Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Birds and the B's

There will be no image with this post, just the words, thank you.

Zoey has a bagina. You might think this is some hybrid of a bagel and a vagina, but no, it is just what she calls her hoo hoo and she is quite insistent that it NOT be called a 'v'agina. Bagina. Bagina in the bath! Bagina in the baaath! BaginaaaaaaAAAAAH! Zoey very much loves her bagina and sings songs to it while bathing. I am very happy for her, that she has a good relationship with her bagina. I hope they have a lifelong relationship worthy of soap and song.
I cannot remember the last time I sang to my vagina, if ever. Or bagina. Hoo hoo, vagine, VJ, kitten, kiwi, there are so many names for it, most of which make me cringe. At what age does your bagina lose the friendly 'b,' beginning instead with a sharp 'v'? At what age does it lose its name altogether, no longer worthy of a word but becomes one raised eyebrow, a smirk? A joke?
I saw the Vagina Monologues way back when. I have heard the proud reclamation of cunt. And yet still I hesitate to even write that word. C U Next Tuesday, pursed lips and disapproving exhale, my hands tightly gripping my pocketbook. (Ah, yes--there's another term for it: pocketbook.) No matter the political stance of Eve Ensler the word still sounds gutteral and mean. Vaginas are to be discussed in clinical terms with a doctor, half-laughing with your friends, with a wry turn of phrase by the media, in the bedroom, dark, the secret life of sex.
How do I make certain my daughter retains her bagina? That it never turns into a, a, a something else, something that no longer belongs to her? That it always merits the lifting of her sweet voice into song?

Maybe by not blogging about it, for one? Oh, and Mom? You are not allowed to comment on this post. I am afraid of the stories you might tell. The rest of you: please. Let's discuss.

28 comments:

hej said...

Well, your FATHER knows .... that you have nothing like that .... that .... that .... down there. And neither does Zoey.

So write about something else.

jozette said...

Oh, bagina. That's a great word.

I am actually a huge fan of the word 'vagina'. I use it a lot. I like to use it when I'm trying to do something and I mess up. Vagina! Or, I often offer it as a storage device. "Where can I keep my wallet while we're hiking?" You can put it in my vagina! (Disclaimer: I wouldn't ever let anyone store something in my vagina. Does that go without saying?) I also love the word va jay jay.

As for Zoey - let's hope she holds on to her bagina for as long as possible.

I *Heart* You said...

we call it nuni. as in noo-knee. my niece even calls diaper cream nuni medicine. it's oh so adorable just as i am sure zoey's music ode to her nuni was.

C U Next Tuesday is not liberating to me at all. it is like the meanest word ever. seriously, it like the silver bullet of bad names to call people.

judy, sorry you have a gag order on this one. feel free to meander over to my blog! :)

SGM said...

I am experiencing the exact same feelings! My 3 yr old loves her bagina too, and it's such an innocent little thing.

One of my favorite movie scenes of all time is from The 40 yr old Virgin--the speed dating scene where he meets the lesbian named Gina, pronounced with a long "i".

jozette said...

Also, Susannah - thanks for adding me to your blogroll!!!! I just noticed today - and you made my whole day...and maybe even tomorrow too.

Petunia Face said...

Dad--if I gave mom the gag order I thought it was assumed that meant you, too. Next thing you know Andy will comment on the bagina post. Oy.

Jozette--glad to hear you are not in the habit of storing things in your bagina. And even gladder to add you to my blog roll (even if gladder is not a word).

I Heart You--Zoey loves diaper cream, too! And she calls it either butt medicine or bagina medicine! Maybe it's really great? Maybe we should all try a little dab of Desitin?

SGM--Love the 40 Year Old Virgin. I think that's what my dad thinks I am, even though I am a mother and only 35.

muranogirl said...

