This here bringer of the pooper to the fun party

Age of euphemisms

We’ve been introducing the concept of the toilet to Leta for a while now mostly by letting her follow us right into the bathroom to watch as we go potty. You don’t really think about these things until you’re trying to teach another person, but she has to be introduced to the concept of pulling her pants down, to toilet paper, to wiping and flushing. This is also that monumental turning point in her life when she learns that Mama has a bunky, and Daddy? Well, Daddy has a Snuffleupagus.

We had struggled with what we were going to teach her to call her parts, and before you freak out and call the police because we’re encouraging our child to nickname her vagina, don’t I know that now that I’ve allowed such aberrant behavior she’s going to grow up and nickname the severed limbs in her deep freezer, let me assure you that we’ve gone ahead and taught her the correct anatomical designations as well. It’s not like we’re calling it her Wallace or her Supreme Chancellor Palpatine.

We decided on bunky because it was cute, and there was no possibility of it being confused with any other inanimate object. I mentioned here once that we were considering bunky, and I got a frantic email from one of my readers begging me not to choose bunky, please, don’t do it, Bunky was her mother’s name. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF THAT? And why did she have to tell me because now when I hear it all I can think of is an imaginary silver-haired woman wearing a floral apron and garden clogs, not that her mother was that sort of domestic type, I don’t know, I’ll never know, she could be a ball-breaking attorney who wears Jimmy Choos, Ball-Breaker Bunky, but that image lodged itself into my brain and now whenever I talk to Leta about my bunky I can’t help but envision a vagina preparing a pot roast and then sewing the button back on a festive Christmas sweater.

Often while I’m using the bathroom Leta will stand in front of me with a wad of toilet paper she’s torn off the roll. She rocks back and forth from one leg to the other in impatient anticipation of The Best Part, the wiping bunky part, which is awesome because it means I’m almost done and she is this much closer to Sesame Street. “All done?” she asks, and without waiting for me to give an answer she hands me the wad and says, “Wipe bucky, huh?” This amuses me more than it should because there is a very outspoken reader of this website who goes by the name Bucky Four-Eyes, and the fact that my daughter is invoking her name when referring to a vagina is as perfectly reasonable as if she were mentioning God’s name in a prayer.

To take her toilet lessons a step further we had my mother bring over a training potty on Sunday afternoon. We hoped that if Leta thought it was a present from Grandmommy she would be more fascinated with it, and that she would approach it with as much excitement as she would an interaction with Grandmommy. My mother is going to be aghast that we’re teaching Leta to associate the toilet with the Avon World Sales Leader, and at the same time proud of me for my motivational management technique.

Leta loved her new potty and has wanted to carry it with her everywhere she goes. In fact, when we told her we weren’t going to take the potty with us to the grocery store she was as upset as if I had told her she had one month to live. Yesterday morning she grabbed me by the hand and led me to the bathroom where her potty was sitting next to the bathtub. “Want potty,” she said and tugged on it to indicate that she wanted it relocated. I picked it up and asked her where she wanted it and then followed her into the living room where she pointed to a spot in the middle of the floor. I expected that parenthood would entail a lot of humiliating moments, but never did I once suspect that I would be reduced to the job of Potty Butler.

After I set it down, I walked back into the kitchen to grab my cup of coffee, and when I returned I found her sitting on her potty watching television, lid up. As if it were a La-Z-Boy. This makes sense because her father takes so long to use the bathroom you’d think he was in there watching “Matlock.” She’s catching on.

  • Z

    A friend of mine’s daughter also used the potty as a chair, so much so that when they decided to actively potty-train her, they had to buy another one because she didnt want to go potty in her chair.

  • William is curious about things many of us would rather not know. My guess is that it’s called Snuffleupagus because it’s alleged to be very large but nobody has really atually seen it.

  • It’s great that you’re demystifying the whole potty-training process.

    Or should I say, de-bunking the myths about potty-training?

  • we’ve just finished this part, and i laughed out loud at “Potty Butler.” So true. We call the private parts “bits.” As in, don’t scratch, you’ll hurt your bits. (when it appears she’s digging to China). Or, if you don’t wipe properly, your bits will get a rash and be itchy (see previous). Good luck with the pottying. The freedom you’ll have when it’s all done! The extra $25 you’ll save on costco runs!

