This morning, my children were playing catch in the yard when my daughter asked me to join her on the girls’ team, “Team Taco.”
After I picked my jaw up off the ground, I asked what the boys’ team was called: “Team Burrito.” And I followed with questions about where they’d learned these team names and if they knew what the names referenced…they did.
It’s natural for our children to lead the way, for parents to be caught off guard by an innocent phrase or question (that may not really be so innocent), for us to feel occasional discomfort at the maturity of topics we’re forced to address. But when my young son confirmed that the team names referenced parts of our anatomy, I was a bit aghast that children so young should already be exposed to what I might consider, if not vulgar, then at least a type of humor more appropriate for an older audience.
Let me just say that I am among the most urban, liberal, laid-back mothers I know. Sure, a part of me thought what I’d just heard was funny. But I am a feminist, and I want my daughter to own her body with confidence, to grow up stronger than those girls I’ve read about in Jodi Picoult novels. And I want my son to view his maleness as much more than his “burrito,” as well. I’d hate for my children to think I condoned identifying with a group based on the singular identifying characteristic of genitalia. Sex / gender is so much more than that.
Thus, I was compelled to call a huddle for a little chat about age-appropriate humor and about our being so much more than our anatomy. My daughter buried her face in a book and my son giggled while I explained why we probably shouldn’t use these team names anymore.
When they’re older and understand irony, my daughter is welcome to rejoin “Team Taco” or “Team Vajayjay” if it suits her post-feminist humor. But I’d better not ever hear that sort of thing out of my son’s mouth!