#1 The Tickly Place
(I realize these are dialogues more than monologues. Poetic license is a thing and I’m taking it.)
Interior. The Benjamin Moore Dove Grey painted gender neutral bedroom of a 3.5 year old girl who hates dresses and loves cars. Tacky cars. Monster trucks and Mater and Lightning McQueen cars that I hide behind organically harvested wood toys made by lesbian woodworkers in Vermont- but Grace always finds her Lightning.
I’m reading I Stink (no pun intended) to her in bed. She’s quite naked as it is drought summer 2015 in LA. She stares at the ceiling, exploring her vagina while I obliviously impersonate a garbage truck.
GRACE: What is this so tickly place?
I finally notice she’s discovering her secret garden. Beat. Teachable Moment alert goes off in my head. Mouth and mind go dry. I flap around for a single rule. ‘Don’t lie’ is the best I can come up with.
ME: That’s your vagina.
GRACE: What’s it tickly for?
ME: Well, it’s tickly because it has a lot of feelings, like your lips and fingers and toes but your vagina has a BIG job. It’s where you pee from and it’s where babies come from. Unless the mom is pressured to get a C section which–
GRACE: Baby Mateo came out of MY budgina? That’s super cool! How did he did that?
ME: No. He came out of his momma’s vagina.
GRACE: Do puppies comes out of my budgina?
ME: No. Nothing else comes out but pee and babies. Well…. If you are sick, white stinky stuff does that will ruin cottage cheese for you. And then on, way later on, blood.
GRACE: BLOOD? Like a boo-boo?
ME: Well, it won’t happen for a long time, but yeah. And it doesn’t hurt… well that’s a lie. But it hurts different than a boo-boo. Like in your soul. But for now, nothing comes out of there but pee. We can cover what will be trying to get up your vagina another time. But it’s your vagina. No one else’s but yours.
GRACE (Ecstatic) ALL MINE? FOR ME? TO PLAY WITH? MY BUDGINA?
Pausing, mulling how to answer while watching her discover her own personal lightning.
ME: Yes, it is a pleasure place. But promise me you won’t EVER put anything up there.
GRACE: Dadda doesn’t have budgina. He has peanuts that flop like a elephant with no water in his nose. Why won’t he won’t let me touch it?
ME: Because it’s private. It’s totally fine for you to touch YOURS… in your room, in private.
GRACE: Do you touch it? Your budgina? Under all that fur?
ME: Oh! All the time, and it’s totally super cool. In private. So, to review, you and I are the only people who can touch yours. Oh, Dada can touch it, if he has to, and Dr. Shaheedy can touch it. OK. So, It’s your super cool tickly privacy place. No one else’s but yours, OK?
GRACE: Touch it. Touch it momma.
ME: Is there something there… Like an itch or a bump?
GRACE: Yeah. Touch it right there. No there. Feel that?
I study her labia for signs of irritation, my heart held in fear that someone has already crossed her boundaries, since she is as uninhibited as a 4 year old Miley Cyrus. I look for a rash or a bump. Knowing she’s not biologically mine makes me more cautious, but I don’t want her to feel like I’m not her complete and utter mother, so I fumble for the boundary between birth and adoption while wanting to banish that line forever.
GRACE: Touch it. Yes. There. Isn’t that super great, Mama?
She’s so happy. It’s simultaneously sweet and disturbing, like I already know what her O face is going to be.
Her dad comes in to say good night. She jams her finger right from her crotch and into his nose before he’s even aware of the violation.
GRACE: Smell it.
DAD: OK… what am I smelling?
GRACE: My budgina. Only I get to tickle it all I want. Not you. Me and Mom. Only.
Dad seems eager to place a great deal of medical formality between himself and all future interactions with his daughter’s vagina, aka, her new best friend.
Budgina Monologue #2 Burning Budginas
Grace and Andrew are in Walgreen’s, standing on a long, not very private line of people waiting for medication pick up.
She is having a blast running away from Andrew down long, long aisles, hollering, “Come and find me!” Andrew doesn’t want to lose his place in line, yet really doesn’t want her to get kidnapped or lead to his arrest by neglect. So, he keeps running after her, consistently losing his place on line.
He grabs her, and is holds her in his arms, while standing in line. The other people on line are black, Hispanic, Asian, Hipster. He’s the only lily-white man holding a squirming, black 3.5 year old. She pushes out of his arms, hollering.
GRACE: Stop breathing on me! Your breath STINKS.
This garners Andrew a few side-eyes from the miserable, sick people on line. He lifts her onto his shoulders, calmly encouraging her to lower her voice in the process. She squirms almost immediately.
GRACE: I’m uncomfortable.
ANDREW: Just sit still.
GRACE: Your big HOT head is squishing my BUDGINA!
Andrew pauses, wondering if people understand what she’s saying.
GRACE: You’re hurting my BUDGINA, Dada!! It’s burning!!!
That’s clear enough. Now Andrew has everyone’s attention (95% extremely amused) fixed squarely on him. Andrew is a sweet and shy WASP, so being accused of budgina squishing on a pharmacy line sets off a panic attack for the medication (for panic attacks) he’s waiting to receive. He knows if he runs off with a kid screaming about a hurting vagina, he might set off suspicion on top of not getting his meds.