  • Tommy from Michigan

    We did the potty train in 24 hours method. Sort of like a Marine corp. drill with gallons of juice and Koolaid and lots of urine. Worked great. Our kids are teens now and the experience has had no obvious negative effects. You teach the child to enjoy being dry.

  • As Bucky’s sister I’m not really sure whether I should be proud or what…

  • ukdave

    I opted to potty train our daughter. On day 1 of the exercise Erin wee’d on the floor 18 times.

    My prayers are with you and your family, and your floorboards and carpet.

  • Ter

    I have not laughed this hard in many moons.

    O.k., so the post before this one was beautiful & moving & made me tingle with joy & love for motherhood & children. . .

    And THIS post cracked me up enough to go back & reread my favorite parts. Bunky parts, Chancellor Palpatine parts & all.

    How awesome is that?

  • I taught my son to use the biological terms for all the parts because that’s how I was raised. There was a newspaper article about a young girl who was molested and the molester was not convicted because she could only say he touched her “smile”.

    I’ve only potty trained a boy… I hear girls are harder though.

  • ritsgirl

    I have a funny story regarding Snuffleupagus’s. My husband’s cousin grew up in a house with 5 girls. One day she walked in on her father in the bathroom after a shower. She saw the unexpected and ran out screaming, “Daddy’s bottom has a nose”!

  • I would like to officially nominate this entry The Post With the Best Run-on Sentence Ever.

    Duly nominated.

    I dread the potty train. Not that I should, as I don’t have kids and may never have kids, but it seems an activity rife with possible consequences. Like chopped off limbs in a future freezer. Though I suppose every parenting activity could conceivably end in such a way. Please excuse me while I go sew my vagina shut.

  • She is too freaking adorable and that is really, truly hilarious.

  • Penis or vagina. That’s what we call it. Because we are boring and unoriginal like that. Clinical, really.

    Is it wrong for me to get quite a bit of amusement reading what everyone else calls theirs?

  • It’s not really that shocking, is it? First it was the car seat… now the potty. Fantastic. She’s just claiming her turf!!

    Awesome post. She really is gorgeous.

  • lixxie

    BWAH! Great post.

    Leta has the right idea, though. My toilet is more comfortable than any damn La-Z-Boy! That must be why I can easily spend upwards of an hour sitting there, reading. Or just thinking. Or twiddling my thumbs. Man, I’m sad.

  • Deb

    Welcome to potty training!

    We call it a Yoni b/c we Refuse to Be Defined by a Man’s Parts. Plus its cute. Our 2 yr old makes it to the potty almost all the time, except when she is pissed at me (pun intended) and then she says in a sing song voice to make sure I understand it was revenge, “mama, i peed your bed or mama I peed your couch.”
    We take a potty with us in our station wagon for emergencies. Plastic bag in the little cup and voila, instant cleanup. Poor Garbage man….
    She still refused to wipe herself though….And always announces LOUDLY that she has to potty and then grabs herself, ala Micheal Jackson.
    You would think by the 4th kid I would have this down, but I HATE Potty training and kind of ignore it and they end up doing it themselves.

  • I can hardly stand how much you make me laugh. Fortunately, I’m pretty tough.

  • At our house, Dada has a tootie, Mama has ladyparts. But Tyler says “way-dee-pahts.”

    My parents taught my brother than he had a “wienus,” a horrible wiener-penis hybrid-word that makes a spectacular insult. I was told that I had a “too-lee,” and the first time I saw the word “tulle” I got very confused indeed.

    I don’t remember the last time I went to the bathroom without Tyler or the dog, or both.

  • I WANT A POTTY IN FRONT OF THE TV, TOO!!!

  • I hope she continues to use it as a seat and not a potty because dumping poop from those things is so smelly and gross. I was glad when my daughter warmed up to the insert on the big potty seat instead 🙂

  • We called my son’s wanker a “pee-pee” (genius, I know) and he’s grown up to be a totally normal 13-year-old. Minus, you know, the arrests. And that pesky target practice from the watch tower and all.

  • Meg

    Honestly, the snuffleupagus thing made me choke on my coffee, which lead to a java spray across my white shirt and jeans, and also to coffee coming out my nose.

