Alice Column

Don't Be a Po-po. Teach Your Kids the Proper Names of Their Junk.

Noonie. Pee-pee. Dingle. Cha-cha. These aren't stripper names. They're the baby talk that many parents like to teach their kids instead of teaching them the words "penis" and "vagina." I asked a mom why she was calling her kid's parts weird things and she said that she was uncomfortable with hearing her daughter say the word "vagina."

I'm not against you calling your kid's parts by weird names. That's the best part of being a parent: You're in charge of a little life, and you have the power to steer it wherever you want to. You decide to dress your kid up like a leprechaun every day and send him on a seek-and-find for a double rainbow, fine. You wanna teach your kiddo that board games are only fun if you primal scream the entire time, I say YAHTZEE. You decide to steer your kid in the direction of "ta-ta" equals "vulva," that's your deal.

But I will say that there's nothing creepier than hearing a father say "noonie." And the way he says it, with that stinkface you do when you accidentally chug expired milk, you know it hurts his soul. "Did you remember to wipe your [hard swallow] ... noonie ... [stink-milk stinkface] ... sweetheart?"

So, here's my request: If you're scared to call your kids' parts the names that the medical profession has given them, if it's too much to hear Junior say "penis," then please consider these alternatives:

Option 1: Name the parts something that's not baby talk. Instead of a vagina, call it her sandwich. Or her tuna. Or Fran. Oh, that would be ridiculous? Great! Consider option 2.

Option 2: Give every part of his body a weird name. Why single out his penis when you have all those other opportunities? The song's no longer "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," it's "Flerf, Blekter, Herm and Dergs." Just make up a whole new awesome word for every single body part, and always correct them if they try to use the medical term for it. Too much work? Fine.

Option 3: Mime it! For "penis," pretend you're holding a can of Coca-Cola in front of you with one hand on top of the other, then shake. For "vagina," put your hands in front of your face and then part imaginary curtains.

Or you could just call it a penis. Or a vagina.

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Alice Laussade writes about food, kids, music, and anything else she finds to be completely ridiculous. She created and hosts the Dallas event, Meat Fight, which is a barbecue competition and fundraiser that benefits the National MS Society. Last year, the event raised $100,000 for people living with MS, and 750 people could be seen shoving sausage links into their faces. And one time, she won a James Beard Award for Humor in Writing. That was pretty cool.
Contact: Alice Laussade