I take responsibility for my bilingual daughter's English, even when it comes to the word "vagina."
Is there a kid word for "vagina"?
I once searched on Google for almost an hour on that one (and the conclusion I came to, by the way, is no, not one I wanted to go with, at least).
As an expat dad, you find yourself thrown into parenting situations you really didn't see coming. When your daughter is born, and her mother is Swedish, you know that you will be responsible for the English-language development, but you don't quite realize how absolute this is. This is especially true when you live in Sweden and take a lot of paternity leave, because then you are not at work all day—you are home, the main driver of potty training, and talking about vaginas.
That Swedish stereotype is true—most people here seem to have little problem with sex education. There are books with naked people next to ABC books in the library. We just watched a 25-minute show on the local children's TV channel that was all about a sperm's thrilling race to the egg. Really. Watch it here (at least until November 24, when it goes offline).
My point is this—my wife would never let me get away with ignoring my daughter's anatomy, or with talking around it. And I wouldn't want to either, of course. Who wants to raise a repressed kid? Why Kids Should Know Their Parents Have Good Sex
Anyway, this side effect of our move to Sweden might be a good one for the long term, at least according to Time magazine. It turns out that girls who can talk openly with their fathers about sex tend to start having sex later, and have fewer partners, which is apparently good for their mental health:
And, surprisingly, a lot of the women, most of whom were sexually active, wished their fathers had told them more. Specifically, they wanted to hear stuff only guys would know, about how to communicate with men and what the carnal landscape looked like from a male's vantage point. 'They felt that if they could have been more comfortable talking with their fathers about issues around sex, they might have been more comfortable talking to boyfriends or potential sexual partners about them,' says Hutchinson, whose study was published in the Journal of Family Issues."
Now my daughter is only 4. We are a long way from all of this... from The Talk... if we even have The Talk, which the expert above says to avoid. But either way, I think we're on the right track, thanks to my Swedish wife, Swedish state television and that lack of a funny English word for vagina.