Bagina is the CUTEST thing ever!
I took a sweet old Filipino lady's advice with my daughter and we referred to her vagina as her "flower". Well years later when my daughter was 4, my friend and I were talking and used the word vagina. Well wouldn't you know it my daughter looked up at me and said, "Who's Vagina Mom?"
Calling it was it is is best so three cheers for Zoey!

Jill said...

My grandmother (may she rest in peace) used to call it a Twot. In public too... and often QUITE loudly.

My daughters call everything down south a tushie... though I always correct them and call it a vagina (with a capital v).

Now the only problem is:

1) I can't stop my daughters from now loudly discussing their vagina problems in public... "hey mom, my vagina itches"... and

2) I can't keep my little ones hands off of hers... she's elbow deep scratching... or "something".

Leslie (Reclaiming Miss Havisham) said...

Since I'm making my rounds as professor of biology (almost tried to make a pun there...blogology? blogogy?) on the blogs (check i suwannee for my previous lecture) I'll pick up here.

I wasn't freaked out by vaginas until I was told to be freaked out. Even so I think once those hormones switch on at puberty, the behavior of shame kicks in. Something you never really thought about before starts growing hair, changes size and shape, and then one day youre in the bathtub and you touch it and it's not the same as it was before. It feels good but at the same time you would die if anyone caught you doing it.

And in my personal (humble) opinion the feminist effort to reclaim the word and the organ in an effort to make women feel empowered and comfortable with themselves is just anti-biology. In art, in psychology, and in the science of life, the mirroring of the male and female genitalia is an unyielding archetype.

The penis protrudes outwards, the vagina is inverted. Men hunt. Women nest. Men are more verbally forceful. Women are more caring and nurturing. Men are driven by the need to project from themselves. Women want to absorb and take everything in. Men destroy and dominate. Women create and protect. When your body tells you that you have more to lose, you protect and hide your body and your posessions more. Have you ever seen a single man's bedroom? They don't OWN anything. Why do you think they fly by their seat of their pants more? Take more risks?

I just think we're doing ourselves a disservice by not acknowledging what our bodies have been screaming at us for thousands and thousands of years. In order to be truly empowered we need to rise above the biology of our bodies to the intellectual standard we've set for ourselves. Trying to reclaim or embody our own womanhood will only lead to us falling victims to our biological fates. We need to get our brains out of our vaginas and concentrate on our goals independently of gender.

It will always be a man's world but YOU as a person, a human, an entity ungoverned by gender has limitless potential for advancement

hej said...

It's naughty.

Judy said...

My lips are sealed....it's in the vault....I am scotch-taping my fingers together to render them useless...buuut...my eyes are wide open (no pun or Cruise/Kidman reference intended).Even if I am dying to.............

That Girl Designs said...

This is a scene from Sex & The City! I can see it now, a discussion between Charlotte, Carrie and Samantha. I swear, you need to be writing for TV. Cable TV!

Claire said...

Thank you - I needed a word to use when referring to my 21-month-old daughter's ... you know... We were calling it a "tee-tee" because that's what it's used for, but it seemed a little strange, like calling a tongue a "licker" or an eye a "looker." Bagina it is. How fun!

Anonymous said...

omg Claire, you do realize that you do not urinate from your vagina don't you? Your vagina is connected to your uterus not your bladder. just fyi.

Jen said...

oh susannah, that post made me laugh so hard. i was trying to read it out loud to my husband (who wasn't quite as amused for some reason) and i could hardly get the words out. that is so adorable. i love zoey.

Jules said...

I have no idea. I'm Catholic.

Megan said...

My favorite story involves a friend. In her family the vagina was referred to as a "fern". My friend's name is Jenny. Her sister tortured her by calling her Jennifern-fern. That story cracked me up, big time.

karey m. said...

i love that zoey is singing songs about her bagina! and i like using the accurate words too...

uncle sugar walked by the girlies and me a month or two ago, naked from the shower.

it was a moment, but we all stared at his {what we call it} pennis. {i like using the accurate words...just with my own pronunciation! like zoey!}

when he was gone, lillie shuddered a little and said, "so glad our stuff is all up on the inside."

