Best way to roast the broomstick. Must try. Five Stars.

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.

  • Well it IS perfect size for tv viewing….

  • Jensa

    You do have to be careful about this decision. My step daughter is 10 now, but up until last summer she refused to call her parts anything other than ‘fufu’. I don’t recall what term she had for boy parts. Her mom calls it a fufu and that was what she was used to. She knew the correct terminology, but was literally too afraid to use it. I’d hate for my daughter to grow up being afraid to call her vagina a vagina.

  • A word to the wise regarding bunky demonstrations: don’t let her watch you insert feminine products into your bunky. One day you will find her in pain because she has inserted a crayon or other long thin object into her bunky “just like mommy”. Trust me on this one.

  • That is so freaking cute. Dooce, she really is adorable.

  • Hilarious! Laughing my ass off at the part about Leta wanting to take the potty to the grocery store.

    Jude insisted on taking our new flyswatter out to dinner with us last night. Just a few odd stares with that one.

    One the subject of private parts: He calls his John Thomas “Winkle”. It’s so sweet, but I haven’t figured out how he came up with that one.

  • Hehehe. Another picture of Leta that I dragged my boyfriend in to see. I think he’s getting concerned. And hurrah! A new blog. I am enjoying Bucky Four Eyes.


  • Ryan

    Snuffleupages? Isn’t that a Sesame Street character? Poor Leta, she’s going to be so confused.

    Look Leta! Daddy’s on TV!”

  • nohomama

    My only recommendation is to periodically remember to actually use the word vagina when referring to either your or Leta’s bunky. We’re very British around here and refer genetalia and heinies as bits [and pieces] and bums. Early on I was very conscientious about using bits and vagina interchangably and then I kind of fell off that wagon. Recently I thought it was time for a review and when I asked my oldest, “What else are your bits called?” she muttered “Ummmmmm…” while turning her eyes toward the sky as though I was asking her four and a half year old brain to perform higher math. Clearly I haven’t kept up with the vagina speak.

    I just have to add though that I think vagina is a stupid word. Labia? Clitoris? Eyeroll. They all suck (and don’t even get me started on “penis” and “testicles). My two year old agrees because when I asked her recently if she could say “vagina” while she was enthusiastically grabbing herself and screaming “Bits! Bits! BITS!!!” during a diaper change, she firmly replied, “NO!” See? Stupid.

  • OH.MY.GOD.

    Bucky is going to be SOOO happy!

    which is…like wrong, but funny at the same time.

    Should we start sending Leta some Homies?

  • Laurie

    Leta is definitely on to something with the taking the potty to the grocery store.
    When my kids were little I kept one in the minivan/suv for when we were out and about. Great for parks or long trips. Probably pouring the pee out in ditches etc. was not the greatest, but when toddlers got to pee they got to pee.
    Just visited Blurbomat and am still amused you have another croc wearer (besides Leta) in your home.

  • I don’t know Leta, but she’s getting so big!!!

    Our word for private parts (of either sex) when we were growing up was “peeps”. You can imagine the problems this causes when Easter rolls around every year and those little marshmallow treats are everywhere. Or when a rap song comes out that says “I got all my peeps with me”. I have a good chuckle. Oh yeah, and we called boobs “noodles”. I laughed so hard that I was in tears when they introduced “fun noodles” for the pool.

  • CKHilliker2

    What? Bucky is “outspoken”? I don’t believe it! 🙂 Ahh, yes, potty training… good times. Don’t worry, you’ll eventually cave and resort to bribing her with M&Ms. It’s what all good moms do.

  • I hate to say it and burst the bubble, but I think that Homer Simpson invented the LaZee Boy toilet. Leta might have a patent suit against her if she’s not given the proper permission. Other than that, my ass is on the floor now ’cause I laughed it off.

  • Nat W.

    Damn, I wish *I* had a toilet in front of the TV…

    And Bunky is so cute. I have no idea what I called it as a child…I’ll have to ask my mom what she taught my sister and I.

  • I just blogged about this same thing a week ago! Unfortunately, mine was just about the fact that when your kids get older, you’ll hear the words vagina and penis way more than you ever bargained for! I wish I would ahve taught them a nickname for their parts, now I’m left with a six year old and three year old who manage to slip the words vagina or penis into our conversations on a daily basis. I’m sure my two year old will be joining them soon. Keep up the good work, and DEFINITELY stick with the nicknames for body parts.

