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Life is relentless

Advice for mothers

I don't have a lot of parenting gems to offer. After nearly sixteen years, I am still flying by the seat of my pants, which, now that I think about it, doesn't make any sense at all. Flying. By the seat of my pants. Huh.

Anyhow, what I mean is that I am still making this up as I go along, and most of my ideas are sort of boneheaded. I am making some progress, though, because today in Target I stopped myself from buying Raphael a workbook on the American presidents for an upcoming road trip, recognizing in time that he would not, in fact, appreciate it very much. See? Growth.

I have also stumbled upon one parenting technique that is rock-solid genius. Just the one, but I'm telling you, it's good.

Sometimes the boys taunt each other (I know, I'm as shocked as you are) by suggesting that the tauntee is,in fact, a girl. You know, like, "Hey, nice throw. FOR A GIRL." Or "I can't wear that color! That's for GIRLS. Give it to [insert brother name]."

And then they laugh and laugh, unless they are the one being accused of an X chromosome, in which case they glower, stomp, or bellow in rage. So that's nice.

This makes me insane because, as I have told them ONE MILLION TIMES, A) "girl" is not a pejorative. Some very wonderful people are girls, myself included. And B) I have changed all their diapers once upon a time. I happen to know what parts they came pre-assembled with. Any changes to the factory settings would be dramatic and difficult and not caused by standing too close to something pink without being upset about it. Seriously.

But all my sincere lectures about why I found the cries of "GIRL!" so offensive didn't seem to do much to stem the tide. After all, they were JUST KIDDING, which renders all right to take offense null and void. Yeah, commence lecture #2. But clearly I needed to step up my response.

So one day when someone was being accused of female-ness, I turned to them with a deeply sorrowful expression.

"OH, dear. Here I thought I'd explained these facts well enough for it to be clear to you all, and yet here you are, still confused. Let me go over it again: you are all boys. You each have a PENIS. If any of you were a girl, you would have a VAGINA."

All frivolity dropped to the floor like a stone, where it shattered into a thousand awkward twitches.

"I have a book in my room that explains the differences more fully, and I would be happy to sit down with any child who is still confused, so we can look at the pictures  together and really have a good TALK about it all. So if you're not sure, go right ahead and call your brother a girl. But if you're NOT confused, and you DON'T need it all explained - with pictures - then I suggest you knock that right off."

Let me tell you , dear friends, that since that day I have not had to remind them once. I have delivered the lecture twice, once in the first week to Raphael who never met a boundary he automatically believed in, and the other just this evening, to Tre who really thinks he's funny, often at the expense of reason and wisdom.

And that's it, my one bit of parenting wisdom. If you have the same problem in your home, I invite you to use my technique. I guarantee there is not a boy on the face of the planet who will volunteer more than once to sit across from his mother and look at line drawings of naked people while she says such horrifying things as "vulva." So if you need this approach, feel free.

I'll even loan you my book.


Joshilyn Jackson




Oh, lord. Laughed so hard I cried. I bow to your superior mothering, my friend.




I'm laughing so hard I'm crying and I am definitely going to use this with my two boys!

Mrs. Who

Genius. Pure genius.

joshilyn jackson

I had to tweet this....still dying. Read it aloud to scott.



HA!! HAHA!! That is pure and unadulterated genius!


This is absolutely HILARIOUS! Kira, you always have such great perspective and parenting! :) Do you teach classes?!?


Love it! That works also if they discover online porn (past all the walls and security we think we have set). Mine did, as I looked at the history one evening, I pulled up the site and sat there until he came in the room. He was mortified! It was priceless. It didn't land in the history (or stealth finder) again. Thank you for the wonderful laugh this morning, still love it!


You are a GENIUS!


I bow to your superior mothering of boys


You are an absolute genius, Kira! I'll have to email this to my friends who have boys.

Lailani, that is hilarious! I read the post and your comment to my husband. I asked what he would have done if his mother had said, "Now, this is sex, as I've noticed you've discovered. This is the vulva, and this is the penis. The mechanics of sex can be quite tricky at times..." and so on. ;) He looked quite mortified at the thought of your comment.

ramblin red

bahahah....Sticking this one in my repertoire as my youngest boy is not yet old enough to engage in these insults with his brother. soon though ;{


Came to your blog via Mir.
That is the BEST advice EVER.
Except that occasionally my husband uses that turn of phrase. But I am SO using it on my 16 and 13 year old.
They will just crawl under a rock, I know it, but at least they'll hush up.


Oh, I am IN on this. I am adding it to my mental repertoire so I have it ready when needed.

Jill W.



Parenting perfection! I am constantly fighting the "you're such a girl" insult around here, too. Almost looking forward to my boys using it again. hahahahahaha


You are wickedly evil! I love it!


Perfect! Do you think this would work with my co-workers too? Hmmm...


You will definitely be getting extra search engine hits, I think...


HA! I love it! It reminds me of the day I was substitute teaching Grade 8 Science, teaching a unit on pneumatics when unbeknownst to me, they had just had their first sex ed class of the year. As I demonstrated how the plunger of the hypodermic needle slowly rose in reponse to water pressure, you can imagine the sniggers from the class. Finally one boy was brave enough to mutter, "Is that how, you know, it happens?" and I clued in.

I answered loudly and clearly, "YES, Faisal. This is EXACTLY how it happens with your PENIS. Blood rushes to the area and it rises in response to the pneumatic pressure. ANY QUESTIONS?" The class was remarkably well-behaved for the rest of the period.


So after reading this post to Wayne, your dear cousin proceeded to educate me on "flying by the seat of your pants", which is, in fact, an avionic term having to do with slippage, level, yada yada yada [insert pilot jibberish]. And you know - he IS the expert because he owns that plane. The one that doesn't fly.


awesome. i almost wish i had boys to try it on.

Sassy Apple

I don't have children of my own, but I do have @ 60 middle school students. You are my hero.

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