JackeeG4glamorous said...

When I was younger, it was "down there" until the age of 18.
My 5 year old granddaught calls it her "peesha" (not sure how you spell that correctly) Which is what her Italian other Grandma told her it was in Italian. ?

I'm still on edge with the C word. Vagina is overall better, more clinical and still has a secretive edge. Like I'm smiling right now.
My daughter would CRACK if I commented on this topic on her blog. So, Susannah, I'm afraid you're stuck with me!

v8_grrl said...

So, bless her little heart...When I was little my mom, yes my mom, called it "pussy". so gross!!!!! I cannot even stand to hear the word. She would say, as she gently handed you and expensive washcloth from Sax 5th Ave, " Honey, wash your Pussy" What? Even at a young age I wondered if this was the correct term. Maybe she was liberating me at a young age? That is what I am choosing to believe.

Olive has a "VAGGGGiiiiina" with every syllable pronounced beyond clearly. She is fond of it also, but much more fond of her Boobies...let me clarify....She believes that the fat roll, the one we call armpit fat, is boobie. She announces to anyone who will listen that she has Mom boobies. (i want you to know I do NOT have armpit boobs)

Bless their sweet little private parts. Let's all take a minute to sing to our Baginas...I'm doing it right now
;)

Abby said...

This totally cracks me up. I do not have children (yet) and can not immagine how I will react when the bagina and peeeenis talk and curious wonder comes about....It will be hard to keep a straight face.
Somewhat off topic but my closest friend in college was dubbed "penis" as her nickname since it was discovered she had never really seen one...Poor girl handled it all very well and it became a true term of endearment and to this day she is still "Peen" to me. I can honestly say I don't say the word penis without thinking of her! That will be interesting time if I am blessed with a boy!
Thank you for the laughs and truth in all your posts. I'm a huge fan!

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

I despise the C-word.

But wanna know what's pretty funny? Me and my friends have always called it a "petunia". Are you honored?

Anonymous said...

My little neighbor, 4 years old, found an small onion with the whiskers still on it. She put it on the front of her shorts and showed us her penis.

Misplaced Country Girl said...

This post and the comments are the funniest thing I've read in a long time. I have nothing to add here as I'm not a mother, but you all have given me a lot to think about when that day comes for me. I thank you all because I had no idea I had all of this to look forward to. I'm scared now and am going to go get under my bed.

Erin said...

I heard this story last week. One of the mom's in my playgroup said that her little girl started sticking her hands down inside the front of her diaper, and they were like, "What the heck? Why does she keep doing this?" Finally, one night the little girl stuck her hands down her diaper as usual, looked at her parents and said, "Vagina, niccce and warm." My friend's husband was like, "Uh, yeah, that's what I'VE always said!" Too funny.

Claire said...

Strictly for pride and ego purposes, I must post again regarding my earlier comment...

Yes, I do know what a vagina is, but we are discussing the vocabulary of toddlers. As far as they're concerned (and I'm happy to reinforce this misconception for the time being) vaginas are used for peeing. The real anatomy lesson can wait until she's much MUCH older. Or at least beyond diapers.

I really do love this blog. I LAUGH OUT LOUD every time I read it. My husband thinks I'm nuts, but you (and your readers/commenters) are HYSTERICAL! And intelligent. Good luck with the new job!

jen said...

MY mother called it a Gadget. I'm not kidding. So the first time I was in Macy's and could read the wall that said "Kitchen Gadgets" will always be a fond memory for me.

My daughter calls it a susie.

jozette said...

I already commented on this post, but forgot to tell you that my mom referred to the va jay as a tutu. Like the kind a ballerina wears. So, when I took ballet class and had to buy/wear a tutu for my dance recital, I was always mortified.