Monday, March 24, 2014

Teaching the Names of Private Parts

I first saw the book Amazing You! Getting Smart About Your Private Parts in a Montessori catalog a couple years ago and thought about getting the book for Henry's 2nd birthday. After reading the first couple chapters of From Diapers to Dating, I knew that we wanted to use real language to describe body parts around Henry. It feels like it helps children feel less shameful about their bodies, and I even read an article that made the argument that teaching children the real name for body parts is one component of helping to fight against child abuse. 

Fast forward a year later and we came across the book at the library. We added it to our basket (we check out 10 books at a time so it's always easy to remember how many we have). 

Overall, I think the book is great. It goes over the names of body parts (e.g., penis, scrotum, testicles, vagina, labia, uterus, ovaries), but the illustrations are the perfect combination of realistic and cartoonish. It includes illustrations of how a naked body looks in infancy, childhood, and adulthood. It also talks about sperm from a man joining together with an egg from the woman to make a baby.

The thing I don't like about the book is that it's hetero-normative. It only talks about a man and a woman loving each other and deciding to make a baby and doesn't mention that families can look different. 

Overall, I'm really happy that we are reading the book, and I wish we would have gotten it when he turned two. I find myself being a little embarrassed when I read the book. I wish that weren't the case, but it is. I know my discomfort comes from his level of consciousness, which is why I wish I would have started it when he was a little less aware. The more I read it, the more comfortable I get. 

I'm actually going to purchase it so we can return to it over the years. It also inspired me to purchase It's So Amazing: A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families. I'd like to start reaching it to Henry now before he gets older and I get more uncomfortable. 

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Isa said...

Also check out What Makes a Baby. It's non-gendered, and explains how eggs and sperm come together to make babies. We're going to need more than one to explain everything, I'm sure, but it's my 2 year-old's current favorite!

DancingGrapes said...

I'm the Kate in that article! I've been reading your blog forever and it's so cool to see that link!
Awesome that you're thinking about this and working to implement healthy relationships with your kids early!

Sara E. Cotner said...

Wow! That is so cool, Kate! I feel like I "know" a famous person! It sounds like amazing work you're doing.

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