    Totally worthwhile.

    And I’m so going to use that instead of Hairy Reasoner from now on…

  • Holly

    I think Bunky sounds better than vagina. My mom called it a hoosie, I always thought that sounded dumb.

  • ryansmom

    Oh my gosh- Heather- you and your readers make me laugh so hard! I am so grateful I found this blog…..

    I am in the process of potty training my 2 1/2 year old son. Well someone told me to put cheerios in the potty for him to aim at. Needless to say,I have utterly confused my son and breakfast has become quite interesting! 😉

  • When the time comes to really motivate her, here are a couple of suggestions:

    My older son (he’s 3) would pee on the potty, but not poo. It scared him.I bought him the Diego rescue centre. Once he went, he saw it wasn’t bad, and has gone on the toilet ever since.

    My friend’s daughter is the same in regards to the no pooping policy. She’s also similar in temperament to Leta 🙂 Whenever she wants her daughter to do something (like poop, or maybe go for a NAP that she’s fighting), she calls “Dora” (me) and when Dora suggests something, she does it gladly.

    I’ve even been known to say “Vamonos!”

    Oh, and we have “pee-pee’s”, and “hoo-hoo’s” in our house 🙂

  • Angela

    It takes a lot just to be able to comment here!

    All I wanted to say really was to not worry too much about the naming of parts.
    When my daughter was three and my son had just turned one she realized they looked different in the bath tub. She came running out to me saying that Jacob had a chubby tail and she didn’t. She was hysterical and shrieking it, echoing throughout the eight story apartment building. We have always taught the correct names of parts so this “chubby tail” was a creation all her own.
    It stuck. We have officially adopted the name because it was so cute at the time and its adorable to hear my youngest (yes, I bred, I have three!) say it.
    If you ever find yourself with a boy, feel free to use it if you want to.
    That is all.

  • I used to do that — watch TV on the crapper as a child. Apparently, I would wait to rush into the bathroom and drag it out during boring parts of the show. There was no way in hell I was going to miss seeing Zoobilee Zoo or those Lee press-on nail commercials because of some stupid bodily function.

  • Talon

    *facepalm*

    Sorry, not on board with naming body parts anything other than their parts.

    I agree that bunky IS cute, and you absoloutly have the right to teach your daughter what you want her to call her parts and boy bits as well (And kudos also for teaching her the proper terms) but meh…

    My problem was not only didn’t I have cute names to call my parts…(Penis is SO much easier than Vagina or vulva) but for some reason vagina was hard for me to say. Not physically, but embarassedly. Luckly for us, our daughter has not that problem.

    Good luck with the potty training. Our very stubborn daughter refused to learn until just before she turned 4. Then again, I didn’t see the point in forcing her. *grins* I let Auntie Mel Mel and Grandma Mary do THAT!!!

  • we have the same potty chair. 😉 and my son manages to take it completely apart usually. Or he does the same thing and drags it around the house to use as a chair or a stepping stone to try and climb things like the tv stand and whatnot. He has shown no interest however in talking, or what it is i do when i go to the bathroom even tho he is usually present whenever i do have to go. 😉

  • I don’t know that it gets better than these “down under” euphemisms. Classic.

    Also, that picture is adorable. : )

  • I taught my kids the proper words for their body parts, and then they went off to school and picked up the words “weenie” and “boobs” anyway.

  • suzettejackson

    What happened to cheeseburger????

  • That was Muffin Man’s favorite spot for potty sitting, also. Same make of potty, too.

  • JC

    that’s awesome. can’t wait for the potty training phase and all the fun that goes with it.

  • dyinginmedschool

    i grew up with all the proper names for things, but my ex-boyfriend named my vagina nana, and it kind of stuck. to me it sounds soft, feminine, like everything you would want in a vagina.
    This blogg and the commenters are cracking me up! i’m in med school so this is a excellent source of procrastination material. Plus, after you’ve stuck your fingers in vaginas and palpated penises for educational purposes, nanas and peppers just sound so much better.

  • Chloe

    Hee! Sugapie said, “drop a deuce”!
    See, I find that funny cause this is dooce.com… you know what, I should probably just shut up now. I’m trying to age my sense of humor from 12-year-old boy. It’s not working.

