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The birds, the bees and peeping bears, oh my!

little boy and little girls

What are little boys made of?
“Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails. That’s what little boys are made of !”

What are little girls made of?
“Sugar and spice and all things nice. That’s what little girls are made of!”


Last week, Sweet Bear told me she saw a little boys wee wee. I asked her if she meant Boy Blue’s. Sweet Bear and Petite Clown were very interested when this strange baby with an even stranger thing between his legs came home from the hospital. Both of them have managed to poke and pull it during one diaper change or another. Now, instead of trying to keep his sisters from doing it, I must keep him from doing it. Kids are such curious creatures!

If it wasn’t her baby brother’s wee wee she saw, who was it’s? I asked her. She informed me, very matter of fact like, that it was a little boy in her class. Hmmm. How is that? So, I asked her some more questions just to try and understand how it is that my three year old daughter was able to see the wee wee of a little boy while he went pee pee at school. I was very perplexed indeed.

I asked her, specifically, if the girls and boys went to the potty together at the same time. She said yes. I just couldn’t believe it. She turned a little red, blushing, while giggling behind her hand as she said it again. “I saw his wee wee.” I turned a little red with anger that I was not aware of this before now.

Oh, geez. Great! Just great. Exactly the conversation I wanted to have with my three year old. NOT! I thought I had at least two more years before I started filling her in about the birds and bees. Somehow, seeing a little boy’s wee wee other than her brother’s was more delicate and mature. I couldn’t just tell her it is a wee wee because he is a boy. She was giggling and blushing. It was more. It was the birds and the bees. It was serious. I had to explain the whole boys have a penis and girls have a vagina to my three year old. I was not happy. With Angel Girl I took it slow and told her what was appropriate to her age when she asked me. So, I had to tell a giggling, blushing Sweet Bear at least the very basics.

I always answered Angel Girl honestly in a way she would understand without giving her the complete details. At least I had some experience in this matter from dealing with Angel Girl. Actually, this past summer I got lots of experience when she asked me one question after another every single day about her blossoming body. Even at Christmas, during her two weeks here in France, there where days I felt like it was Sexual Education class and I was the teacher. I guess that is what it was and it is better that I am teaching her about the birds and bees rather than a teacher or worse other kids.

Sweet Bear and I had a conversation about the fact that little boys have wee wee’s like Boy Blue and we call them a penis. I gave her the correct names for the parts and that is good, for now. Whew! For some reason, the fact that there are more of these strange people, besides her brother, with strange things between their legs never occured to her. She must of thought Boy Blue was just a freak of nature or something.

She continued to giggle blushing behind her hand telling me again and again that she saw a wee wee like Boy Blue’s. “Mama, he has a wee wee like Boy Blue. It is funny.” Yes, don’t you see me laughing? It is hilarious. Now, where is your French father so he can explain all this to me, the uptight puritan, as he likes to call, us….Americans.

It turns out he doesn’t remember how it went at his maternel. Well, that is a relief. If he doesn’t remember then maybe it isn’t a big deal. Sweet Bear won’t either.

I am not happy that Sweet Bear is going to the restroom with boys. However, she is French and we live in France. It is her culture. French are not more sex crazed than any other country of people. So, I am sure she will be fine. It is me, the American, that must adjust, not her.


Since moving and living in France the past two years, I am much more laid back in regard to these matters. I can remember bathing with my brother and boy cousins up until I was four or five. So, how is this any different?

I did ask her teacher about the matter since my husband didn’t remember how it went in his maternel. I wanted to be certain I understood Sweet Bear correctly in this delicate matter. Her teacher told me that the boys and girls do use the restroom together and that there is a small divider between the two areas (one area for boys and one area for girls). However, some of the girls will peak around the divider out of curiousity.

Oh, great! It means my little Sweet Bear is a peeping bear. I told her to quit peeping. We, uptight puritan Americans, have our standards, after all.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • karina March 11, 2006, 11:48 pm

    i work in a maternelle teaching english and the toilets are outside in the courtyard with no doors on them. they are for the boys and girls with no difference made, completly co-ed.
    i have to say it surprised me but the kids have no qualms about it… big cultural difference!

  • kim March 12, 2006, 12:38 am

    Oh pumpkin pie, you crack me up..My first reaction would be also to freak! As I have most certainly been raised with a fear for these types of things.

    But the discussions with my frenchie have changed my stand on these types of issues. We as americans make it such a tabboo subject, when it does not need to be, it only makes it an issue, when we make it something that is serious and bad.

    The thing I say more often now is its not these things that will hurt our children, its the guns and violence.
    I love your last paragraph, will her new name be peeping bear?:o)

  • Thomas March 12, 2006, 12:54 am

    Ok this is Kim’s frenchie here… I remember that we were going to the bathroom with little girls. I remember it being funny that girls had no weewee, and my parents told me that boys had weewees and girls no weewees… and I was totally satisfied with this answer (no bee explanation for me). My brother and my cousin used to take bath together and she was pulling on his weewee, and right now they don’t act all shocked about it (that’s how kids are discovering the world).