  • This reminds me of “High Anxiety” with Mel Brooks. Ya’ll should check it out. He refers to the vagina as a “woo-woo”. Classic movie.

  • One more…my college roommate called it a “pasquacho”.

  • My cousin had a cat named Bunky.



  • Oh my Goodness!! I have just laughed my head off!!! I have taught my son “penis” for his own private part…. but I haven’t been able to teach him to say “vagina” yet! I tell him the difference is that girls don’t have a penis. (This is terribly hypocritical of me considering I am a huge advocate of female equality and a dyke at that!-hahaha!!!) Vagina just sounds…so official!!!
    Well, when I was little I called it a “poodle”-It can get worse. Bunky is kinda cute!

  • Bucky? Rilly? (giggle) Brilliant.

  • A friend recently shared that she was telling her 3-year-old daughter the technical term for all her parts one day. When friend told daughter the word vagina, the little girl said “Well, that’s a beautiful word.”

  • nohomama

    Are you sure you don’t want Leta to call it a “taco box”?

  • Pete Eisenmann

    Oh My God! I laughed so hard I busted my stiches.

    My wifes side of the family called the female parts the “hoo-hoo”. No idea on the male terminology. I grew up using the terms “knacky” and “sackey” (female and male respectively).

  • hahaha! This post was endlessly entertaining!
    LOVE the idea of bunky and snuffleupagus! And hey, at least she enjoys her potty! Yay Leta!! Another milestone, almost reached! =)

  • jenlovely

    good luck to you. emma took forever to potty train. the only method that got her to go was to either let her run around bare butt (or with underwear) and insist she sits on the potty every half hour, and bribe her with incentives such as toys. it took about two weeks and thank god it’s over. she still has some accidents but it’s more about making it to the toilet in time then not wanting to use it.

    as for names for parts, we haven’t really conquered that yet. and for that i’m thankful.

  • sugapie

    In our house…momma has a “flower”, daddy has a “stinger”! How fun was that on the second day of pre-school when the teacher took me aside and said what is your son refering to when he says STINGER! NICE!

    A word of note about the potty you have for Leta…I had the same one and found that the hole wasn’t quite big enough when my little one had to drop a deuce and it kinda ended up all over the seat instead of inside. Kinda gross. GOOD LUCK!

  • When I once heard a woman ask her son if he needed to make some “magic yellow water”, I vowed there and then that I would never be such an idiot. Its always been vulva and penis at our house. End of story.

  • Haha, love it! My parents have a great picture of my sister when she was little actually using her potty and “reading” a book, outside in the yard.

  • olivia

    Oh my. “Bunky” is how my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, brother and I lovingly refer to the little garage next to our cottage that was renovated into a guest house… hee.

  • Go with the euphemisms, after all she’s growing up in a place where people “use the bathroom” (unless, of course, you all really shit in the bath).

  • Bunky is perfect. It reminds me of Bunker; which is really what a Bunky is anyway.

    I am really impressed! I have been reading a lot of these comments and they all seem nice. Was thinking you were opening of a real can of worms with this subject matter and that fact that even though you have taught Leta the biological terms you aren’t using them.

    Here’s to no spankings for you, Heather!

  • Speaking of parts … “Supreme Chancellor Palpatine”? Someone’s geek parts are showing.

  • when we were teaching our daughter how to use the potty, NOTHING seemed to work. until she got brand new “big girl” panties in the mail from granny. she wanted to wear them immediately and we told her that she couldn’t until she went in the potty. that’s all it took. she started using the toilet immediately and has never looked back.

  • when i was growing up in poland, they used to sit all of us in daycare on our little plastic potties…for hours, so we’d get the hang of it (and the daycare ladies could have their tea and doughnuts). my parents have pictures of that, just to make me feel super special.

  • Trouble in Mind

    Hilarious post and comments…

    When I toilet trained my son I actually did bring the portable ‘potty’ along. I kept it in the back of my truck and I’d have him pee in it before we went into a restaurant or shopping mall or anywhere that offered the possibility of having him sit on a public toilet – ewww. (His standing up & peeing lesson came later). Anywhoo, after he pee’d I’d throw in a maxi-pad to absord the liquid, toss the pad, use wipes to clean out the ‘potty’, then throw the ‘potty’ back in the truck. It really helped reinforce using the toilet & made avoiding smelly public restrooms very easy. Bonus? – it was a great way to get rid of the mondo size box of maxipads left over after childbirth.