So he puts her down and she runs away, laughing with glee while the other people on line eye him, curious about his next move. He waits 20 seconds, then, beet red, while Grace hollers-
GRACE: You can’t find me, DADA.
He runs out while people chuckle, shaking their heads.
Fact is, her budgina was burning and pink. Her doctor recommended I put Aquaphor on it. Grace watched me carefully apply Aquaphor on her pink and irritated lower lips, and when I was done, she smiled.
GRACE: Do that again.
ME: That was enough.
GRACE: But. I like it.
ME: I understand. And I’m soooo glad you like your vagina. But this is medicine and we… can’t just keep using medicine because it makes us feel better. Of course medicine is supposed to make us feel better, but we can’t abuse it in order to just feel… more better. Medicine doesn’t work that way.
GRACE: I want more.
ME: You know, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation if you would just WIPE when you pee and poo! So, start doing that. OK? If you don’t wipe your budgina it gets SICK, okay?
GRACE: Touch it.
I trail off, realizing I’m babbling logically if unintelligibly to a toddler who just wants to play with her budgina.
BUDGINA MONOLOGUE #3 Friends With Budginas
Grace has best friends that are twins. Hopper’s a girl and Marty’s a boy.
When I pick up Grace from school, I try to play the ‘rose, bud thorn’ game. What was the ‘rose’ (best thing that happened) of your day? What was the thorn (worst thing that happened) and what was the bud (something with promise)?
ME: What was the most fun thing that happened today?
GRACE: Hopper touched my budgina.
My driving suddenly gets swervy.
ME: That sounds… rosy. Tell me about that.
GRACE: Hopper touched it.
ME: What did that look like?
Grace stares at me like I’m dumb and grabs her budgina over her pants and her car sear buckle.
GRACE: Like this. But Hopper’s hand was in my pants.
I wasn’t worried. They have known each other since they were 10 months old. They had their diapers changed together at day care. And based on my own history of being a curious and gross kid I know how innocent (if a tad germ-infested) budgina checking out can be… but I was just concerned about the details… group setting, bathroom, selfies, was lunch or dirt or pebbles or boys involved, etc.
GRACE: We were on line. She stuck her hand down my pants. I said. That’s my budgina.
ME: What did Hopper say?
GRACE: She say I have a budgina too!
Since Grace can be quite the yarn spinner, I take into account that she might just be lying her face off. But she keeps talking about it– either because I barely reacted OR she was antagonizing me because I totally over-reacted and just pretended I was super chill.
I text Hopper’s mom later that night.
ME: Hey. No big deal but Grace says Hopper touched her vajohnson. True or False?
Texts FLY back and forth.
Annie: Wha—-??? OMG. What the… oh lord. I thought it was bad when Marty pulled the fire alarm at Logan Airport but this is… let me find out.
Her parents ask her if she touched Grace’s vajohnson. At first Hopper denies it like a double-crossing dame in hot water, all eye-evading, and playing innocent, but once they told her she wasn’t in trouble, she crumpled, confessing in a sweaty, sorry rush. We parents text back and forth, more for entertainment than anything else.
We alll strive to find the balance between letting our kids know it’s AWESOME to be curious, AMAZING to love your body (but just not too much, especially in public) or to share that love with others too freely. I’m just impressed at the speed the budginas are getting discovered. And enjoyed.
I think I realized I had a vagina at 14, when it started bleeding and sprouting hair, which almost revolted me into becoming a nun. I was in deep Catholic School Girl denial. I just pretended it wasn’t happening. Even with three daughters, my mother caught on and after six months, finally asked me if I was menstruating, probably while driving the car, as to avoid all eye contact. I lied and said no, that my older sister must be having more periods than ususal.
Budgina Monologue #4
With my bedroom door closed, I am naked and blessedly alone. Grace bounds in, as she knows when the door is closed I’m doing one of her favorite things ever- I’m pooping or naked. Grace acts like it’s her civic duty to interview me on whether it’s a hard poop, if I can smell it, because she can, or to demonstrate for me my poo face, or to laugh at my boobs.
GRACE: They so bouncy and loose. What’s in there? Pudding?
Since I hate waxing and don’t make time for grooming, my budgina is very 1970s. I have to pee. Grace follows and hands me toilet paper, watching me pee.
GRACE: Your budgina has FUR on it. Does the fur hurt? Why don’t I get budgina fur? Does your fur tickle your budgina? Can I touch it? Can I see your pee come out of the fur? Show me more. Lean back. Can I wipe you?
Feeling like a caffeinated ferret is loose in my nethers, I gently shoo her away.
While I attest the hardest part of parenting is witnesses, I should have clarified- the most persistent witness is Grace. She is up in my corn flakes 24/7. Privacy settings on FB or other sites make me wish Mark Zuckerburg could invent privacy settings for my child. Maybe now that Mark Zuckerburg has a kid he will invent them.
For those of us who have had their vaginal self esteem and personal boundaries ripped away by having children, here are the Coolest Vaginas of 2015. It’s an actual thing. Actual.