    Plus think about it..nudity isnt a taboo in France and yet we have sex in average later than americans. There is no sexual connotation in nudity UNLESS you put it there by making it a taboo.

  • Julie March 12, 2006, 10:18 am

    My three year old little sister had to go with me babysitting one time. I was changing a stinky diaper when she looked over and said, “What’s wrong with him? What is that!” She laughed hysterically.

    It took me awhile to figure out what it was about. I didn’t know how to handle it. My first impulse was to laugh. Immature, I know. Thinking up an explanation quickly, I said, “He’s a boy. Turn around.”

    This didn’t satisfy her. She kept looking and pointing and laughing. The oldest kid kept asking me what was wrong with Maria and why she was laughing. “Oh great”, I thought. This will go straight to their parents who are very religious. Not that they won’t understand that Maria’s three.

    The truth is we’re all girls at my house, except for one brother. And they are all boys at their house, except for the oldest.

    But next time, if it happens again, I think explaining the way you did would be best!

  • Pumpkin March 12, 2006, 10:57 am

    I agree with you to an extent. I think that privacy is important too. If the kids are old enough to go to school and not wear diapers…I feel that they shouldn’t mix. But, I am American and the French have another culture that I am adapting to. This is my daughters culture as well because she is French and we are living in France. If we were living in American she would do as the Americans. It is fair.
    I do think that Americans make too much out of it…but, sometimes the French are too loose on the commercials. I have had to change the channel because the commercials were getting a little too sexual. I don’t see the need for that either. I think a happy medium would be best. Besides plastering boobies all over the streets of France is not exactly correct either. The woman in the ads have perfect bodies. And, these ads are everywhere in France…women with no tops on. That is not for the women believe me. Again, a happy medium is best.
    I explained it to her at her level. I explained the three year old birds and bees version. That she is a girl and they are boys. Some day she will get married and have a baby…etc. Plus, I feel at this point she needed to know the real names for private parts so I told her. I think it is important to educate your children and not brush it off with a simple explanation in these matters. Angel Girls teacher always told me how Angel Girl seemed to understand a lot about many different subjects and how she asked great questions about things she was learning about in class. I think it is because I always talked with her as I would an adult but at her level. I didn’t give her the simple answers. I gave her complete and thoughtful answers that she understood and we talked about it. I think a blushing giggling Sweet Bear deserved the same. Kids are smarter than we think and deserve to be treated as such. Simple answers are ok for the most part but sometimes kids need more and I felt like Sweet Bear needed more than that boys have wee wee’s and you don’t because you are a girl. But, I understand where you are coming from.

  • Pumpkin March 12, 2006, 11:12 am

    I think it is best to be honest with children because then they understand and they are not left wondering or even worse with a feeling that sex or private parts are bad. It is natural for her to be curious and you will know what to tell her by her questions and her response…I just make sure to keep my explanations simple and light at this age. I don’t talk about sex but the fact that men and women get married (I don’t care what others say for me it is important) and that they make babies. She was happy with this. She has been carrying around a little doll for about two weeks now calling it her baby and mothering it. So, this is another reason I felt she needed to know more than boys have weewee’s and girls don’t. However, I would leave this to the parents! But, with your own children you will feel what is right for you and them.

  • Pumpkin Pie March 12, 2006, 2:24 pm

    While in Bretagne with my husband on vacation, I had to make him stand at the door of a co-ed restroom at a train station. The restroom had no doors where the toillets are…so, anyone could see you doing your bus. Whether it be man or woman, I wanted none of that. My husband had strick orders not to let anyone in no matter what. I really had to go and had no choice but to use this restroom.
    I think privacy is important exspecially if you are a girl. Clearly, men designed these restrooms. A woman, who must squat to pee (I never sit on a toillet seat-YUCK), would never, ever design restrooms like that.

    In France, I have had the pleasure of co-ed restrooms more than once. The first time was when Angel Girl and I were at a restaurant just outside Paris and we had just finished and were washing our hands when in strolls this man and walks through salon type doors to a urinal. We can see his legs and top but just not in between. It was funny and embarrasing at the same time. Angel Girl, then three, looked up at me like what the heck! Oh, boy. Yes, she and I laugh about that one even today. I think Americans are to far on one side and the French can be too far on the other.

  • cj March 12, 2006, 7:37 pm

    Yay to you for talking about sex with your kids. I am absolutely amazed with how many people give their kids crap, bogus or totally blow them off in regards to information about sex. YAY Pumpkin Pie!!

  • Pumpkin Pie March 13, 2006, 9:14 am

    I totally agree with you, CJ. Kids deserve more from grownups.

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