    Of course poop made for a different cleaning challenge, but mostly this method worked really well for us – he was toilet trained in about two weeks.

  • kelly

    It’s always bothered me, and I may be the only one, how we say “penis” appropriately, but not vagina.

    When people tell children to call a girl’s parts “vagina” do they know that really only refers to the opening and vaginal canal itself? A girl doesn’t urinate with her vagina, and the whole area is called a “vulva”, not a “vagina”.

    It’s always bothered me when people say they teach their children the clinical terms “penis” and “vagina”, when that’s not even accurate!

  • Sean Duffie

    I remember the day in 2nd grade when one of my friends pulled me aside and told me what the name was for girl ‘parts’

    My first reaction was “CHINA? But that’s a country!”

    His only response was “Yeah, and it’s that big too!”

  • I think it’s hilarious, a potty chair in the living room! Every house should have one! ha!

  • What, no Hoochie Coochie?

  • Lora

    My son did the exact same thing when I was potty training him. The little potty was a rather permanent fixture in our family room for longer than I care to admit… and we taught our son the proper names for everything as well but he couldn’t say vagina to save his little life. It took me a couple days to figure out what “mountain China” was – I see another commenter had a similar experience, too funny.

  • Huh. What are the chances. I also mentioned “Snuffleupagus” today on my blog, but in a completely different, um, non-penile fashion!

  • cristina

    there is a band named bunky–there you go: picture your vagina playing a musical instrument instead of making a pot roast

    also, love the self portrait on flickr with the fabulous filigree earrings. think it should be on your “about me” page here at

  • Re: Matlock and the long sit: She is her father’s daughter after all.

  • I have been waiting to share embarrassing potty stories about my husband and his family told to me by my mother in law… and hooray today is the day!!!

    My husband has a sister who is almost a year younger than him. His sister wanted to do EVERYTHING he did… including using the big potty. So my husband being the caring brother he is taught her to stand up to pee… well obviously this didn’t quite work out how either of them expected since his sister had a bunky. So my husband taught her to stand on top of the potty. Well the pee would still run down her legs and on to the floor…so his solution…. have her stand on the seat with one foot hanging over the inside of the tolet… so when the pee ran down her leg it would run IN the toliet… my mother in law told me it took her months to teach my sister in law to pee sitting down.

    Then there was the time my mother in law found out that my husband’s Grandma taught my husband how to pee on a tree… she was standing in line at the bank and noticed that her shoes felt wet… she looked over and there was her son peeing on the fake tree.

    I promised my dear husband I wouldn’t tell a single soul those stories… I kept my promise… I didn’t tell one person… I told the whole internet.

  • Anu

    hehehehe 🙂 laughed my ass of when I saw the picture. Add a tiny little fridge and a cup holder to that potty and she’ll be all set to watch football with her dad.

  • jenniwithanI

    In our house, boys had a “peanut” and our girl parts were referred to as “down there.” Like this mysterious, dark, faraway place! No wonder why I’m so screwed up. :^)

    I’m a social worker for Early Headstart, and I do home visits with families that have children 0-3. I don’t have children, yet, but my experiences have caused me to dread potty-training (or “toilet-learning” as we are instructed to call it!).

  • Dooooce! This is not fair – I’m sick and now there’s snot everywhere. Lovely.

    When I was young, this mofo of a kid called me Bucky the Wonder Horse due to the fact that I looked like an upside-down rake. The teeth! Thank God for braces. I really should blog with pictures. It isn’t pretty.

    This post has to be scrapbooked. Fo shizzle. This one is a gem.

  • Laurie

    My mom is korean, and my dad speaks polish fluently, so my siblings and I were trained using the korean word for us girls and the polish word for the guys. to this day my sisters and I still giggle when we hear “joanie love chachi” I can’t spell it but the polish word for penis is kun-dinghy. Hee hee.

    This also means we learned to swear in 4 different languages (my dad speaks german as well), and more importantly order beer in 4 different languages.

  • Maaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttlooooooooooooock!

  • aprilbob6

    I hope you save that picture for use in her senior yearbook… and ps, I love the new hair do 🙂

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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