Thursday, May 28, 2009

For the record, this is not what I thought I'd be writing about when I graduated from college.

The other day I met a new mommy at Ivy's art class. She was a nice, well-dressed, well-spoken woman. She seemed to be intelligent and informed about things going on in the news.

We were enjoying our conversation when her daughter came over and said she needed to go to the bathroom. And the mommy got down to her daughter's eye level, looked at her and said, "Okay, sweetie, do you need to go wee-wee or doodie?"

And it was all I could do not to crack up. Wee-wee? Doodie? Seriously? Who on Earth uses such silly terms for bathroom behavior, I thought in a fit of undeserved self-righteous judgment.

Then my daughter came over and said she needed to go poopy and pee pee.


Though I would argue that poopy and pee pee are infinitely more dignified than wee-wee and doodie (ahem), I would lose that argument. Because, truth be told, there is nothing dignified about any of those words.

And yet we use them. My husband and I are grown adults with college educations and decent vocabularies and we say poopy and pee pee on a regular basis. Which, when you think about it, is pretty funny. We also say toot, boobies, and booty-hind (don't ask). Good Lord, we are intelligent folks.

Having realized that day that I, too, engaged in potty baby talk I tried to think of alternatives that would be polite and not too silly. But I came up empty. Maybe that shows a lack of creativity on my part. Or maybe announcing exactly what biological matter is coming out of your body just can't be both polite and intelligent sounding. Either way, it made me wonder what other parents do.

I've heard the arguments for calling private parts by their actual name and not coming up with silly names (though we apparently do that, too) but what is the dominant theory when dealing with bathroom vocabulary? Does anyone actually use "urinate" in place of pee pee with their kids?

So what is it? Poop? Tinkle? #1 and #2? What words do you teach your children to use when dealing with potty matters?

(And in case you're wondering if I'm wondering how I got to the point where I blog about potty words the answer is yes. Yes I am.)


Juli Windsor said...

My brother, Jesse, used to always get made fun of for using the words "go-go" and "tee-tee". Well, I guess more teasing came from his use of the word "panties" for underwear. Make sure Traveler doesn't mistakenly call his undies panties after his sisters :)

Jen said...

OK, you need to watch Elmo's Potty DVD. There's a segment in there, where they interview all of these kids, and they tell us what they call poop. One memorable kid yells out, "I call it a dookie!" Where did that word ever come from? (And I gotta admit that Al and I busted out laughing.) And our daycare says "bumper" instead of "butt," which then led to "front bumper" for, well, I'll let you figure that out ...

Peanut said...

We use poop and pee. Strangest thing was a few months ago, our daughter started calling it "poo" like her babysitter and that REALLY bothered me! Isn't that ridiculous? As for body parts, we use the proper terms mostly, but the boobs are "nummies" which we introduced as a way to talk about breastfeeding in public and it just stuck.
I'm a nurse and depending on the patient, I usually just say poop and pee. Then you know for sure that they know what you're talking about!

Carey said...

We've always used the common "poop" and "pee" as well, along with "toot" and "butt" and "boobies". Our funny term though, came from my OB. During an ultrasound, when I told him I wanted to learn the baby's sex, he wrote on the screen a little arrow pointing to what he labeled "girl part". We've called it that ever since! We also used to crack people up by referring to breast milk as "booby juice".

Tiffany @ Lattes And Life said...

My mom made me call it #1 and #2 when I was little. She has a FIT because we say "pee" and "poop" with our son. She thinks it's so disgusting to say that in public. Hahaha! I say...whatever works with our kids. Potty training is hard enough without stressing over semantics!