A: Teach her the triumphant "Vagina Song!"

The problem arises when three-year-old Jessi begins bath time-grabbing William's six-year-old member. Presumably fearing both antisocial tendencies and a Flowers in the Attic dynamic, Mom is alarmed. Writes Katherine Ozment in Salon,

But knowing William didn't really mind his sister's incursions, I had to come up with a reason for him to stop making himself so readily accessible. I crafted the half-baked explanation that he should discourage her from touching him, or she might start grabbing the penises of all the boys in her preschool class and then she wouldn't have any friends.


While this succeeds in forestalling the grabbing issue - although I'm really surprised it didn't just result in a flurry of 'Whys,' which I'd sort of like to hear the answer to - it prompts a wicked case of penis envy, as the eminently-grabbable appendage begins to loom as forbidden fruit. So mom decided to let the three-year-old in on a secret.

"You, Jessie Joan, have a vagina."

At that she smiled wide and proud, as if shocked by her good fortune, though I don't think she had any idea what I was talking about. But it didn't seem to matter.

The next moment, Jessie walked over to William, put her hands on her hips and, swaying back and forth, sang to the tune of nana-nana-boo-boo: "I have a vagina! I have a vagina!"


While it seems late to learn the term - or isn't "vagina" among every little girl's first words? - this is one of the most heartening distillations ever committed to paper or screen. We applaud this little girl for grasping early the essential pride in her femininity we'd like to see in every baby, girl and woman. May she never lose it! After she, you know, realizes what it means.

Mommy, What's A Vagina? [Salon]