so what’s politer?

Last night, 6-year-old Cooper was complaining about having to take a bath, as usual.

COOPER: Can it be a short bath Mom?
MOMMY: Yes, Cooper. Just wash face, hands, feet, and (here I indicated, by pointing, what Monty Python used to call “naughty bits.”)

I then walked down the hall to pull out pajamas for him and his brother. After a minute:

COOPER: Mom! I’m done!
MOMMY: OK, honey!

As I walk back down the hall to the bathroom:

COOPER: I washed my weiner hole!

This was one of those moments when you are just so so sorry to be the only adult around. I pop my head in the bathroom.

MOMMY: Your what?

COOPER: I washed my weiner, and my weiner hole.

I bit the inside of my cheek, hard. This was a moment for some Mommy Mock Horror, a move perfected by my own mother.

MOMMY: Cooper! Where did you hear words like that?

COOPER: At school.

MOMMY: Those are not words we use in this house.

COOPER: (confused) But Mommy. It’s politer to say “weiner” than “penis.”

MOMMY: What? No it’s not.

COOPER: (quite sure) Yes, it is.

This gave me pause. Is it politer to say weiner than penis? I proceeded carefully.

MOMMY: Well. If you’re going to be really polite, it’s better not to say either one. But if you’re in science class, and you’re talking about your body, it’s OK to say “penis.” And if you’re having hot dogs for lunch, it’s OK to say “weiner.”


MOMMY: Well- because- a hot dog is a weiner. That’s what a weiner is.

Cooper’s eyes grow huge.


And then he laughed for the next fifteen minutes. Eventually I had to just leave, while he called from the bathroom, saying, “Mommy! I washed my hot dog!” and other such 6-year-old witty repartee.

I had to open my big mouth.

What do you all think? Would you rather your kids say “weiner,” or “wee wee,” than “penis?” Is “wee wee” more polite than “weiner”? I suppose it is.

As far as names for girl naughty bits in our house, bathtime conversations usually go like this:

COOPER: Maddie has a china.

FERGUS: No, Cooper. It’s a PUH-chima.