Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lady parts dilemma

To get straight to the point: Do you have a girl? a daughter I mean? And if so, what do you call her lady parts?

Emma was 2 and 4 months old when I finally attributed a name to her lady parts. Not because it's a taboo for me, but because I had no idea what to call them!

This in itself is telling.

In French (the language we mostly speak to her in) there are loads of sweet names for male genitals (zizi, zigounette, kikette...) but I still have to hear for an equivalent for girls which does not sound vulgar or too anatomical.

So I asked around.

Some people call it a "pipi" as per it's function. But we already call pee-pee, pipi. Except in kindergarden where they call it "looloo" , which I personally find a bit confusing with "lola" (what Emma calls her dummy/pacifier).

Another French speaking Mum calls her daughter's lady parts "zaza" because it seemed like a reasonable female equivalent to "zizi" (she also has a boy). Zaza sounds like an exotic pole dancer from the Cotton Club to me, but at least it's something. And it's easy to pronounce for kids.

In French, some call it a "minou" which is equivalent to "kitty" but we already call the cats that visit our garden that.

In English I haven't the faintest idea what I would use. I have heard of "nelly" which sounds like the complementary name to the very British "willy" for boys and reminds me of the Little House in the Prairie.
I read about a mother calling her lady parts "kiki" when talking to her daughter and I kind of liked that 'cause it a) rhymes with "zizi" b) is easy to say for a child c) works in all languages.

I've also heard of "la patatina" (small potato) which I think is cute - if you speak Italian to your kids - and of "JJ" or "Gina" from "vagina" but I found those too American and God forbid my daughter have a friend called Gina one day! Then there is "Hooha" which sounds like Al Pacino in "Scent of a woman" (not in this particular scene) - much too adult for my 2 year old.

What about the correct anatomical names? Vagina (vagin in French) and penis? What's wrong with them? After all, we do use "les fesses" when washing her bum in the bath... But somehow they sound very adult like in a child's mouth as well as probably too difficult to pronounce for children. Somehow vagina and penis sound more like the sexual organs and I think they will come into the picture soon enough.

So, back to my initial question: if you have a daughter, what do you use? I'd really be curious to know!

For extra reading on the subject:

Annalisa Barbieri's Family problems solved and Acceptable words for female genitals or
Keir Royale's Front bottoms and wee-wees


Janset Acar said...

A few days ago I had exactly the same thoughts...and interestingly I also came up with Turkish they call it Kuku but I don't really like that...Kiki is cute, sounds good and is easy to pronounce =)

Anonymous said...

I heard the name Mumu in German. This has been automatically the name I used when I wash Leyla. I also heard "Lilly Katz - "Lilly the cat". I am not sure, but I think in the US most people use the expression "down there". At least this is what I heard adults use in reference to their genitals.
Interesting topic :)))

beta mum said...

Having gone along with my daughter's mispronunciation of "Dinah" for years, we now seem to be calling it a foo-foo, as that's what the kids at school call it.