One mom was recently alarmed to discover that the "boy" version of a diaper-changing doll she bought for her daughter at Toys R Us came complete with anatomically correct groin.
The Huffington Post reports that a New Jersey mom caused a stir on Facebook when she a photo of a naked baby doll, complete with penis. It appears she bought the "You & Me Mommy Change My Diaper Doll," or something very similar, for her daughter. "When she went to change his diaper, this was the surprise.. Why?? These r little girls that don't need to know the anatomy," she commented.
Over at SheKnows, Monica Beyers uses the incident to argue that you should, in fact, calmly reach your children about bodies, including the fact that different people have different parts and it's really not a big deal:
How on earth is it inappropriate for a child to see a naked baby? What about a baby makes a penis or a vulva dirty or sexual? Because that's what it sounds like when people say that it's wrong for little girls to see it. The truth is, when a child points out the body part that she doesn't have, all a parent is required to do is call it by its name.
If you're buying a doll that literally pisses its diapers, it's silly to expect anything but something like the real equipment. And the real equipment is no occasion for a freakout. (That said, it's hard to imagine a four-year-old girl looking at this doll without thinking WHOA. WHOA. WHAT IS THAT. 2 REAL. Seeing your first penis, even in a wholly informative context, is jarring!)
But the whole story serves as a great illustration of why so many parents flip at the prospect of talking to their kids about sex and gender. Clearly the doll is assumed to be primarily for little girls; there's a girl changing his diaper, right there on the box. There must be a "boy" version and a "girl" version, because the children's toy business is more gendered than a truck-stop strip joint. But there can't actually be a penis on the boy version! That's too far. Even among ourselves, adults are stymied by doll penises. Lord help the very confused little children.
Anyway, the real mystery is this: Why would any child want a doll that wets? Clearly suburbia is to blame; city kids learn practically at birth they'll spend their lives tolerating the sudden reek of urine.