Boy Cows Have Doodles...Girl Cows Do Not

You know those parenting magazines that you hate to read because they feel 'preachy'...and remind you that you are doing NOTHING right? Well, it turns out that you might want to take a look inside. And here's why...

I saw the kids standing by the fence with their grandma, happily watching the black cow that had come up close for a visit. I didn't think anything of it. But as soon as I packed them into the van and started home, my oldest (5 years) started talking a mile a minute. "Grandma said that cow was a boy cow. Did you know it was a boy cow, mommy?"


"Well, it was. How do you think grandma knew it was a boy cow?"

"She's smart," I answer.

"Do you know how to know if a cow is a boy cow, or if it's a girl cow?"


"Really?" She's challenging me now, brows raised with disbelief. "Then how do you tell?"

Without thinking, I answer, "Because boy cows have doodles and girl cows do not."

Now, my daughter knows that a 'doodle' is a 'boy part' because three and a half years ago, she was blessed (or cursed, in her mind) with her baby brother. But she is shocked to know that boy cows could have a doddle, too. "Really?!" she gasps. Suddenly, I realize that, until this moment, Lucy only believed that her baby brother was the only person to have a doodle.

"Lucy, boys have doodles...whether they're animals or people...and girls do not...whether they're animals or people." I am not happy about the direction this conversation is taking.

"Really?" She asks, curious. For a while, she says nothing. I'm hoping this means the awkward questions have faded. "But wait," she pipes up. "Daddy is a boy."

Oh no! I swallow. "Yeah...?"

"Does that mean...he has a doodle?"

Again, I swallow. What in the world is happening to me?! Why can't she be quiet?! "Lucy," I ask, cautiously. "Is daddy a boy?"


"Do boys have doodles?"


"Then there's your answer."


Sigh. That was close.

"But wait," she pipes up again. "Bubby is small...and daddy is big. Does that mean his doodle is Bubby's?"


"Lucy, listen to me. Bubby is small right now, but he is going to grow up big...and when he does, his whole body will grow with him."


I'm almost home by now. Thank the Lord.

"But wait."

Ugh. "What now?"

"If boys have doodles...what are my girl parts called?"

In my mind, I'm picturing that little girl in the Pre-K class I taught years and years ago. She knew the proper names for 'boy parts' and 'girl parts' and she seemed well-rounded and stable. So, I take a deep breath and quickly scream at the Lord for a tiny ounce of wisdom. "Okay...Lucy, here's the thing. It isn't polite to talk about private parts. Now, mommy will try to answer your questions, but you are NOT to speak about these things with your friends or at church."

"Why?" It's an honest question.

"Because it isn't polite. These aren't bad things, or bad words, but they are private matters that aren't polite to speak about."

"Okay," she says...waiting.

Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep breath. And then a long sigh. "Girl's private parts are called...a vagina."

Her eyes light up and she gasps, "Ooooooooooooooooh! That's a pretty name! Why didn't you name me that?"




"Lucy Danielle!" I can hardly form a logical sentence. "It's not a NAME of a person. It's a name of a body part!"

"Well, I like it. I think it's pretty."

I hear my son say the word 'vagina' under his breath. His mispronounces it. Lucy leans over and corrects him. "No, bubby. It's called a 'va-g-i-naaaaaaaaa'. Isn't that pretty?"


Oh for heaven's sake!

"But mommy!" Lucy's voice changes from elated to a bit frightened. "I'm small right now and will grow up one day. Does that mean that when my body grows big, my vagina will grow big too?"

"No!" How did I get to this point?! "It's not like your arms and legs."

Lucy's eyes are exploding from her head. "Doodles grow big like arms and legs?!?!?!?!"

"No!" I think I'm going to run the van off the road. I'm searching my brain, trying to explain that a vagina is...inside...but I'm wishing I could turn the van around and go slaughter the dumb cow with the doodle that started this whole thing!

When we pull into the drive, Lucy is asking me why her parts don't have a funny name like 'doodle'. I figure I might as well let her in on the fact that mommy and daddy are complete idiots and don't have a clue as to what we're doing. "Because it's not called a 'doodle', Lucy. It's called a 'penis'."

Her nose shrivels up. "Oh. I like 'doodle' better."

I park the van and turn around and look at her. How can something so small have me as perplexed and flustered as this little five year-old? She's looking back at me...all innocence. She knows now. She understands, once and for all, that bubby isn't the only boy with a doodle...and that her parts have a real name. She gets it. I think. I hope. I sigh. It's over now. "Lucy, remember...these things are private matters...and we don't talk about them with our friends. I don't want you bringing this up again. Do you understand me?"

"Yes, mommy."

So...if you're sitting in the doctor's office and have a wait ahead of you, please, do yourself a favor and crack open one of those parenting magazines. Maybe someone out there, like me, learned the hard way and decided there had to be an easier way to break the news about doodles and hoohas to their children. At least, for your sake, I hope they have. ;P



  1. This is so true to life. My little brother once asked mom, "What are those hand granades on that cow." Her response: "Go ask your father."

    Love your work, Gia.

  2. Thank you, Taren. It was most definitely the most stressful conversation I've had in a few weeks. :)