. Leaving that one up to Daddy.


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  1. LeeWee says:

    Love that your writing again. It’s part of my morning ritual with my coffee. I like hooha. We called it a flower.


  2. Helene says:

    We called it a CHOONIE…. or CHEWNY… not really sure how it should be spelled, just that it was (who knows WHY) what we called it while Melissa was growing up. It will be VERY interesting to see what she refers to it when Lily asks… and she WILL ask. Melissa was sitting on the floor naked once, right around Charlie’s age. She looked down between her legs and exclaimed, MOMMY, I have a HOLE. So being the cool, calm and oh-so-collected mother I was, I tried to make it look like I wasn’t about to FAINT on the floor and said, “I know honey, all girls have them.” So now picture this, head between her legs, looking back and forth between that “hole” and her mother, she asks, “Do YOU have one?” Now I’m sweating but calmly said, “Sure I do. I’m a girl!” The inevitable next words stay with me to this day, oh maybe twenty FIVE years later???? “SHOW ME.” Oh Lord, I died a little bit right there but show her I did!!!! The end of this story is that when she asked me if GRANDMA had one too I told her, “yes, but NOT to ask to see it because she will NOT show it to you!!!!” Hoo Ha is adorable. And I guess, so is Choonie! Having a 3 or 4 year old spouting the word VAGINA? Not so adorable. Sorry. I had friends who taught their kids the correct anatomical name for everything and there was NOTHING cute about hearing penis and vagina coming out of a mouth that still had a thumb in it on a regular basis!


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