Scooters, Cooters and Teachable Moments: Sasha’s 2nd Birthday

December 9th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  6 Comments

Picture 23You know what’s worse than being home sick from school? Being home sick on your birthday. Unless, of course, you’re not really all that sick, so you get to enjoy your birthday presents.

Which in Sasha’s case were/was a scooter. I don’t know if this is just a New York thing, but the three-wheeled Mini-Kickboard is THE toy for 2-year-olds these days. I see them everywhere, and so does Sasha, who’s always trying to borrow other kids’ scooters at various parks.

Anyway, she was quite happy to receive it and started learning how to glide around the neighborhood until it got too cold and we had to come home. The only slightly odd thing is that to Sasha, it’s not a scooter. It’s “Sasha skateboard,” I guess in contrast to Daddy’s skateboard, which hangs on a ladder in the hallway and doesn’t get used very often these days. At first, I thought of correcting her—”It’s not a skateboard, it’s a scooter”—but I didn’t bother. If she thinks it’s a skateboard, fine. One day, perhaps, she’ll move up to an actual skateboard, and then she won’t have to change her vocabulary. Great! But still, I wondered if that was the right choice to make.

This came up again that night, as I was giving her a bath. She was all clean, and was just playing in the tub, when she suddenly looked down at her nether regions with a thoughtfulness and concentration she’d never shown before.

“This is pigu,” she finally said, pointing at her bits and using the Chinese word for “butt.”

“Well,” I said, “this is not pigu.” I pointed at her butt. “This is pigu.”

“This is pigu,” she said. Then she pointed at her front. “What’s this?”

“This is…” I paused for what felt like minutes but was barely a second. What to say? I hate the babytalk word “gina,” but I also knew if I said “vagina,” she’d miss at least one of the three syllables. Also, there’s just something simply awkward for this father in saying “vagina” to his daughter. (Why?) Other, darker possibilities suggested themselves to me, and I had a nice internal laugh imagining Sasha repeating them to her mother, her classmates, her teacher. Finally, I knew what I was going to say and so finished my sentence: “This is cooter.”

“This is cooter,” she repeated, pointing.

I sighed. That just didn’t sound right either, but what could I do now? The word was lodged in her mind now, and changing it to something else would only confuse her. Maybe it was better to just let her keep saying pigu.

No, you know what? I like cooter. It’s neither clinical nor crude, and frankly, it’s fun to say. And according to Jon Stewart, it may not mean what you think it means:

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  1. dadwagon says:

    December 9th, 2010at 9:31 am(#)

    Sick! –Theodore.

  2. Matt says:

    December 9th, 2010at 10:11 am(#)

    Yes, she was sick, with a mild ear infection and, I guess, a cold. She’s on antibiotics now and will surely get better quickly.

    Oh, wait, that wasn’t what you meant? You were referring to the “sick” tricks she’ll soon be performing on her scooter? Well, yes, thank you, I think she will turn out to be a talented trickster.

  3. Daddy Files says:

    December 9th, 2010at 5:33 pm(#)

    Cooter is fine & frankly hilarious. But make no mistake, it is most assuredly crude.

    My son asked what girls have if they don’t have penises, and I told him “vagina.” Clinical? Yes. But at least its the correct terminology. And since the word vagina has some sort of mysterious ability to make people uncomfortable, there’s the added bonus of watching people squirm when a little kid yells VAGINA in a crowded room.

  4. stormsweeper says:

    December 9th, 2010at 6:24 pm(#)

    But think how awesome it will be when Sasha starts asking other women if they have a cooter, too.

  5. Matt says:

    December 9th, 2010at 9:17 pm(#)

    @Storm: I think that’s what was in the back of my mind as I said it.

  6. Jenn says:

    December 10th, 2010at 7:33 pm(#)

    My daughter asked me what her “nether-regions” were while potty training. I asked her what she thought it was and she replied with “I think it’s my butt”. I told her that her butt was in the back. To which she responded with “then this is my front butt”. I corrected her telling her that it was actually her labia. But I figure it’s a bit different when you’re a dad trying to explain it to your daughter.

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