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July 11, 2008

The thing about boys who call their thingies by the clinical name is that it's creepy. This is why my sons call it a wiener, to Wife's utter mortification. She defers to me nonetheless, as the resident expert on all things wiener-related. The problem is that, as some of you may know, there is more to the toolkit, if you will. And said equipment needs a name, because one Mr. William Isaac can't be troubled to get all of his junk out when he pees. Instead he lets his waistband rest just below the, um, point of exit.

He doesn't seem to have a problem with this. But it's giving me the willies. Lately I've just pointed in horror when I catch him doing it and urged him to pull his pants all the way down. Sometimes he tries to comply in mid-pee, and that's just not a good idea. So I need a word to refer to what it is that I want him to liberate from his waistband.

I understand if nearly every woman who would ordinarily read the entire post is now exiting. I understand that I am being irrational. I merely submit that whereas we guys don't tend to get all emotional about Julia Roberts movies, or sappy Internet stories about handicapped puppies and the Life Lessons they hold for us, or about the tone of someone's voice in a conversation, or the ten billion other things that some women, sometimes, on rare occasions, get emotional about, we do bend in the direction of sentimentality where the wiener is concerned.

So I need to have a discussion with Isaac, but I'm finding myself at a loss as to what to call his . . . other parts.

Jellybeans? That might ruin a perfectly good candy.

Marbles? Little boys play with them enough without giving them a toy's name.

Peanuts? That's bad on about ten different levels.

It's a real conundrum. I'd ask you your opinion, but apparently Movable Type hates me, and has decided to shut everyone but professional spam dispensers out of my comments section, including me.

Recently I found myself in a distant city, on a subway, and there was a guy next to me reading a handbook for first-time fathers. I wanted to ask him if there's a section on this problem, but I didn't want to scare him. Somebody ought to write the real father's handbook, though. It would cover stuff like what to call the wiener, how to deal with foot odor, and where to hide your bubblegum so your three year-old can't find it.

I'm just saying.

Posted by Woodlief on July 11, 2008 at 12:09 AM


"Nuts" in our house; be they mine, the boys', the dog, or on bulls. My wife was also a little shocked by this, but thats what I grew up calling them on the farm. Seems fairly innocuous, although we encourage them to not discuss their nuts with just anyone.

Posted by: Dan at July 11, 2008 5:10 AM

While we actually call boy parts and girl parts by their more clinical names that particular boy part hasn't come up in conversation. So I guess I'm no help.

Posted by: Scott at July 11, 2008 7:27 AM

Perhaps you could consult the Right Rev. Jackson.

Posted by: Gray at July 11, 2008 10:48 AM

Sounds like a good idea for a best selling book. I'd have some good contributions.

Posted by: Cordeiro at July 11, 2008 4:49 PM

That post made me laugh out loud. I read it to my wife, and she just shook her head. You see, I too loathe calling it by its clinical name, and thus use all kinds of descriptive terms, which my twin boys (and their older sister) have picked up. My wife is also utterly mortified.

Might I suggest "twig and berries" or "frank and beans" for use with young Issac?

One of our boys once had to go to the doctor, around the age of 2, to have some work done on his parts. Let's just say that things had healed back together which shouldn't have. He returned home saying "Mommy... twiggy owwww!" His mother was thoroughly unimpressed with his newly expanded vocabulary. I was grinning from ear to ear.

Good luck with your search for a suitable descriptive term.

Posted by: Jason at July 12, 2008 5:14 PM

Yes, but how's his aim?

Posted by: Jared at July 15, 2008 12:16 PM

Austin Powers could really help out here. I already see "twig and berries" mentioned, but I'm sure there were more in the first Austin Powers movie....wedding tackle is one that comes to mind, but I'm not sure a little boy would find that very useful!

Posted by: anniebird at July 15, 2008 8:43 PM


Our parts, 'round these parts, are our "stuff."

So far... my children have yet to confuse "Go pick up your stuff," with "Let go of your stuff."

A couple of years ago, my (then) 4 year old asked for the clinical terms, I told him. He pretty much repeated them for confirmation, shrugged, and still calls it his stuff.

We're good.

