E's recent intestinal blowout reminded me of a funny story from my teaching days, and reinforced my belief that kids need to learn early on what they're made of. In general, when referring to the business under the underpants, I call the whole thing "bits". Sometimes I refer to "front bits" and "back bits". But that's not to say that E doesn't know the proper names, it's just that I think that "bits" sounds better than vagina. I mean, doesn't anything sound better than vagina? In any case, while she is familiar with the ins and outs of penises, vaginas and anuses, I realized that the issue of the "urethra" has never come up. So I laid it out for her:
Urethra (aka Front Bit) - where the pee comes out
Vagina (aka Middle Bit) - where the baby comes out **NOTHING ELSE HAPPENS THERE**
Anus (aka Back Bit) - where the poop comes out
Pretty simple, right? Not for Spencer*. Spencer was a student in the Physiology class I used to teach. He happens to be a young man who is gay and, by all accounts, has always known it. Which is to say that he had never had occasion to discover first hand (sorry) the intimate details of the female anatomy.
One day we were going over the male and female reproductive systems. There were some fairly...specific...diagrams involved. All of a sudden from the back row I hear:
That's right. Spencer looked as though someone had just told him that Jello is made from the crushed bones of farm animals. (Oh, you didn't know that either? Sorry.) After quite a bit of howling, we managed to convince him that there were, in fact, 3 holes, and that it was probably a good idea to separate the baby delivery route from the pee delivery route. In the process I was reminded that kids should learn about this stuff as soon as they can wrap their heads around it. Much less of a shock later on.
*Not his real name. I mean, come on. This stuff is embarrassing.