tales from the surviving straight spouse

Cherry Picking 101

Five years old.

It is weird to look back at being a small girl.  I can’t remember too many details.  Things pop out here and there about me, my body and attitudes about my body and being a girl.

Many moms, dads and siblings make up words for genitalia.  It makes me crazy.  One of the worst things we can do to our children is to apply shame, discomfort to a body part.  My hackles are rising as I think of all the phrases I’ve heard.  “PeeShee” and “Peachy” and prize for most damaging: “Junk”

I had a “wee wee”  I don’t any more.


If you just squirmed a bit, you can thank the media, the adults and peers of your early years.  Or curse them.  As an adult, sure it is fine in the right moments to have a little fun…but for a child…viewing their bodies seriously and proudly is vital.

Babies naturally begin exploring their bodies when they become physical able.  Imagine the wonder and joy when a baby begins to find places that give them comfort.  My 2nd son still twirls the same spot on his head he began rubbing as an infant.  I bet he started in the womb.

I don’t know when I started to explore my genitals.  I do know when I stopped.  My parents and a brother were in the study (apparently with the pistol…) watching television.  When I came into the room my brother said, “Someone’s been cherry picking.”  My father laughed.  My mother gave me a look that shriveled my insides and told me not to touch my wee-wee.  I must have been really at it – because everyone knew when I came the room.

There it was…I had done something wrong, bad, unacceptable.  I didn’t even know the effect that moment had on me until much later.  It took me 37 years to get COMPLETELY past that.  That fun filled story will be told in a week or so.

A bit later I learned that boys and girls had different “privileges”.  One particularly hot day I walked out into our back yard without a shirt on.  I was 7.  I never saw my mom walk around with out a shirt, but as far as I could tell, I looked just like my brother from the waist up (never dreamed that the waist down was different – hah! How do you spell naive?)  I look bewildered at my brother who was angry and shouting at me to get back inside and get a shirt on.  The question that soon became repeated over an over again until it echoed inside was “What were you thinking?”

I was thinking as a human being who is biologically formed, yet molded by the conscious of others who ignore developmental biology.

Sometimes I stand in front of the mirror naked and say “Hello there, I’m thinking that this is beautiful and naked it just fucking fine.”

It is easy to look at the past through adult eyes and dismiss these “minor events”.   For a five year old it is not minor and realizing that it happened to a brain not yet developed is key to releasing the damage.

Want to share your learned, early-years words for


because I’d be interested to know…

Comments on: "Cherry Picking 101" (1)

  1. Interestingly, I don’t remember my family’s word for “vagina,” but I do recall our word for “penis.” It was “toronga” which is similar to “toronja” — spanish for grapefruit. Go figure.

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