    I can tell from that picture that Leta will be taller than me by the time she’s 10 years old, and I need to start coming to terms with that now.

    For my imaginary future kids, it will have to be be ‘Supreme Chancellor Palpatine’ and ‘Snuffleupagus’. I love the formality of the first name mixed with that ’70s Puff the Magic Dragon feel of the second. I hope they call a muppet that, someday.

  • Bucky and I have a long standing argument about what exactly constitues a vagina. In lieu of her recent long days journey into muff, I’d say she wins. Even if I was a contortionist I could never really have that sort of wisdom.

    It looks like Leta is well on her way to “making peepee in the potty” as my nieces call it. They get stickers when they do it. All I get are numb legs. Being a grown up sucks.

  • haha…too funny…i don’t remember being potty trained. and we didn’t have nicknames for those ‘parts’. we just didn’t think about them. strange, huh?

  • lks04011968

    Well at least there is no chance of the “beach towel” clogging THAT toilet.

    Good luck potty training Miss Leta.

  • meninaprons

    I feel so boring and lame. We call ours penis and vagina around our two boys. Actually, our oldest one doesn’t consider girls has having parts other than a booty.

    By the way, my 3 year old just looked at the picture of Leta and wondered who it was sitting on his potty, since it’s the exact same one.

  • Melanieflorida

    I noticed that Bucky Four-Eyes actually refers to her bunky in a post as her monkey, so there’s a little trivia.

    Second, ever thought about bribing Leta with a treat after she properly uses the toilet? I’m an expert, you know, since I have no kids. But I’ve heard this from several people (and haven’t read the posts yet, but maybe it’s on there somewhere) and they swear it works with no undue pressure.

    Lastly, what if I told you I knew a guy who went by Snuffleupagus? And from now on when I see him … Eewww.

  • shoefunky

    My children speak french and english. We’ve chosen the french words….kiki for penis and foufounette shortened to foufou for vagina. Fortunately I am the only girl in the house so rarely have to say the word foufou out loud.

  • Karen

    You made my day!

  • The picture is adorable but I can’t help but feel that poor lil Leta is getting the wrong idea about the use of the potty. 😉

  • Deja vu…it’s like the cheeseburger post of about three? years ago.

    Which sadly reminds me of the Veggie Tales song, His Cheeseburger, which takes on a whole new, sick meaning now…

    And woohoo! A shout-out to Bucky! How many hits will your site get today, girl?

  • I’ve always gone with the proper names approach. But that’s because I’m a nerd. Even so, I’ve recently reconsidered this approach as there is just something weird about hearing a 7-yr old use the word “testicles”.

  • I was kinda hopin’ that you’d called it “binky” — only because I use to work with an insane person who decided that she wanted everyone to call her by the name her toddler aged nieces called her. We still get mail for her at the office and it’s been ten years since she finally had the decency to quit. About 5 years ago, the name on the mail was changed to Binky. Who changes the name but not the address? Insane.

    Anyway – our friend’s kid also did the potty as barka lounger — only she’d sit sans pants — not go, but use it as another reason to take off her pants.

  • Robert Hare

    For reasons I’m no longer completely clear on, other than having good intentions, my now-ex and I taught our son and daughter (6 and 4) the proper names: i.e, penis, vagina, heck, even labia.

    Last summer I was wheeling my daughter Bea over to daycare in her wagon.

    “Liam has a penis, right Dad?” says Bea.
    “Yep.”
    “Mommy has a vagina.”
    “Yes again.”
    “Liam has a penis.”
    “That’s right Bea. Liam has a penis. And what do you have?”

    At this point I did not notice that we had entered a small, very echo-ey courtyard just off the main sidewalk. It was about 8 am and the neighbourhood was starting to wake up. Grannies were milling.

    “I have LABIA!!!” she shouts. The words reverberate like she’d just belted it out at the Grand Canyon. A few feet away from me, some poor old gal practically jumps right out of her orthapedic shoes AND has a heart attack.

    “Yep,” I say, “You’ve got labia, Bea. Very good.”

  • Supreme Chancellor Palpatine! hahahhaa!!!

    that photo is too funny!

  • I think this is one of your best posts in awhile. Great writing.