Posted by: Greta at July 16, 2008 11:36 AM

Johnson and Masters?

Just a thought.

Posted by: Jubilate.Latte at July 16, 2008 11:42 AM

My 8 year old tried to say privates when he was younger and it came out PIRATES, so we use that quite often. We also use the term NUTHERS...not sure how we came up with that other than it's short for other regions (of the body)

Posted by: oconnell at July 16, 2008 3:46 PM

We call them private parts. I can't do the clinical terms either.

My eldest, when he was almost three, asked, "Mom, what it's name?" (he was putting underwear on and it was on his mind, I guess.)

I told him he didn't get to name it until he went to college.

Posted by: MrsBurns at July 16, 2008 4:30 PM

We call it "parts" but don't have specific terms for the different parts. Then again, my son is only 9 months old, so we don't have to worry about it quite yet!

Posted by: TinaY at July 16, 2008 8:22 PM

When my grandson was about 3 y.o. he slipped getting out of the bathtub and landed with the edge in his crotch. As I held him on my lap, he was rocking back and forth holding himself. Suddenly he stopped, looked up at me like the light had just dauwned and said, "Oh! Balls!"

Posted by: Terentia at July 16, 2008 11:02 PM

I thought everyone knew that they were called "the family jewels"?

Posted by: Ronald Van Wegen at July 17, 2008 6:07 AM

I've found the term "boys" to be useful. For example, "leave your boys alone". I picked it up from an old Seinfeld episode.

Posted by: starr at July 17, 2008 9:15 AM

The parts that come in duplicate I usually call, "my grandchildren".. especially when danger is lurking close.. As in, "Hey, be careful with my grandchildren!" I suppose this technically refers to the contents and potentiality therein rather than the parts themselves in the gestalt, though!

Posted by: Lenore at July 17, 2008 8:47 PM

Everything in me cannot believe I am responding to this...but as the mother of 3 boys I feel compelled

We call them "Chones." Because, I must clarify, we live on a farm, that is what we call them on the bulls.

Oh the wealth of wisdom I have!

Posted by: Kathy at July 18, 2008 10:52 PM

This is my first time to your blog and you have me laughing out loud. We have 2 girls and just had our first boy 2 weeks ago... and I too am at a loss for names for his "outdoor" plumbing... but it won't be the clinical names... I can assure you that. Call me a weenie but those names give me the heebie-geebies.

Posted by: Darby at July 19, 2008 8:42 AM

We are the parents of boys...all boys. This topic came up over the weekend during a wrestling session, & I realized our term for the body part is: Tenders. As in when your brother's knee is in the wrong place & you cry "watch my tenders!" he knows exactly what you mean.

Posted by: Ronda at July 21, 2008 11:24 AM

The term "tenders" was used in the recent Kung Fu Panda movie, which may be where your boys got it (although I don't know where the movie got it from). It works.

We have four boys and five girls. The boys are not shy about asking about and sharing the names for various body parts with the rest of us.

At a yooung age we often have family terms for things. Then when they get older we eventually explain the official words for it, but still mostly use the family words anyway.

Posted by: broed at July 22, 2008 3:21 PM

Guys...come on. Why is everyone so afraid of the word? Say it with me: PENIS!


But of course that's only the one part. For the entire set, I'm simply using 'stuff' or, to later blend in with the crowd without being too awful crass, 'junk' is my preference.

Posted by: Lincoln S. at July 23, 2008 3:41 PM

I have a two year old son, and while this subject hasn't really been an issue yet, we refer to the entire area as his package, his penis as his tinkler (I have a feeling that as he gets bigger, someone - him or daddy - will object to this name), and since we pretty much refer to daddy's other privates as his "satchel", it will probably stick. I like "tenders" though, as per a previous poster.

Posted by: Rachel at July 25, 2008 9:27 PM

In my family, the names are constantly evolving. We used to call the parts nuts, balls, berries, stones, jewels...etc. It never really mattered, it always turned into a great opportunity for a Bevis and Butthead routine. (huh, huh, he said jewels). Just relax, go with the flow. NPI

Posted by: Juan Velarde at July 29, 2008 9:14 AM

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